John F. Kennedy said, “Lofty words cannot construct an alliance or maintain it; only concrete deeds do that.” Partnering and alliances are the terms used to describe mutually beneficial relationships. Partnering is the business paradigm for the next millennium. Relationships are the corner stone of any successful business. Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs) are the conduits for successful business growth. More people in business today should make the smart decision and make daily Relationship Bank Deposits, the concrete deeds Kennedy spoke of in 1963. You must make deposits before you can withdrawal.
Throughout my adult life, people have recommended that I should work harder. Some have suggested I work smarter. My choice is the latter, to work smarter. Business is getting more complex, seemingly by the day. Both you and I should continually seek additional solutions to our daily business challenges. Partnering with others to create alliances for various reasons is my answer to the idea of working smarter.
Develop Your Mastermind Alliance
First on my working smarter list is to develop a personal Mastermind Alliance. Mastermind Alliances, also known as strategic alliances for individual development, can assist you in eclipsing your competition. This holds true for both your career and your enterprise. I belong to a geographical mastermind alliance, called Gold Coast Speakers, which consists of other professional speakers and consultants.
We started meeting early in 1989 and continued to get together about once a month or so. This is a confidential environment where each can share their gifts and receive counsel on important business, career and personal issues. I do not believe I would have survived in my speaking career without this relationship. The members of my mastermind alliance are some very special and giving people. The group consists of not more than a dozen members that are geographically close to one another, this allows us to regularly meet. We rotate from home to home, each member having the opportunity to host a meeting. We make it simply for the host by ordering delivered pizza.
Another mastermind alliance success story is the Downtown Palm Springs, CA breakfast club. A couple years ago I interviewed Tim Ellis, general manager at the Riviera Resort & Racquet Club in Palm Springs. The interview was for an article about Palm Springs’ strategic alliance with other California cities to draw tourists to the state. He told me about his downtown Palm Springs mastermind alliance. It consisted of general managers from seven other deluxe hotels, the convention center director and the owner of the aerial tram. They meet every Wednesday and rotate member locations weekly. They discuss issues uniquely important to the hospitality business in downtown Palm Springs.
I recently spoke with Tim. He is no longer at the Riviera. He started his own company, Lathom Hotels. Tim bought one hotel and leased another. The hotels both feature suites with full kitchens. He started his company to serve a neglected niche in town, long-term retired guests. He told me that much of his success comes from the networking relationships in the breakfast club. He said that he could not have picked up and done the same thing in another town. And yes, he still belongs to the alliance.
Mastermind Alliance Core Values
There are five personal core values that I believe are necessary for your Mastermind Alliance members to possess. They are trust, tolerance/ understanding, cooperation/growth, caring/commitment, and synergy/mutuality. Use these values as your guide when making member selections. Too often I’ve heard people talking marriage but really acting one-night stand. This behavior is what I call cotton candy partnering. Like cotton candy, it looks good and tastes great but disappears in seconds. These are definitely not concrete deeds and not the type of members you’ll want in your Mastermind Alliance. In contrast, integrity partnering is what allows synergistic solutions, the concrete deeds.
Use your group as a sounding board for ideas you might have missed, to uncover unnoticed pitfalls in your plans and various other important areas that offer you value. In the group of which I am a member, we spent an entire year dedicating each meeting to individual members for dealing with their specific issues. Wow! It was powerful to have several people focus their energy and attention to a single member’s issues. Giving energy can be as powerful as receiving it. I learn when I am being helped with my issues and when others are helped with theirs.
To make this kind of alliance relationship valuable for all involved the giving or Relationship Bank deposits must be frequent. Additionally, all the members of the alliance must be committed to the alliance itself. When this happens the alliance becomes a living entity and begins to evolve in it’s own direction. While this might seem odd, I have regularly found it to be true.
Benefits and Pitfalls
Inherent while building Mastermind Alliances, you will notice both benefits and pitfalls. The benefits of alliance relationships usually outweigh the pitfalls. Be careful and methodical in the search for Mastermind Alliance partners and in the elements of which the alliance will operate. Remember Caveat Pars (Partners Beware), as the road to successful alliance partnering has roadblocks, land mines and quicksand pits. Knowing how to select the right alliance partners and making good selections is truly a concrete deed, of which Kennedy spoke. Make your relationship Bank Deposits and you will surely develop Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs) with your Mastermind Alliance group members.
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.