Accountability

Transparency: Are You Actively Aware?

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By Stephanie Angelo, High Stakes Mastermind Groups and Roger Wolkoff, All About Authenticity

Part 2 of a two-part series.

Definition

You would think that defining transparency would be easy. Like many things, it depends on context. The Oxford dictionary tells us that one definition is “having thoughts feelings or motives that are easily perceived.”

It’s not what you might think it means, and it’s not all positive. But maybe you already knew that. Consider this from John Hall:

“When you’re transparent, you invite trust by revealing that you have nothing to hide. You establish yourself as an honest, credible person in the eyes of others. The prospect of being open and vulnerable may make you nervous, but the digital revolution has made transparency a matter of survival.” Source: LinkedIn “Expose Yourself: The Importance of Being Transparent”, Feb 3, 2014, John Hall

Interestingly, if you Google “transparent” or “what does it mean to be transparent” you’ll find that a number of people deem transparency as a negative trait.  To them it means not having a filter and being poor liars.

However, as Hall points out, transparency predominantly is a good trait. We concur and to us that means allowing oneself to be read by others, giving others the opportunity to censor inner thoughts and feelings.

It pays to be transparent up front, not only in our personal relationships, certainly in business relationships as well.  For example, in 2000 Microsoft reached a $97 million settlement in a lawsuit that was originally filed in December 1992.  Microsoft had hired workers as temps, kept them for a year or more and did not provide them with regular permanent employee benefits.  A costly lesson, to be sure.

 

Transparency and Fear

Consider the role fear plays in transparency. “Transparency is moving past fear so we can truly connect with others…” So says Sam Andrews, who dubs herself The Creative Minimalist (theminimalistcreative.net). We think about fear every day. What we do with our fear, how we face it, that’s the true rub right there, isn’t it?

“Transparency is all about decluttering the fear that separates us from other human beings.” More wisdom from Sam, whom we believe is onto something with her “decluttering” metaphor.

Talk about fear – true fear; in 1982 The Chicago Tylenol Murders were a series of poisoning deaths resulting from drug tampering in the Chicago metropolitan area.  The drug’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, received highly positive coverage for its handling of the situation.  They didn’t hesitate to be transparent, take ownership, and action. An article in The Washington Post said, “Johnson & Johnson has effectively demonstrated how a major business ought to handle a disaster”.   Co-writer Stephanie remembers “Even though it was someone’s deliberate action to access the drug and lace it with Cyanide, and not Johnson & Johnson’s doing, they took immediate responsibility”.

Transparency is not hiding behind something from something, or fear.

 

A fitting story

When transparency works, it works well. Early in his career, co-writer, Roger had a manager who personified transparency. Everyone knew where Sue stood on business decisions, her thoughts on new products, and opinions on marketing. She was the same with her direct reports. Anyone could tell within minutes of meeting Sue that transparency was part of her character, her authentic self.  It had a positive and lasting effect  on those who worked with Sue.

As a Mastermind group facilitator, Stephanie notes that we also see transparency at work in Mastermind groups. We make the case that the success of the group and its participants depends on the individual contributor’s willingness to be transparent not only with the group, but also with themselves. The two go hand-in-hand. Typically, in a Mastermind, you ask the group to help you and hold you accountable for actions you otherwise might not do. The very nature of the group asks us to stretch ourselves, push our limits, and put ourselves into often-times uncomfortable situations. When we venture outside our comfort zones, we are being transparent, and we are being vulnerable.

Transparency is trust. We think, “When I open up to you, I trust that you won’t hurt me”. And the same is true when you are open with me. The social construct of transparency is like a bunch of people standing around the pool waiting for the first one to jump in and report back how the water is. We’re happy when someone makes the first move. We’re willing to follow them when they tell us, “come on in, the water’s fine.” It’s the same when we interact with others. We’re happy when someone makes the first move. We gauge how much they’re willing to open up before deciding how much we’ll reveal about ourselves.

 

Call to Action

What are we to do with all this information then when it comes to transparency?

Two specific actions to add to your toolkit:

  1. Social contract: Honor the Social Contract; the implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits.
  2. Legal contracts: Honor them. In cases, like Microsoft as an employer, or you, as a consultant, contractor, employee, or whatever you may be, do the right thing. Skirting around the law is bad for everyone.

