31 Days to Becoming a Better Leader
Day #29: Support Groups
No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.-Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich, gives many examples of “mastermind” groups. This is another type of accountability and advocacy support. Regular meetings of this team will help you pool the best thinking skills of each member and the result will be greater than the sum of the parts. In fact, this is the definition of synergy that Stephen Covey uses in his writings. When you can combine skilled thinking and customize the output to solve your life challenges, then you are one step ahead of others who are just trying to keep up.
The individuals in your thinking and resource group can be people of like mind from similar professions, or people with different goals but similar leadership principles. You can also choose a variety of individuals from different professions who have different work styles. Your group must, however, be made up of people whom you trust, and with whom you can share your innermost thoughts. It is essential that each member of the group be successful and continuously seeking to be more successful. Choose people whom you want to be around and would like to emulate. They must also believe that one can harness the combined spiritual force to focus spiritual energy on the prescribed goal.
It works something like this:
- Choose people whom you respect and learn from those who are successful.
- Set the size of the group. 4 to 6 is ideal, so that there is time for everyone to interact.
- Meet on a regular basis, weekly or bi-monthly, but often enough to be effective.
- Set the length of the meeting. One hour works unless a meal is included.
- Set a schedule that allows time for each person to share and stick to it.
- Each person should talk and share both the good and bad.
- Each person should listen and respond to others.
- Allow time for group interaction through brainstorming, evaluating, and strategizing.
- Appoint a process person to keep time and monitor participation.
- Ensure that each member is committed to the common goal.
- Challenge each other to stretch because of this group.
Choose a group of people who have similar aspirations. If you are interested in programs that target those in need, choose people in the social services field. If you are interested in attracting donors, choose people with strong financial skills. If you are interested in missions… well, you get the idea.
Make your list of prospects and call them in order of preference. Stop when you have a large enough group to begin. Set your sights high. Choose people who are successful and with whom you wish to associate. After all, transformation begins with a vision. Choose someone who has seen and fulfilled a vision. Transformational Leaders begin by transforming their own lives.
Set a time to meet that will work for everyone and enforce it. Set a timeline for how long the group will exist, and then dissolve the group at the end of that time or recommit to another schedule of meetings. Begin on time, end on time, and keep your schedule. However, life does not offer us challenges in equal doses or in set time allotments. If someone in the group has a large problem or major concern to share, then begin the meeting by negotiating 1 or 2 minutes from several other members in order to have extra time to work on that individual’s special need.
This is accountability in high gear! It may not be your style. Push yourself to get out of your comfort zone and share your goals. You will be an inspiration to others.
Next: Day #30 – Have a Coach