2006 Summer/Fall Volume 6 No. 2
Two Heads are Better than One and Ten are Downright Powerful—the Master Mind Principle
By David Wall
If you have ever read about how to be successful, you probably have heard of the author Napoleon Hill. He is the granddaddy of all business success writers. During the Great Depression, his book Think and Grow Rich sold over a million copies, and is still in print today, with over 40,000,000 copies sold.
In the book, Hill lays out a system for fulfilling one’s dreams called the 13 Principles of Success. While one or two of these principles may strike today’s readers as odd or old fashioned, the book is mostly filled with good advice and common sense.
The ninth principle—the Master Mind—has become standard practice for people who want to get ahead and improve their lives. It is particularly helpful to remember if you start and run your own business.
The principle is summed up as “when two or more individuals get together in the spirit of cooperative harmony to accomplish some goal, activity or result, they form a Master Mind.” Essentially, it means two heads are better than one. In practice however, this principle is much more powerful than you would expect from an old proverb. When you have several people working together to help each other, the synergy is much stronger than the sum of its parts. What you create is a true TEAM—an acronym that means Together Everyone Achieves More.
This principle is particularly helpful for entrepreneurs because we tend to go our own way and make our own decisions as the leaders of our own companies. There may not be anyone with whom we work who can help with our decisions or give us advice. However, there are plenty of resources around if we just take the time to look. We will examine some incredibly helpful resources for the portable restroom industry in
No matter how smart you are, it is impossible to see the world from any other perspective than your own unless you ask others for their views. By adding other people’s perspectives to your viewpoint you get a much clearer picture of the world around you.
For example, an entrepreneur is like a pilot alone in an airplane high above the ground. He can see the weather around him on a clear day in approximately a 30 mile radius. However, if he gets on the radio, he can get weather reports from other pilots ahead of him and to either side. His perspective grows exponentially. With enough reports, he can determine the weather for his entire trip. For the pilot, it’s like having super vision—as if he could see for thousands of miles.
The same can be said for a business owner who asks other business owners for their perspective. It can be very helpful to your business success if you form your own Master Mind group.
It is easy to start. You simply organize a group of friends or business acquaintances that you can discuss ideas, problems, and other business issues with. It doesn’t matter why you get together, it could be a breakfast club, or you could get together to play golf, hunt, fish, bowl, or play poker. However, you should all agree to discuss business for at least one hour before, after or during the fun. When you add their perspective and experiences to yours, the group becomes greater than the sum of its parts—hence what Napoleon Hill calls a Master Mind.
A group of local business people can help you learn about upcoming events, construction projects, or building plans. You can also discuss issues such as dealing with employees, sales strategies, customer service ideas, advertising ideas, etc.
Perhaps even more helpful would be to get together with other portable restroom operators. (Be aware that the Sherman Antitrust Act makes it illegal to discuss price issues with peers.) Although you could run into issues sharing too much information with local competitors, there are opportunities at the PSAI or Pumper Expo trade shows where you can meet with operators from across the country. People just like you come to these shows for the purpose of learning more. A lot of close friendships have been made at these shows.
PolyJohn recently hosted a success planning session at the PSAI show in Chicago where customers from across the country came together to learn new marketing strategies. Those who attended said that one of the best parts of the learning experience was getting to speak to other attendees about their experiences. They learned more than they could have individually because the entire group shared insights and experiences.
Another way to take advantage of the Master Mind principle is through the PSAI sponsored Areas of Knowledge program.
It provides members with a list of 66 topics of interest to portable restroom operators. The list covers everything from handling special events, to creating a business plan, to using GPS tracking systems. Behind each area of knowledge is a member volunteer who has agreed to share his or her understanding and experience. If you are a member of the PSAI you can get this list by calling their offices at 800-822-3020. Choose the topic or topics you are interested in and they can give you the phone number of another member who will answer your questions.
Finally, you can gain an awful lot of good information meeting with your PolyJohn Regional Representative. It’s not that we are “masterminds” but we are definitely tapped into the Master Mind group of all the other business owners in our regions. We sit down with customers and talk to them about what is working and what isn’t in their areas. Then, as we travel around, we gain the perspectives of hundreds of portable restroom business operators. By listening and learning from what our customers want to share with us, we become information resources for all of our customers. We are sort of like the radio that connects one pilot to another. We can help spread the best practices for success in our industry so that everyone can see further.
Master Mind Principle
There are at least 7 benefits to taking advantage of the Master Mind principle, they are:
1. You get objective feedback from others before you try something new—saving time energy and money.
2. Others will encourage you to be successful.
3. You dramatically increase the number of good ideas available to you.
4. Sharing plans makes you accountable to others.
5. You enjoy your success more, because you have others to share it with.
6. You improve your leadership skills as you advise, support, and coach other group members.
7. You develop strong friendships.
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