At the end of the day, the notion of transparency comes down to choice. How much you give is what you can expect to get. We’re not saying it’s easy. However, nothing worth having is ever easy is it?

 

Stephanie Angelo SPHR, SHRM-SCP helps companies attract, train and retain employees with keynotes and training focused on company culture of Traction not Transaction. To bring Stephanie to your organization or event, visit https://StephanieAngelo.com , email Stephanie@StephanieAngelo.com , or call (480) 646-2400.  Have questions about joining High Stakes Mastermind Groups?  www.HighStakesMastermimdGroups.com

Roger Wolkoff will help you discover how emotional intelligence paired with authenticity improves communication, ups productivity, and positively influences culture. Visit https://www.rogerwolkoff.com to connect with Roger and work with him to help you deliver results and grow your bottom line. Roger is a keynote motivational speaker and author from Madison, Wisconsin.

 

Sources:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Tylenol_murders&ved=2ahUKEwiu3MrOtIrkAhUfHzQIHTC_BucQFjAFegQIBRAB&usg=AOvVaw2TLwUTY80hXNVP-90fXwc2

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/13/business/technology-temp-workers-at-microsoft-win-lawsuit.html&ved=2ahUKEwjr14iXtYrkAhV0OX0KHa-jAakQFjAGegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw3zVwutV98MJCCd9AP3BaR7

 

 

Accountability Partners

Confidence and Confidants

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Photo by Farah Kanaan, www.KeepExploring.co (High Stakes Mastermind Group member)

Do You Have Confidence and Confidants?

The subject of confidants came up in our #HighStakesMastermindGroups today, because within the groups we grow to have such a great deal of trust between members, that they really tell each other things that would not be said to anyone else.  They know that what they say stays in the room because everybody signs a confidentiality agreement. But it does go farther than that, the members of the groups develop really close bonds and they become very comfortable in their ability to tell each other things that they would not be able to say to anybody else.

As their leader (and observer) that feels great because I know that I’ve been the catalyst in bringing these people together that become so close to one another. It is a little different for me because I don’t confide in them, so they really don’t have a lot of knowledge about my own personal life – and it needs to be that way.  Although I feel very comfortable in the fact that if something really went ‘south’ and I needed them, I know they would be there for me.

Why it Matters

The journey to the top of your game, no matter what industry you are in, can be a very lonely one. Sometimes, it will seem like nobody really understands, from the professional challenges you face to the personal and social sacrifices that are sometimes involved with such a heavy time commitment.

As you climb the ladder, it’s important to build your personal network of support and confidants.

Confidants can help you in a number of ways. People that you meet in High Stakes Mastermind groups, for example, understand what challenges you’re facing because they are in the same positions and know those challenges to be true. Over time, a relationship and trust builds, which allow for the sharing of ideas and advice.

Confidants become even more important when you are self-employed because for much of the time, you’re likely working independently, or with your staff, without the aid of a corporate headquarters.

Often, this means that you have no peers to bounce ideas off of for solutions and strategies. Those you are working with are often not on the same level, so it’s a good idea to have confidants who are as successful and trained as you to discuss things with and to help you find solutions to unique problems.

Who Has Your Back?

One final argument for having confidants in a Mastermind group: because these people are often in other lines of work, they can become true confidants with nothing to gain from your industry secrets.  And they “have your back”.

I’ll never forget how a former mentor of mine once said that Mastermind groups are to grow “confidence and confidants” – and I am very confident that we have successfully done both.

Brain Storming

Handling “Stuckness”

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Photo by Rob Potter

By Adrianna Huff

A few years ago, I started to feel stuck. I didn’t just wake up one morning and feel stuck, but rather it snuck up on me slowly. Since it felt like more of a professional “stuckness”, I started frantically applying for jobs, looking for classes, and haphazardly trying to change my professional world. I wasted a lot of money, and ended up feeling a little burnt out before I found my right direction.

I learned some valuable lessons on feeling stuck and how to handle “stuckness”. Here are the suggestions I would give to myself in the future.

  1. Assess the current situation:

For me at least, feeling stuck drives from not being challenged. Instead of making a drastic movement to get out of “stuckness”, take a minute and review the situation. Talk about it with a friend, co-worker, or fellow High Stakes Mastermind Group member. Is there a new role or challenge that I can be taking? Can I find a new niche within what I am doing that will give me the challenge? Sometimes, it just takes a little thinking outside the box to find a new opportunity to get unstuck.

