Vistage touts itself as the largest CEO organization in the world and attempts to impact results in small to medium sized organizations by providing a forum for business owners and leaders to get the knowledge and direction they need to move their organizations forward.
They charge a fee that portends dramatic results.
Having facilitated several of those groups and seen and know others as members and facilitators, I must say that seldom, if ever, have I seen the kind of results I believe possible.
Napoleon Hill, the fabled author of Think and Grow Rich lists the Master Mind as the Ninth Step to success as defined by monetary wealth and business success.
Andrew Carnegie, the first Billionaire in America credits all of his success in steel manufacturing and marketing to a Master Mind group of about 50 colleagues.
It is here that a definition of the Master Mind as Hill describes it is "Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.
" In this definition, I believe, is the reason the Vistage model and others have failed to live up to expectations.
And, it is here that I believe adjustments need to be made to produce the kind of results, to which Andrew Carnegie refers.
It is definite of purpose that is the key to a successful Master Mind group.
Within Master Mind models such as Vistage, all members are of different companies and industries and have different agendas.
Within the Carnegie Master Mind group were mostly those of the same industry and, in fact, the same company.
All had a goal of making results better in this one entity.
Needless to say that most, if not all had a purpose of seeing their organization grow and prosper and by doing so, hoped to prosper themselves.
Entrepreneurs are the Carnegies of the present.
They have a vision of a successful business and are on the search to find it.
Some are more capable than others but all are have the vision, even thought it may be a separate and quite different vision, it is a vision all the same, a definiteness of purpose one might say.
Simply by the nature of Entrepreneurism there are many solitary hours where much searching for answers takes place.
It is said and I believe it so, you cannot be an expert at everything.
Often times an Entrepreneur is good only at visioning or inventing but not so good at developing a plan to make money with the vision or invention or deciding the best method to deliver the produce or to sell the product or service.
That is where the need for a Master Mind comes in to play.
The question is, what is the best way to build that Master Mind: Internally or Externally? The answer, I believe, is to build it internally through the hiring of people with critical knowledge that are superior performers in their field.
Unfortunately, that approach is often far too costly in the early and critical stages of a start-up business.
Truthfully, the best and most frequent means is a combination of both.
When you can, hire people who have the critical knowledge you need to grow your vision or you can retain outside consultants with that critical knowledge or you can become a part of an effective Master Mind group that is focused on your industry and made of people invited to join because of their special knowledge.
So, bottom-line, we are recommending the Master Mind concept to our Entrepreneur friends, but suggesting that you build it deliberately if you are doing so internally.
If you are doing so externally, the least expensive way to go is to join an Industry specific Master Mind that has been carefully built to deliver powerful support within your industry.
As an alternative, look for consultants that are "best of class" with the specific knowledge you need.
Possibly, if you do a good job of selection they may become internal at some point in the future.
If you are an Entrepreneur, look for expert help, you cannot do it all!