What separates successful leaders from the rest of the pack? Networking - "a tissue of personal contacts to provide the support, feedback and resources needed to get things done," according to a widely read 2007 study by Herminia Ibarra and Mark Hunter in the Harvard Business Review. The most efficient technique for getting things done in your own practice may well involve joining a study group.

One financial industry veteran, Charles Haines Jr., a CFP who is CEO and president of Kinsight in Birmingham, Ala., defines study groups as "the formalization of the networking process with colleagues in whom you have a lot of trust and respect." Haines, a member of the prestigious study groups Alpha and 20/20, believes it is no accident that, when conferences are evaluated, participants tend to rate networking among the top benefits. "Study groups are very important to our business at Kinsight," he notes.

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