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All The Brains I Can Borrow

Can I borrow your brains?  Would you like to borrow mine (or someone else's)?  I hope that doesn't conjure up images of Dr. Frankenstein and Igor or a Far Side cartoon.  ("Just pop next door, Igor, and see if you can borrow a cup of brains.")  Because that's NOT what I'm talking about.

Woodrow Wilson said,  "I not only use all the brains I have, but also, all that I can borrow."

In my audio 7 Mistakes That Sabotage Your Success… (and in my Success Accelerators program), I talk about not going it alone.  In fact, I make a big point about getting help.  In 7 Mistakes, I primarily talk about coaches and mentors, but today, I would like to share another source of help for you. 

 Woodrow Wilson

(By the way, if you haven't gotten your copy of 7 Mistakes, you can get it here.)

The help I am talking about is a small group of like-minded people who get together (in person or by phone) with the specific purpose of helping each other (and getting help for themselves in return.)  They meet with a specific frequency and for a specified time.  They have a structure.

These groups go by several different names.  Sometimes they are called mastermind groups.  Sometimes they're called success teams.  Sometimes they're called action planning teams.  I've seen them called brainstorming teams.

I personally like to call them Success Accelerator Teams, because that is what they do:  they accelerate your success.

You might have heard of these.  Or perhaps not.  You might have even participated in one.  Perhaps you're doing so now.  Or maybe you've never been exposed to one.

Why are Success Accelerator Team sessions are so effective?

Success Accelerator Teams are effective for several reasons. 

  1. They provide accountability to your peers. 
  2. You are able to tap into a wider experience range than you yourself have.
  3. You are able to get feedback on your own thinking and actions. 
  4. You foster innovation by taking something that works in one industry or business and applying it in a new way to your own business or industry.

In many ways, you are getting group coaching in two forms

  • the direct feedback to your problem
  • the ideas that occur to you as you're listening and helping someone else solve their problems. 

Quite often you get your own "ah-ha" moments as something someone said to another team member clicks with you.  I have experienced the "that would work for me, too" moments.

 "I not only use all the brains I have, but also, all that I can borrow."

A Success Accelerator Team will generally consist of four to eight people.  I've seen it as high as 15 people, but that is awkward for anything less than all day get-togethers.  I personally consider four to be the minimum viable size.  And six to eight is the perfect size.  (The reasoning behind this is that with fewer than four, you don't get the breadth of experience and variety of viewpoints to be most effective.  With more than eight, the logistics of giving everyone a turn gets unwieldy.)

The makeup of the group should be, as I said originally, like-minded people.  If you're a business owner, your Success Accelerator Team (SA Team for short), would be other business people.  You would join people who are in a similar business to yours, but not the same business… and hopefully you would all have about the same-sized businesses .  While you would all have differing experience levels, you should still all be, essentially, peers.

For your career (as opposed to business), you would select a group that is in a similar industry (or a different industry but the same job title or level) that you are.  Once again, you are looking for peers, but with varying experience levels.  Some should have more than you and some should have a bit less than you.

A SA Team can also work for your personal success.  You will be looking for your peers in terms of your personal life.  I have seen this work well, for instance, in church groups where the members have been friends or in a common group at church.  You could also do the same thing with people on your neighborhood block, with a carpool, with various friends or members of a service organization.

The primary thing you're looking for are people who are roughly your peers -- some a little more experienced, some a little less experienced in the areas that you're trying to grow in… and who also have an interest in growing.

How often should the team meet? 

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