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Peer guidance – a practical tool for assimilating other people’s ideas

In theory, we all agree that two heads are better than one. Yet in practice, we sometimes struggle to take fully on board the suggestions made by others without becoming all defensive or saying that we’ve already tried out the idea.

Peer guidance is a powerful way of tapping into the knowledge bases of friends and colleagues without having to overcome the barriers that people naturally put up when told what to do.

More than simply a good idea, peer guidance is a practical tool that has already proven its worth in several lines of business.

I learned how to unlock the power of peer guidance thanks to Geneviève Gassmann. Here is her methodology:

Total duration per case: 30 mins.

Participants sit in a circle, around a table if they choose.

5 mins. – One person presents their[MiRi1] case, giving the facts and their impressions.

3 mins. – The others ask questions solely to understand what is going on.

2 mins. – The person presenting the case answers the questions and fills in the missing information.

This person then exits the circle, remaining close enough to hear the conversations and jot down notes but with their[MiRi2] back turned.

7 mins. – The other participants discuss and analyse the case, try to make connections and provide their overall take on it. Now is not yet the time for answers or solutions.

3 mins. – The person presenting their [MiRi3] case returns to the circle. They[MiRi4] can now add essential details or correct what was said if it strayed too far from reality.

The person again leaves the circle but stays within hearing distance.

7 mins. – The other participants discuss possible solutions and recommendations.

3 mins. – Having listened in, the person presenting their[MiRi5] case returns to the circle and shares with the others what ideas he or she will take away and use.


Geneviève and myself have used this method on several occasions, with the help of a group of women business leaders, whenever one of us wanted to seek endorsement for an idea or project.

Recently I used peer guidance to enable members of a management board to share their annual targets with their colleagues with aim of helping them unlock synergies and assisting each other.

The feedback was extremely positive. First of all, sharing the targets of each business unit (BU) was beneficial in itself. Because BU heads had to listen attentively while their colleagues discussed a person’s targets led to greater openness.

I can only encourage people to use this practical tool. Once you try it, I’m sure you’ll be hooked.

What about you ? Do you have similar or different experiences? Let me know, I'll be happy to discuss it with you!

Artwork : Mélanie Bénard Tremblay, 2019, © Marakoudja.


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