Accelerating Best Practices in Peer Support Around the World
9.18.11

Think With Us – What Makes Peers for Progress Endure

Over the summer the Economist had an interesting article called the Test of Time about organizational endurance. The point it develops is that organizational endurance comes from identifying and serving a need, not from occupying and controlling a specific product niche.  It draws an interesting contrast between IBM and Apple that the author thinks have done the former versus Dell (computers) and Microsoft (Windows today, Windows tomorrow…) that seem to be taking the latter path.

Perhaps the key line in the piece is at the start of the second par: “IBM’s secret is that it is built around an idea that transcends any particular product or technology.”  When we were getting started, Craig Doane (Chair of the Peers for Progress Executive Committee; Executive Director, American Academy of Family Physicians Foundation) told me our goal was to be “the go-to source on peer support around the world.”  That seems still to ring wise to me.

As we succeed, groups will develop that want to do various things within the general space of “peer support and health.”  I think our opportunity and challenge will be to stay focused on how, as the “global go-to source,” we can add value to the many more local and focused efforts we may predict will come as a result of our success.  We will need to find ways to embrace and cultivate our successes but also to watch them prosper, sometimes on their own terms.

I think our key will be to continue to add value as the global “go-to source.”  From all our experience, it seems that we are very much viewed that way.  I think our brief history and accomplishments combined with the simple fact that peer support has been around for millennia and is not in danger of going away provide us an attractive opportunity.  That is to grow as the global “go to” source and continue to cultivate the “value added” we can provide to the many peer support programs around the world.

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