  1. Complete some outside of work training:
    While I would like to think I get my entire professional fulfillment from work, this isn’t true. In the future, I would look for classes to take to broaden my career knowledge or personal interests. There are opportunities through Skillshare.com (including those taught by High Stakes Mastermind Group leader, Stephanie Angelo), Coursera.com, local community college classes, and even webinars online. Not only could I have continued to develop myself professionally, but I may have found personal fulfillment in the training.
  2. Research, Research, Research:
    I sound like my music instructor from my childhood (practice, practice, practice), but I can’t stress more the importance of research. If you decide to change roles or the way you structure your business, read about the benefits and implications. Make sure it is a good fit, before jumping.
  3. Step away:
    One of the best things for me when I feel stuck is to step away from the situation. I don’t mean to completely avoid it, but instead I try to stop focusing on it. Stepping away for a short break provides me with clarity, and allows me to think clearly. Instead of feeling like I must fix the problem, I am able to make sure I know what I need. Again, speaking with a friend, co-worker, or your fellow High Stakes Mastermind participant may provide you with a new perspective.
  4. Make a plan of action:
    Instead of acting in panic mode, slowly and carefully make a plan of action. I don’t know of any situations that have been well handled in a reactionary state. Draft up a goal plan (like we do in our High Stakes Mastermind Group) and make logical steps to complete those goals. Either have your High Stakes Mastermind Group hold you accountable or a friend or co-worker can keep you accountable to your new action plan.
  5. Give yourself grace:
    If in the end, if you take what you believe to be a well considered leap, and it doesn’t work out, give yourself grace. Everyone makes mistakes, I firmly believe it is better to try something new (and later find out it was not right) than to live in constant fear of not making the right choice. I would rather learn my decision did not completely meet my needs than to live in a state of “if only”.

How do you handle “stuckness”? Do you have any additional suggestions on how to make professional or personal changes?

 

Adrianna Huff is a member of High Stakes Mastermind Groups

 

 

 

Brain Storming

You Can’t Have Epiphanies in a Pigeonhole

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You Can’t Have Epiphanies in a Pigeonhole
Photo by Rafael Rodrigues Machado

Comfort can be limiting

The other night at a party, my friend Bob and I got into a discussion about reading books.  How we read them. He’s a diehard Kindle user and I like reading books.  The real ones, with front and back covers and pages in between. Bob was adamant that his way was better.  He likes highlighting passages and making notes.  OK.  Fine. I have a Kindle too. But no matter how insistent Bob got, it wasn’t going to change the fact that I rather read a real book.

Bob was trying to pigeonhole me into always reading my books on a Kindle, Nook or iPad because that’s the way he likes to read, even when I kept telling him I’d rather just read a real book.  I love holding real books!

In my business mastermind groups we won’t pigeonhole you into doing your business the way we want you to.   We help you brainstorm and process your ideas.  We are a sounding board, supporting you in getting your goals accomplished in the best way that’s comfortable for you.  I have a signature system in the way that I work with my clients. Having said that just because it’s a system, doesn’t mean that it’s rigid. It means that it’s a process that works and is successful.

“Pigeonholing” is often a concern when it comes to work, like getting stuck in a niche or considered limited in your capabilities as Cheryl Dahle wrote in her article for Fast Company: https://www.fastcompany.com/52849/escape-your-pigeonhole

The Joy of Epiphany Moments

But I look at it as being limited in your business mastermind choices and worse yet, how the mastermind itself functions. Having said that, I’m not criticizing; just pointing out that there are many different forms and styles of mastermind groups, even once your narrow it down to business masterminds.  You owe it to yourself to investigate before choosing.

One mastermind group I know, sits around a board-room table, like a family does at a dining room table and they just start talking about a topic. It might be marketing, it might be how to do your website; it could be any number of things. They sit and discuss it, and that works for them. That’s the way that group operates.

Another group I know of has a facilitator who sets a curriculum and the groups follows that from A-Z over a six month period.  When the curriculum is complete the groups disbands and another starts.

Our High Stakes Mastermind Groups are based on you being able to process through a single page goal plan that we have helped you developed; so it’s very clear and time honored based on SMART goals.  “SMART” goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-oriented and Time-bound.

In the course of discussing what is going on in your business, we have an amazing way of processing thoughts and clarifying opportunities our groups result in “ah-ha!” moments. Epiphanies. Sometimes to the point of bringing on tears – happy tears.

