Last week, I posted Joe Vis’ experience with the Cameron-Brooks Study Group. This week, I am posting his step by step advice on how to start and conduct the study group for optimal results. Joe attended the 2012 Conference and recently accepted a position with Zoll Medical in Marketing.
1. Starting the Group:
a. Contact Cameron-Brooks in order to receive email and phone contact information for the candidates in your area.
b. Draft and send an email that introduces yourself and invites the candidates in your area to join a weekly study group.
c. Upon receiving response, choose a time and location for the first meeting that best fits everyone’s schedule.
d. Plan for the first meeting’s focus to be on setting goals for the study group, setting a good format for the study group meetings, and deciding on a location and time that best fits the group members’ schedules.
e. Contact Cameron-Brooks at least once every two to three months (recommend two weeks after a recruiting visit to your area) in order to receive contact information for new candidates in the area.
2. Group meeting format: The following is an example of a study group meeting format. It is not a perfect solution. The perfect solution will be a format that creates the most value for the group members based on their preparation needs, which may be very different for each individual group.
a. Plan to meet weekly. This allows enough time for group members to prepare between meetings and is also frequent enough to ensure continuity between meetings.
b. Send one weekly email to the group members reminding them of the time and location of the following week’s meeting and also include the title of the book you plan to discuss and any other pertinent information.
c. Plan to meet for 90-120 minutes. This will mostly be determined by the size of the group, but the goal is for everyone to gain value from the meeting while not taking too much time away from individual preparation.
d. Begin with an information sharing session (10-20 minutes). As the group progresses in DPP, there are invaluable tips that are learned (i.e., WSJ is available on audible.com. Listening to the audio version of WSJ on the way to work allows you to save time while still keeping up with the daily WSJ headline stories). Take time to share these tips with other candidates.
e. Conduct a book review (25-30 minutes). Choose one book from the mandatory or recommended reading list each week and discuss the main points of the book and how your accomplishments or experiences in the military relate to the book’s content. It allows the group members to start articulating and understanding how their background connects to career fields in business.
f. Practice flashcard questions (45-60 minutes). Ask each group member to prepare three responses to the flashcard questions each week. Take turns delivering answers and critiquing each other.
3. Additional planning considerations:
a. Group member participation will fluctuate. Don’t become discouraged. New candidates are accepted into the program, candidates go on TDY status, and candidates will have other competing demands on their time. A group meeting with two candidates is still valuable and provides an opportunity to prepare. Continue to meet weekly and conduct a second or third planning meeting if needed. Candidates leave for their Career Conferences and new candidates arrive with new and different preparation needs.
b. Provide group meeting information, but don’t push the group on anyone. It is better to have
three group members who are present because they want to be there and are motivated to prepare than to have 10 group members present who are not motivated. If they are Cameron-Brooks candidates, chances are they will be motivated to prepare. Identify needs and fill candidates’ needs through the group meetings, but don’t push group participation on anyone.
c. As candidates progress from being Cameron-Brooks candidates to becoming Cameron-Brooks Alum, bring them back to the group! Invite them to a group meeting where they can share their Conference experience. Their information is invaluable. Keep in touch with them as they start their new careers in business.
d. Be the point of contact for the group. As the leader, be the point of contact between
Cameron-Brooks and your study group. Offer to take questions to one of the Cameron-Brooks team members on behalf of the group and bring responses back to the weekly meetings.
e. Advertise your study group during interview preparation workshops. Ask one of the Cameron-Brooks recruiters if it would be okay to make an announcement regarding your study group during or immediately following an interview preparation workshop. It’s an excellent way to convey a message to the intended audience while their minds are already thinking about preparation.