Selected Members are organized into Trust Groups of 8 – 12 non-competing entrepreneurs from Diverse industries yet at a similar size and stage of their enterprise i.e. as per revenue. There are various other parameters that lead to the formation of a balanced Trust Group.
Confidentiality is at the Core of these Trust Groups and any breach of confidentiality is a sure ground for disqualification.
By Manak Singh – Chief Evangelist, ASCENT Trust is a great connector! ASCENT Trust Groups are designed to do just that.
Trust Groups, are long-term associations that have the potential to provide peer-to-peer learning and support systems to group members through their entire entrepreneurial journey.
Let me share the excitement of the ASCENT Trust Groups
The adrenalin starts to pump right from the first Group Interaction session. Strangers coming together from varied and diverse backgrounds – skeptical and unsure, but with one common challenge – The loneliness of being an Entrepreneur !
Adrenalin replaces skepticism.
The Trust Group members are officially introduced to each other. The skepticism continues.
The energy builds through the day. The last hour is when the magic happens, 8-12 Enterprising Minds come together to define common goals and decide a name to give themselves! And with amazing creativity and clarity of thought!
Energy and promise again replace skepticism.
Starts with the “Check-in Round” which invariably has the potential to get the blood rushing and hearts thumping…Its a rapid round, whereby each TG member has to share the following in 3-5 minutes only -
This one hour long interaction has a pop-corn effect and brings out interesting insights, challenges and opportunities, which then evolve as topics for discussions, presentations, knowledge guru engagements etc for the Trust Group.
This is then followed by about 90 minutes of pre-scheduled agenda (discussed in earlier meetings) of discussions and presentations, by members or Knowledge Gurus.
An Entrepreneur Understands Another Entrepreneur best
The bonding in a Trust Group is unique and you can be yourself, an Entrepreneur! Members in your group will completely understand your aspirations, frustrations, sense of opportunity, and the many other feelings that surge through an Entrepreneur’s mind. And yet, you will be challenged and inspired to dream bigger, cautioned to calibrate, in a way, only an Entrepreneur can!
Entrepreneurs work hard… and party even harder
TG’s are super fun, like being back in college with your buddies. Monthly ASCENT meetings are followed by offsites, dinners and casual interactions. Believe me when I say this – one of our Trust Groups has formalized a very interesting role, that of a CFO – Chief Fun Officer.
More Experience, Less Gyan
@ ASCENT Trust Groups, we encourage a culture to respond through experience and not advise. Members share their personal experience on any issue, which could either be a solution or another dimension to the challenge. This discipline has a fascinating effect of triggering questions, perspectives, and broad-basing the discussion rather than narrow-casting it.
This is one of the key features of the ASCENT model. The Success and longevity of Trust Groups depend on the the manner in which it is facilitated.
Initiators – Each Trust Group is initiated for the first 4 months by an Initiator – a Facilitation Expert or a trained ASCENT (Member) facilitator
Group Facilitators – 2 members from each Trust Group are identified by the Initiator as potential Facilitators and they undergo a 1 day intensive training on the science and art of facilitation
By Manak Singh – Chief Evangelist, ASCENT Facilitation is the fine act of balancing Process and Content !@ ASCENT, facilitation is the mantra that determines the success and longevity of a Trust Group and the value for its members. But, it’s a very useful skill for entrepreneurs to manage people, cultures, time, and various other variables in their entrepreneurial journey !While facilitation is not rocket science, it is definitely an art !So, let’s understand the fine art of Facilitation? As an entrepreneur, one tends to be a natural facilitator. Here are few insights on effective facilitation.Focus on Process Experience suggests that a ‘process’ is the glue between an idea and its execution. Facilitation is the discipline of getting all your stakeholders to align and adhere to a process.@ ASCENT we have designed some simple processes (like Member Check-ins, More experience-less advise, time management etc), to make each Trust Group effective.Respect TimeBeing a rare commodity, Time commands highest respect. Effective Facilitation ensures that your group / team extracts maximum from the least time invested.@ ASCENT, each Trust Group is required to meet for 3 hours every month. This may sound simple,but for 10 entrepreneurs to align this time is easier said than done. Hence, it is even more critical that one optimizes these 3 hours. And that is exactly what effective facilitation achieves.Make it InclusiveWhile the facilitator clearly has the responsibility to steer the team between process and content, but it becomes effective only when the entire team participates in this facilitation.
The facilitator also aims to include all members of the group in the facilitation process by distributing roles and responsibilities. This balance is critical for effective facilitation @ ASCENT Facilitators are encouraged to include members of the group in various roles and responsibilities like treasurer, scribe, time-keepers, process-auditors, etc.
This also ensures that the facilitator doesn’t get overburdened and can extract value as a member of the group.
Consensus building is a critical part of effective Facilitation. There are various ways to build consensus: take the lead and propose; go around the group and seek majority, etc.
One of the toughest parts of facilitation is when the facilitator has to intervene either for conflict resolution, to maintain process, time, etc.
Each facilitator has a different style of intervention. Some are firm, some gentle, some leverage humor, but whatever be the style this is something that simply needs to be done in the interest of the larger objective. However, it is important to time it right and modulate according to the situation.
@ ASCENT, we encourage a perfect balance of sensitivity vs process, while facilitating e.g. If a member has an extreme situation, we take a group consensus.
Monthly Trust – Group meetings for 3 hours
Each Trust Group meets every month for 3 hours, at a pre-determined date, time and venue, to share experiences and learn from each other, facilitated by their Facilitators, thus leveraging the power of the collective.
Knowledge Gurus – Domain Experts or Role Models
While majority of value is unlocked through interactions within the Trust Groups itself. Trust Groups can invite Knowledge Gurus periodically for expert insights on common growth/business issues identified by the Trust Groups
Enablers – Investors, Bankers, Service Providers, Advisors, etc.
ASCENT will continuously seek to support its members, by engaging relevant enablers from the Ecosystem.
While the Trust Groups engage regularly within themselves, ASCENT will organise exciting value across Trust Groups under the aegis of ASCENT INSIGHTS.