We thrive on our ability to be achievement and accountability based sounding boards for our members. I tell each one that their goal plan is a “living document’ because it must flex with changes and updates in their business growth.  That wouldn’t be possible if we clung to the status quo. In fact you could say we’re about taking you out of your pigeonhole.

 

 

Brain Storming

Limbic “Brainiacs” Giving Incentive to Masterminds

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Limbic Brain- Its Positive Effects on Commitment to a Business Mastermind Group

By Guest Blogger
What is the Limbic Brain?

The limbic brain is that part of the brain that deals with emotions, memories, instincts, and arousal (stimulation). It is the emotional switchboard of the brain. The limbic system consists subparts like the hippocampus, hypothalamus, and amygdala.  These help in controlling various emotional, endocrine, voluntary and visceral responses to our environments featuring in our daily activities. The best function of the limbic system is the emotion control, while a part of this system called the hippocampus helps in the formation and retaining of memories, which is very crucial for development and learning.  Some of the functions performed by the limbic brain: remembering of past events, making choices based on experience, movement control based on past learning, perceive threats from surroundings, form sensory preferences, etc.

What’s the Connection?

A business Mastermind Group is a group created with the aim of brainstorming and collaborating together to achieve a particular set of goals. This concept was initialized by Napoleon Hill around 75 years ago in his book “Think and Grow Rich”. A Mastermind Group helps individuals to navigate through challenges using the collective ideas of other people. These groups are for real change, growth and trust. They are entrepreneurs and solopreneurs who believe they can easily achieve their set goals through working with high-productive and accountable people.

Joining a Mastermind Group helps to eliminate isolation. Working collaboratively with a mastermind group can be very advantageous, it helps to maximize profit as it integrates business ideas from different sects of experienced people. The benefits of Mastermind Groups  includes insights from the skills and expertise of others, solutions and ideas from brainstorming, trusted network of others who are supportive, a professional community, goal mastering, an instant and valuable support network, accountability and real progress in business, problem-solving sessions, etc.

The brain plays a very important role in the control of the body system. It is responsible for all the human body activities. The brain is divided into different segments which perform their distinct functions. One of these segments is the limbic brain, responsible for memory and emotion control. The way people react to various stimuli is determined by how the limbic brain controls the emotion or how it is aroused. The functionality of the limbic system, to a great extent, affects human social interaction especially commitment to some things like membership of a Mastermind Group. Different parts of the limbic system perform various functions that control human reaction. Below are some of the major parts:

  • Thalamus: It is responsible for detecting and relaying information from the human senses. This part helps in sharing of knowledge among Mastermind Group members as people perceive things differently which will bring about maximization of ideas.
  • Hypothalamus: It acts as the regulator of hormone control. It helps to maintain body homeostasis. Its interaction with other parts of the limbic brain helps it to control the part of the body responsible for “fight and flight” response. Hypothalamus regulates human emotions as this will help in their relationship with one another in a Mastermind Group.
  • Amygdala: This is tied to fear and anxious emotions. It assists in the development of memories especially emotional events and emergencies. Activeness of members of a Mastermind Group is essential, and members must be anxious to seek more knowledge from others.
  • Hippocampus: It is generally associated with memory and focus. This part of the limbic brain helps in retaining of memory/ learning. The main purpose of a Mastermind is for individual development, i.e. gaining more knowledge and experience for maximum output. Hippocampus can help in achieving this.
  • Cingulate gyrus: it is involved in many sections of memory and emotion. This performs similar functions with the hippocampus.
In Summary

The limbic brain plays an essential function in the human brain which tends to affect the cognitive and social behavior of people thereby affecting their productivity. Being in a Mastermind Group is determined by the functionality of the limbic brain which helps in emotion control influencing person’s social interaction decision. The limbic brain regulates the emotional decisions effecting how people react to external stimuli such as being in a Mastermind.

Membership in a Mastermind Group is a part which aids maximization of profit thereby arousing the interest of people to participate more because of its financial benefits. Self-development and enhancement is also a major concern for Mastermind, improving the intellectual competence of its members. This is made possible by the retaining memory function of the limbic brain, storing information/knowledge for future purposes.

Mastermind group members are people who believe they can easily achieve their set goals through working with high-productive and accountable people – and can thank their Limbic brain for the incentive.