With a Little Help from My Friends

Mike Stewart

A common denominator in almost every program I've done in the last two months has been the participants' awareness of how hard it is for them as individuals to follow up and be accountable for the action plans developed during the training.

Participants in the programs were excited and involved in the learning process. They took extensive notes and actively participated in the discussions and participatory exercises. It was like light-bulbs were coming on all over the place.

They had disappointing answers, however, to the last of these three crucial questions:

- How many of you have been through training before that you considered to be worthwhile? (Almost all of them)
- How many of you followed up and used the material after the training? (Most of them said they did, then they began adding to their answers, which prompted me to ask:)
-How many of you were successful in using the material long-term so it made a lasting difference in your success? (Almost none of them!)

Their past results were typical of the training and development experience of way too many of us: Good ideas that could make a big difference in our lives just don't get implemented. General Norman Schwarzkopf said it this way:

"The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it."

Why is it so hard to have the personal discipline required to implement and be accountable for desirable action ideas on our own? I don't know. I wish I did. However, what we do know is this. Most of us find it extremely difficult, or impossible, to hold ourselves responsible for changing our habitual behavior on our own.

The greatest challenge facing salespeople today is getting out of their comfort zones and applying what they already know how to do.

We also know that being morally accountable to others is truly motivating and has a profound impact on our behaviors and the resulting outcomes. Remember groups you have belonged to, maybe back in school? A sports team, sorority, or student club. Weren't you willing, perhaps even eager, to do things you feared or dreaded so you wouldn't let the others down? You bet you were.

You can take advantage of this principle and implement your knowledge and skills by participating in a group of like- minded people who will encourage and support you as you encourage and support each of them.

Such groups are called Mastermind Groups. They are used extensively in the speaking and training business, and more and more among my Clients. I belong to two local mastermind groups that have contributed significantly to my success.

- One has 10 members and meets the first Tuesday of every month for lunch. This is a pretty relaxed group.
- My other group has five members and meets about every two months for six hours. This is a much more intense and demanding group that requires the presence of every member.
- I was on the phone today with a colleague whose national mastermind group of six people meets every three months for two days. They are in San Diego this quarter and, needless to say, are very intense and dedicated.

You can literally change your life with a little help from your friends by getting together in a mastermind group to encourage, support and hold each other accountable for developing and implementing action plans that will move your performance to a higher level.

I hope you will just do it, because as Ray Croc, founder of McDonalds was fond of saying:


"No one succeeds alone."

Mike Stewart, Certified Speaking Professional, Registered Corporate Coach and author of Close More Sales!
Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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