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

 

 

Business Mastermind

What’s My USP? I’m OK with You Asking

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You’re shopping for a mastermind group. Did I say, “shopping”? Yes, and that’s OK. I always tell people that becoming a member of a mastermind group can be a big commitment because you are investing in yourself. At least you should be. It’s your future. Otherwise what you really want is a networking group or a club.

So, to ask me what my unique selling proposition (or points, as some call it) is – is totally OK with me. I’m going to ask you yours too.
Here’s what I think. They aren’t in any particular order and they are equally important.

Organized: As campy as it sounds without strong organizational skills I could not manage the different and very individualized client relationships I have. I’m on top of each person’s action plans and deadlines. I follow up and stay in contact with each person on those deadlines to the degree that they want me to. I also plan a plethora of logistics, phone calls, common emails, meetings and more. It’s front and back-end follow-up and follow-through.
Determination: I’m more determined to see my clients succeed and have exponential business growth than I am in mine – and I’ve very determined to grow my business. Imagine what that does for my clients.

Ethics: They are my life-blood. I do what I say and say what I’ll do. If for some reason I can’t fulfill a commitment I’ll tell you about it up front. But I will not make weak excuses. More often I will take the brunt of something that was not in my control. I’m loyal and have integrity. Hang out with me awhile and you’ll see. Be a client of mine and see how much effort I put into your success.

Role model: I’m on my clients and my mastermind group members about accountability. Doing their actions keeping their deadlines, follow through on commitments. That is my incentive for modeling all of those behaviors myself. One time I was seriously overwhelmed with a fantastic, but unexpected, project that had a very tight deadline. I was not able to put as much time into helping a client as her expectations had her wanting. I still feel sick about it to this day. I did what she asked just not to the degree she imagined. We should have set expectations in the beginning. Making sure that my clients see me modeling the same behaviors I expect from them is paramount to me. See the above paragraph on ethics.

Charitable:
We are all connected. Whether you think so or not. What happens across the street, or across the world, is still a part of the universe you and I live in and it matters. I give us much to charities as I’m able. It’s never as much as I want. As long as I’m doing what I can where I can, I know I’m making a contribution into our shared space.

There you have it. I guess you could call that my foundational message about myself. Hopefully you know me a little bit better and know what you will see in the way I live my life, care for my clients and run High Stakes Mastermind Groups.
Ask me what my unique selling proposition is – it’s totally OK with me. I’m going to ask you yours too.

Business Mastermind

A High Stakes Mastermind Group and My Experience

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By Adrianna Huff

I remember when I first heard the word “Mastermind” from my talent manager at work. I thought she was referring to the Mastermind Board Game from the 1970s where players move around different colored pegs. She in fact, wasn’t talking about this game, but actually referring to a group she belonged to where they discussed their goals over a group phone call. Once she explained what a Mastermind group actually was, I was hooked on the idea.

A Mastermind Group is not a new concept

A Mastermind Group is not a new concept, it has been around since Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich” in the 1930s. In theory, a Mastermind Group’s ideal purpose is to get individuals to discuss and encourage one another’s ideas to meet a goal or overall purpose.

As I started my search for a Mastermind Group, I found that there are many varieties. There are groups you can find on Meetup.com, Facebook groups, groups that resemble coaching calls, and groups that are limited in size to a smaller amount of participants (between 5-10 individuals).

I chose to join a smaller group (the upper limit is 6 participants) where I could work with the same members over a period of time and have continual feedback, support, and accountability. In addition, our moderator is not a group participant; instead our moderator facilitates the meeting to ensure we stay on time and don’t get side tracked.

At each meeting, before launching right into business, we all have a few minutes to chat and build our relationships. If I were just speaking to a group of strangers, I would not be prepared to voice my thoughts or explain how I am meeting my goals. Since the participants have all become my business friends, I open up about myself personally and professionally and what I am accomplishing.

In the last 11 months as a participant in a High Stakes Mastermind Group, my goals have changed drastically. Both in my personal and professional life, I have had significant changes (job changes, re-locations, and family additions). Throughout all of these drastic life shifts, there has been one constant: the High Stakes Mastermind Group. As I have adjusted my life and entrepreneurial goals, the group has been there to listen, provide encouragement (and suggestions), and give me an avenue to continue feeling like I am making a difference both in my entrepreneurial journey and someone else’s.

For me the High Stakes Mastermind Group has been more than writing a goal plan, updating the plan, and staying accountable to my goals. (Throughout the last 11 months these have still remained the pillars of purpose in the High Stakes Mastermind Group). For me, the High Stakes Mastermind Group has been a rock during challenging life changes. When I meet with the group, I still feel like I have a purpose (and a brain). Instead of just being a “Mom”, I am still an entrepreneur who is working towards goals.

In the end, the intention of a High Stakes Mastermind Group is to typically have entrepreneurial members use each other as resources for success in their business endeavors. And while this continues to be a large part of the purpose of the High Stakes Mastermind Group for me, it is also a community. It is a community of entrepreneurs who care about each other and work together to meet goals, even if these goals are constantly in flux.

What have been your experiences with a High Stakes Mastermind Group? How has it benefited you, personally or professionally?

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.