Success circles, mastermind groups, board of directors, or success teams are all names for a group of friends or colleagues getting together to assist each other in reaching their goals.
The idea of success teams is not new, although they are enjoying a resurgence. In his 1960 best-selling book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill defined a mastermind group as a coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.
Each member brings their own purposes and agenda for assistance from the group. Surrounding yourself with those who balance out your strengths, weaknesses, experience, and expertise helps widen your horizons as you gain a different perspective on issues.
Having more than one mind working on a topic creates an invisible energy in a think-tank environment which opens up new insights for members. Being amongst successful people who have confidence in you and who are actively working on behalf of your success instills more confidence and initiative in yourself.
It seems individuals tend to let down themselves before they would let down their esteemed colleagues. The accountability factor is a tremendous force in moving members along their path towards their goals.
My first success team started in Germany with 8 women who were each embarking on a project, a book, a business, or some other adventure called life. Eight is a good number since some will not show each time, and many more people would run the meeting too long and too few lacks synergy.
Meeting twice per month at the same time seemed to work well for us since we all wanted the extra push as well as the socializing. Some groups prefer monthly meetings with email or phone support inbetween meetings.
It is critical to have commitment from all members in order to be effective. Without priority given to attendance at the meetings; the synergy is broken and the other members feel let down when the numbers dwindle and the enthusiasm subsides.
When a group reaches this point, it is time to re-group, re-connect, and re commit, or else find other group members who are willing to put in the time for themselves and others.
Each meeting would have an egg-timer to ensure each member got the same amount of time to share their accomplishments on their goals from the last meeting; what their new goals were; and if they needed assistance from the group.
When the speaker had the platform, no others could speak until it was time for group feedback. Some sessions were less structured than others and sometimes the time was split up for 15 minutes of report and 5 minutes of feedback, depending upon how many members showed up and what hot topics were on the agenda.
The idea is to keep it a productive business-type meeting with a casual flair so it doesnt deteriorate into a chatty soiree. Each member comes with an agenda for what they need assistance on and the others dig into their resources to help produce results for their teammates.
A useful resource on the subject of success teams is the book Teamworks by Barbara Sher and Annie Gottlieb. This serves as a handbook for those starting a mastermind group. Sometimes we would select a topic or exercise from the book to discuss at the next meeting.
Introspective topics such as listing things that account for your ideal day or writing in great detail of your ideal life, or other lists of skills you do well or aspects of a job or life your either love or hate.
Sometimes an evening was spent bolstering the confidence of members by telling them about the skills they have mastered or their positive image. On other occasions, a member would need assistance brainstorming a book title, gathering travel information for an upcoming trip, or suggestions on career choices and resume formats.
The structure of the group is dependent upon its members and their needs, knowledge, and personalities. The main point is that the group is meeting the needs of its members – whatever they may be.
If the group function is not serving its members well, then changes must be made to keep it a living, thriving organism.
As all things must come to an end; we disbanded the group when most of us moved across the ocean scattered throughout America. We now have a virtual team which meets on-line via email when we need the help of our masterminds.
Our group calls itself the E-Team which stands for email, eight women, enthusiastic, extraordinary, energetic, educated, experiential, enjoyable, engaging, enriching… and an excess of other e-words describing our group.
Although some of us meet in person (five of us live in the Washington DC area), we know that the support and suggestions are only a keystroke away.
The group had molded into a new life through modems; ever-changing to fit the needs, lifestyles, and schedules of its members. I would not suggest starting off as a virtual team. Personal contact is critical to build trust in the relationships of its members.
A completely open atmosphere of communication and not competition is where a success team thrives. I highly recommend forming a mastermind group so you don’t have to live your life or run your business unsupervised.
After all…..2 or 3 or 5 or 8 heads are better than 1!
Gail Howerton, MA, CLP is the CEO (Chief Energizing Officer) of Fun*cilitators. She is a professional speaker facilitating fun and effectiveness to energize your enterprise and promoting peak performance through playful professionalism. She is the Author of Hit Any Key To Energize Your Life. Contact Gail on her cordless headset for more information at 800-930-6096 or subscribe to your free monthly ezine Live Wire at http://www.funcilitators.com for tips to lighten up your work and your life. Feel free to reprint this article along with my name and contact information. I would also appreciate a copy of your publication in which it appears.
Copyright 2000 Fun*cilitators