The Trivial Pursuit Effect – Why Peer Advisory Groups Give You an Edge

Mark Jankowski |

Let’s start with a thought experiment: you have been invited to play a game of Trivial Pursuit against a team of ten people. That’s not a typo: this is a game of one vs. ten. Which team is more likely to win?

We can probably agree that the team of ten is likely to defeat you. Why? Because that team of ten has a greater knowledge base to work with. Meanwhile, you have only yourself. If a question arises, and you don’t know the answer, then you have no one else to fall back on, or brainstorm potential answers with. But with the team of ten, there’s a good chance that someone is going to know the answer to a question, even if the other members of the team don’t. Everyone knows the saying “two heads are better than one”, and there’s certainly no arguing that ten heads are much better than two. 

The Trivial Pursuit Effect 

I call this the “Trivial Pursuit Effect”: if you play by yourself against a team of ten, almost certainly the team of ten will win. The Trivial Pursuit Effect is not a phenomenon that only applies to board games. It also applies in a peer advisory group environment.

Think of it this way: if you sit in your office alone and try to handle every problem that comes your way, you will find yourself quickly overwhelmed and unable to strategically solve this plethora of problems. You’re limited by your knowledge base. 

In a peer advisory group, you get to be part of the team of ten. Using ten minds instead of one, you can tap into the experiences of others and use group discussions to arrive at solutions that you may have missed on your own.

Using Peer Advisory Groups to Come Up With Solutions

That being said, as part of a peer advisory group, you can’t just expect your fellow members to solve your problems for you. Just like you can’t expect one member of the team to answer every Trivial Pursuit question correctly. It is a team effort and you need to be a team player.

During the monthly group meetings, members bring their issues to the table and share their concerns or challenges with the group. After sharing an issue, it’s up to you to listen actively to what your peers have to say about it. Once a significant discussion has been accomplished, the group should circle back to the person who brought up the issue and ensure they understand all of the insight offered. This person should recap what they heard from the group and what they plan to do about their issues. 

In the next session, the group has to hold each member accountable: what have they done to address their issues? What do they still need to do? All the information about issues, plans, and accountability should be recorded, so that the group can keep track of each member’s problems and solutions and reference the details of the discussion and outcome in future meetings. These meeting records not only drive accountability amongst the group, but also provide documentation that can be referenced the next time a member brings a similar challenge to the group.

While most of the issues faced by CEOs are in no way trivial, the “Trivial Pursuit Effect” emphasizes the benefits of a peer advisory group, by utilizing a team of 10 to help address critical issues.

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Mark Jankowski

Mark Jankowski

Mark Jankowski brings a diverse background to his role as a CEOIQ Facilitator. After graduating from Harvard University and the University of Virginia School of Law, Mark has found himself in many roles, including Corporate Attorney, Investment Banking, Business Owner, Best Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Negotiation Expert. Mark’s passion is helping people succeed in both their work and their personal lives, and CEOIQ Peer Advisory Groups provide the perfect platform to realize that goal.