Peer groups and learning groups for 2024

In 2023, it was my great pleasure to introduce peer groups to Third Tier. I wasn’t sure how it would go in the first year, but it went better than I anticipated, which is a good thing. Three groups were established. In 2024, two of these groups will continue and other specialized groups will be added. In addition, we’ll be adding David Shackelford as a group leader.

Small business group

This group is made up of IT professionals that are running businesses with 6 employees or fewer. It has a diverse make up of individuals with intentional single person shops, a start-up, and those with a handful of employees. At this level everyone wears multiple hats and balancing those is a challenge. Technical challenges, time management, and growth, are topics that are often discussed. This group will continue in 2024 and we welcome new members.

Large business group

This group is made up of IT professionals who are owners, managers, or departmental managers in businesses with more than 6 employees. These are firms with a solid identity, who have mastered growth and are now in the refining phase. Most in this group have significantly more employees and the challenges are generally management focused. Dividing the business into focused departments, layering management responsibilities, accountability, product selection, and hiring are topics that are often discussed. This group will continue in 2024 and we welcome new members.

Growth Group

This group met for 12 months with an exclusive focus on growth of their business. It featured 5 guest speakers on public speaking, LinkedIn, social media marketing, developing referrals, and committing to a vertical. I also shared my experiences in developing your brand, the importance of culture, letters of introduction, holding events, building the best list ever, raising prices and more. We also master minded our way through challenges along the way. This group concludes with the year.

New groups for 2024

In 2024, we are adding focused learning groups. These groups may be short- or longer-term groups and will be focused on a single topic. Earlier in 2023, I surveyed our followers to gauge interest and you were encouraging, so here’s what we are thinking of starting off with. Additional groups may be added as the year progresses. The details are still being worked through. Here’s a preview. And don’t forget that small and large business groups are continuing too.

Defender for Business setup

This is a huge topic. I recently gave a conference session on getting it setup. It wasn’t nearly long enough, and I had to cut out a lot of details in the interest of time. This group will work through the six components of Defender for Business and setup each of them in details. (Entra, Defender for Office, Intune, Endpoint mgr, Defender for Cloud apps and Sentinel) We will also have a session on how to use it, now that you’ve set it up perfectly.

Public speaking

I’ve wanted to teach this for a while. You need this skill in order to communicate effectively with clients, even if you aren’t going to get up on a stage. I’m not the best, most engaging, public speaker, so I try to be knowledgeable and friendly. I’m an introvert. It took a while to get the hang of public speaking and I have a method. It’s one I developed myself and I used it to teach public speaking to my MSP staff. If I can do it and they can do it, so can you. This group will learn how to present. We’ll cover topic generation and self-preparation, outlining, powerpointing with notes, speaking to yourself, speaking to the group, speaking at an event. And yes, we’re going to hold an online event where you will be one of the speakers. Trust me, you can do this.

Intune deep-dive

David Shackelford is a deep-dive kind of guy. We often hear that people are frustrated with the rate of change in Microsoft’s products. Change is easier to manage and adapt to when you understand the underlying architecture. In this study group, Dave will lead you through his favorite Intune book as a study guide. You’ll learn to how Intune works and the configuration of Intune. Lab tenants will be used to practice what you’ve learned.

There’s no pricing and no specific details yet. But I’d love to hear your feedback so please email or comment on this post. Details will be arriving in December along with your opportunity to secure your place in the groups for 2024.

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