A Short Story of
Personal & Organizational
As I drove up in front of Myron’s house, I saw him on top of his roof. If this was someone else it may not have been such a peculiar sight, but Myron is almost one hundred years young as he likes to put it. With one eye on Myron I parked and got out of my car.
“’Myron, what the hell are you doing up there?” I shouted.
“Oh, every so often my pine trees get the best of my gutters and I’ve got clean them out. I’ll be right down,” he said without looking down. He took off his gloves and with the grace and speed of a much younger man he glided down the ladder and met me with a big grin.
My curiosity got the best of me and I had to ask him, “Myron, why is a man of your years and means cleaning his own gutters?”
He started to sigh patted me on my shoulder, “Because I can.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” I expressed in amusement.
“Because I can, is the irrefutable reason why any one can accomplish anything they set their mind to…because they can. So just sit with that for a while and come in and have some tea.”
I followed him into the house and as I took my usual place on the sofa, Myron disappeared into the kitchen and returned with a tray that contained our traditional pot of tea and two cups. He set it down and poured us each a cup. Handing me mine he said, “Today Robert, we’re going to discuss a process for implementing what you have learned over the last nine weeks into your organization. Are you familiar with the concept of mastermind groups or teams?”
“I’ve heard of them but I’m not exactly sure how they work.”
“Well, mastermind teams have around for a long time. Jesus and his apostles was one of the first. But on a more contemporary note, in 1920, Andrew Carnegie, considered to be one of the richest men in the world, formed the Big 6, whose members included: William Wrigley Jr. of the Wrigley Chewing Gum empire, John R. Thompson the owner of a large restaurant chain, Albert Lasker, owner of the Lord & Thomas Ad Agency which was the largest advertising agency in the country, Jack McCullough, owner of Parmalee Express, the largest transfer company in the country and John Hertz and Bill Ritchie owners of the Yellow Cab Company. At the time, the estimated annual income of this group was $25 million which equates to about $269 million today.” Myron sipped his tea slowly and seemed to reflect before continuing.
“In 1772 the Leather Apron Club, nicknamed the Junto, was formed by Benjamin Franklin. Some of the things that came out of the Junto included, the first public library, the volunteer Fire Department, the first public hospital, paved streets and the founding of the University of Pennsylvania.”
“That’s pretty amazing.”
“Napoleon Hill, one of the greatest motivators in the world believed that you could examine any outstanding success in business, finance, industry or any other profession and without fail find that behind their success is an individual who formed a mastermind team.”
“I guess my company can use some mastermind teams.”
“The reason mastermind teams work is threefold; 1) everyone wants to be better than they are, 2) people have better ideas and more courage for each other than they do for themselves and 3) no one individual can accomplish nearly as much as a team of people working together for the benefit of each other.”
“How many people are on a team and how often would they meet?”
“The mastermind teams I put together in my company ranged in size from four to seven people and would meet once a week for two hours. Through the dual dynamic of team support and peer group pressure, my team members would assist each other in achieving their individual goals as well as the goals of the organization. I can wholly attest that my company’s phenomenal success and eventual buyout was largely attributed to the mastermind concept. In fact, the conglomerate that purchased my company now uses mastermind groups in all of its various subsidiaries.”
“If mastermind teams are so effective, why doesn’t every company use them?”
“That’s a great question. Even though they have been around for many years, most business leaders are not familiar with their power and typically would not have the in-house expertise to set them up and run them properly.”
“Are they difficult to set them up and run?”
“Well Robert, for our purposes today, I just wanted to introduce you to the concept. For such a technology to be installed in your company is a story unto itself. However, let me give you some context for why you would want to set them up in the first place. Are you much of a sports fan?”
“Why yes, I played baseball and football in college and I’m still a big fan.”
“Great, then I’m sure you will be able to appreciate this analogy. Last week I watched the national football league Hall of Fame inductions in Canton, Ohio. As I listened to the introductions and the speeches of these great athletes, I was moved by what they had to say about their parents, past coaches, teammates and all of the people that had influenced them in their careers. Because of the support that these men received, they were able to utilize their potential to be the very best they could be.” He stopped and looked me in the eye. “You could do that, too.”
“I don’t understand. I could do what?”
“Whether you realize it or not, you have the power and ability to create an environment within your organization that promotes greatness. That brings out the talents and the abilities of your employees which in turn will impact their families, affect your customers and impact your bottom line profits. And it’s a beautiful thing because everyone wins, your employees, your customers and your company.
“I must say, that’s pretty exciting stuff.”
“Robert, between now and next week I want you to think about this and the tremendous opportunity you have to profoundly impact the lives of your employees, their spouses and children, your customers and basically all of the people your company touches.” He effortlessly rose from his chair and winked, “Now if you’ll excuse me, the gutters are calling.”
That evening I had trouble going to sleep; I was so excited about setting up mastermind teams in all of the departments throughout my company. All this time building my company I never saw the possibilities, nor did I recognize the responsibility I had as the CEO. Many in my organization were very aggressive and considered ladder climbers. I used to think that was to my advantage. But when I compare that mentality to a team of people helping each other get what they want for the betterment of each other and the company, there’s no question in my mind which methodology needs to be implemented. Visions of mastermind groups played in my mind as I gradually succumbed to the gentle coaxing of much needed sleep.
... to be continued
Michael Shenker, Human Performance Technologies’ founder and President, has been involved with the human potential movement for over twenty five years. He has been a business management consultant, an entrepreneur and has been involved in all phases of personal and organizational development. Michael's clientele ranges from individuals interested in personal growth to Fortune 500 companies like AT&T, Bell Labs, Intel, Planning Research Corp., Pitney Bowes and Coldwell Banker. In his career, Michael has consulted to over 150 companies on organizational development, marketing, sales and creating profitable work place environments. Michael, his wife Susan, of thirty years, son Troy and daughter Samantha reside in Portland, Oregon.
The concepts and ideas in emPOWERMENT, Creating Company Environments That ROCK, exemplify the services provided by Michael Shenker and his organization. He specializes in working with business leaders in developing company environments that dramatically increase the ROI of human capital - their employees. For a free consultation, Michael Shenker can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Michael Shenker's Creating Company Environments That Rock! in The CEO Refresher Archives