Monday, July 24, 2006

Day 14 - MASTER MIND

Surround yourself with people around you who think as you do. The composite mind will achieve the composite vision shared.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world: indeed it's the only thing that ever has!" -Margaret Meade

The “Master Mind” is having a group of people that you support and owe your support to. It is also your use of the earlier principles listed, in order to create that support, both to and from you.

This concept is the reason for churches and their purpose. The faith you create, if shared, can accomplish far more with a group pushing it than the same number of persons pushing that purpose individually.

The same principle works for corporations. Dr. Covey goes over this in his analysis of getting companies to do realistic mission statements. These are realistic in that they involve everyone from the top manager to the “lowliest” employee (if there is such a thing in actuality.) He describes a hotel chain he visited to train their employees. Through various incidents he observed personally, he saw that they had a unique and personal view of service to their customers. Employees would drop whatever they were doing and help the person in front of them, making sure that the customer had whatever he wanted. This wasn't just the bell boy or the steward, but he mentions seeing a window washer come down from his high vantage to help a woman with a walker get into the lobby safely and easily, then return to his window washing. When he asked the manager what his secret was, he pulled out the mission statement. Not just the organization's mission statement, but also then pulled out that particular hotel's mission statement, a version of the first, but developed for that particular hotel. He explained that the hotel staff as a whole had developed it. Further, he pulled out several mission statements, which would go down into departments and sub-departments – each developed by the persons in that area in their own words, each a specialized version of the overall statement. This hotel team built itself and had extraordinarily valuable service as a result, an asset which cannot be bought and installed or repaired, but which must be grown. (Again, get his book. It is extremely well written and sensible.)

A group doesn't just have a purpose, but lives it, grows it. When you see some small country church which is losing its membership, you can see that they could improve on their faith and their vision to attract more parishioners. Similarly, companies that have high turnover problems have probably never truly built a team and do not share a common purpose nor do they truly agree about how to go about getting it.

This applies to self-help in that a person won't get as far on his own as one can with another or several persons having the same dream or vision. Many artists, like Thomas Hart Benton and Charley Russell had wives who were the actual behind-the-scene business partner, making sure they got top dollar for their art, managing the household economics and also the social event calendar to ensure the marketing, sales, delivery and PR functions were covered. A two-person team with one vision.

Larger than that, corporations have been formed based entirely on a single vision. Napoleon Hill tells in his book that Carnegie didn't have to know all there was about steel-making, he had fifty people he trusted to make those day-to-day decisions in running his business. Ray Kroc counted on his managers and franchise owners to deliver superior service to their customers – after he trained them in his “Hamburger U” in the basement of one of his Midwestern franchises. Mr. Kroc made millionaires out of bun, packaging and condiment suppliers because he trusted them to supply his business and kept sending them orders due to that trust; as his business grew, so did theirs. Mr. Kroc supplied the vision, they got on board and pushed this vision. They shared Kroc's faith and became millionaires as a result.

Fully half of Dr. Covey's book covers the finer points of building an effective team. The reasons for doing so are also covered in Hill's book, in addition to Haanel's. One can have a personal vision. But sharing this vision, giving others something to have faith in and push with their own coordinated actions can make the dream far bigger, far more expansive than a single individual could ever attempt on his own. The physical universe reality follows the vision. When the vision is expanded by additional people adding to it, the resulting reality is larger by multiples, as the power increases by factors, not just addition.

Conversely, where a company isn't expanding or running into repeated difficulties, it has gone off purpose (if it ever had truly defined it originally) and the vision shared by the founder is not being participated in by the lower echelon managers and staff. This single datum is covered over and over in various business texts far beyond the scope of this single book. Here we just see that the principles described in this book are basic, fundamental laws of operation for an individual and extend up to the largest corporations and governments.

So, build your team, share your vision, generate trust in each other; there are no limits to expansion providing you follow these fundamental laws we've laid out here.

Day 14 Exercises:

Try this –

1. Take your vision statement and work out how big it factually needs to be to accomplish what you want to achieve.

2. From this, list out the general functions you will need, in sequence, to achieve this vision.

3. Working backward from how many products you intend to produce, sell and deliver, figure out how many people you might need to help you, based on how many of these functions can be handled by a single person or how many persons might be needed for each function (like warehousing and distribution, for instance.) The following steps make this simpler:

4. Take a big piece of paper. Write the vision/mission statement at the top.

5. Write out the functions to achieve this vision in a sequence, each function having a separate spot starting from one side and going to the other.

6. Put a name for each job, depending on how many functions each job holds or vice-versa.

7. Now write a short mission statement for each post of how this job/function relates to the overall vision/mission statement and helps accomplish it

8. Review the whole thing and adjust it until you are happy with it.

9. Now you are ready to form your “Master Mind” by finding people (or they will find you) to help you attain this vision.
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