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Welcome to NCM's Up to Speed Blog

Imitation is the highest form of flattery for 20 Groups, too.

Kevin Cunningham
Written By: Kevin Cunningham
Posted on February 05, 2015

Peer collaboration can come in many forms; it can come from conferences, blogs such as this one, news publications, discussion boards, and social media platforms.  Those are all good ways to share ideas, but there comes a time when surface-level chat doesn’t cut it.  When it’s time to get serious about taking your business to the next level; when you know you need to step out of the day-to-day business in order to work on the business, there’s no better platform in our industry than a 20 Group. Granted, I’m biased, but if you’re in a 20 Group or have been in a 20 Group in the past, you know nothing compares to the idea sharing and consistent and ongoing operational improvement and accountability that comes with peer collaboration among similar sized, like-franchise dealer peers in a true 20 Group environment.

But what is it that makes a 20 Group unique and separates it from other ways of collaborating?

As the automotive industry pioneer in 20 Groups, we’ve found that in order for the members to get the most benefit from their 20 Group experience, the following must be present:

  1. Confidentiality
  2. Non-competing dealerships
  3. 20 or so members—that’s the peer collaboration sweet spot
  4. Detailed analytical tools to help you compare your operation to your peers and Benchmark-level performers
  5. Vigorous business discussions among all group members
  6. Members control agendas, meeting locations and who can join

That last point is an important distinction. We’ve found that when the members of the group have ownership over whether a dealer is or isn’t a market conflict, who to include in the group, where and when they meet, and what they discuss when they meet, the group will be more cohesive, stable and self-sustaining.  On a related note, your moderator should not arbitrarily bring in guest speakers, or dominate your meeting by consulting or selling; at least with NCM, we are going to let you control your meeting.

Those of us at NCM have thoroughly enjoyed watching our innovatively-simple idea blossom into what is an invaluable asset to many car dealers and dealership managers, and to business owner-operators in many other industries as well.  We also consider it flattering that so many have emulated our concept.

We have seen other organizations and individuals offer traditional 20 Groups over the years, but don’t be fooled—a discussion platform, a conference or a training seminar is not a 20 Group. These formats have a place in the conversation, but they will never match the power of face-to-face collaboration where many lifelong friendships and accountability partners are born and endure.

So, remember:

  1. If your competition is or can be there, it isn’t a 20 Group
  2. If anyone can join, it isn’t a 20 Group
  3. If there are hundreds of people involved, it isn’t a 20 Group
  4. And if you don’t control the conversation, it isn’t an NCM 20 Group!

What do you think? Are you confused by all the talk about what is and isn’t a true 20 Group?  Are you in a traditional 20 Group or have you found another form of peer collaboration that works for you?

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