The Year of the Horse, from January 31, 2014 to February 18, 2015 on the Chinese calendar, may also be an exceptional year for the Tiger. I’m not talking zodiac here, but Tiger 21, an entirely different animal.

Tiger 21, The Investment Group for Enhanced Results in the 21st Century, is a group of people that get together to have a discrete, in-depth peek at each other’s investment portfolios. They gather and engage in order to get a reality check from peers on how their investment strategy aligns with their goals. There is no ego boosting, no judging, no scoffing. It is an exercise designed to help members preserve wealth and achieve goals through heightened global intelligence and shared investment knowledge.

What does that have to do with marketing and product management? Well, I am assuming you’d also like to preserve your company’s wealth while achieving its goals. To ensure that your company is getting the best collective effort from each and every manager, following Tiger 21’s silo-busting, executive engagement, noncompetitive lead might just form an allegiance that strengthens the entire team.

The Tiger 21 groups gather once each month for a four or five item agenda. One member presents their investment “portfolio defense” at each meeting for review and critique by other members. The one hour challenge is split between the presentation and a Q & A worthy of a dissertation defense to clarify the member’s investment goals. Do they want to leave an important legacy? Would they prefer to distribute their wealth to charity? Or would they simply like to ensure they enjoy it to the fullest and spend it all?

Again, no judging. Simply a critical analysis that discusses whether their plan will achieve their goals. There are rules regarding strict confidentiality, as well as procedural demands that everyone show up on time and that phones be off in the meetings. There is also a provision discussing deals between members, which while discouraged, is allowed but must be made known to the entire group.

One interesting note here is that members are part of an elite network of 225 participants in 18 groups with collective, investable assets of about $21 billion. How, then, does this tie back to your responsibilities as a marketer or product manager? For one, $21 billion mirrors the assets of a pretty sizeable company. Additionally, consider the progress that could be made in your organization if managers could get together in a confidential, noncompetitive environment to seek the collective knowledge and intelligence of your company’s best and brightest managers.

Think of a marketing plan or product management defense, presented to your elite company group for the purpose of dissecting and assessing your plan. How well does your project achieve your goals? The responses come packed with intelligent feedback, followed by recommendations and suggestions. Think, also, of the trust and unity that intrinsically develops by sharing treasured plans, greatest fears, and strongest insights. There are a few other elements of the Tiger 21 monthly meetings that translate well to the world of marketing and product management:

  • The World Update invites members to briefly share what they know with regard to industry, location, or events, providing helpful information to other members.
  • The Issues and Opportunities segment puts questions and concerns up for a roundtable discussion and feedback.
  • Guest speakers address common problems and situations from an expert vantage point.

My team and I at Adobe are putting this into practice, creating an internal advisory board that will share insights and receive feedback from the best and the brightest managers across Adobe’s spectrum of disciplines. The intent is to vet proposed products and improvements, before they hit the market, with a more connected corporate lifestyle.

Tiger 21 is an impressive group, to be sure. They’ve accomplished much for their membership with regard to wealth and strategy, and whether or not you embrace the details of these high net worth group meetings, this post should serve as a reminder that no man(ager) is an island. Communication and critical review among your peers can prove quite helpful. It may be the Year of the Horse, but it may also be the Century of the Tiger.