Making The Napoleon Hill Mastermind Work
Here is a principal that what when applied can help build your audience and to become a trusted resource within your marketplace.
I am currently living proof of applying it. I don’t want to go all business theory on you, but something that is nearly 80 years old has as much relevance as it did today than it did before World War II (published in 1937).
The topic I am writing about is the Napoleon Hill Mastermind theory from Think And Grow Rich. Writing this does make me feel slightly awkward because no way do I want to go down the road of self-help, life coaching and tales of corporate success. This is not me. I am a marketer who owns a business that helps other businesses apply an owned media approach.
A Bit Of A Background
Think And Grow Rich is one of the most popular books of all time (have a look of where it sits below). It has been a mainstay for anyone looking to develop their wider thinking for decades. I did think that just because it has built its reputation in such mythical proportions that it has become more famous for being a famous book.
It has become one of the books where you have to like it and tell everyone else that you paid minute attention to every sentence when in reality it probably wasn’t for you (a bit like The Stone Roses or The Usual Suspects in my case). When I picked it back up recently, it is still relevant and valuable, if not still as chauvinistic as it ever was.
What Is The Napoleon Hill Mastermind Theory About?
I blew off the dust and swept off the cobwebs. There are fifteen chapters, but I want to focus on one really important element, The Mastermind principal from chapter 10.
In it’s simplest interpretation, it is a bit like DIY. I am truly awful when it comes to doing things myself. I think I can do it, but I can’t. Much like in business, many of us like to think that we can do everything and be everywhere when it comes to communicating our message. What I tend to do is ask others who can give me a helping hand, or have accumulated knowledge as they have achieved relative success with a similar project (such as setting a shed base into the garden). I am a true believer of collectivism and not pure individualism.
This is what the Napoleon Hill Mastermind theory occupies. The belief is that power is recognised as ‘organised knowledge.’ The definition of the Mastermind is the, “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” Basically, it is advantageous to surround yourself with other good people and create alliances with those who have a shared purpose. If you are persistent and have a focused mindset then circumstances can change.
Reward is recognised when your surround yourself with advice, knowledge and skill sets that can compliment yours in the spirit of ‘perfect harmony.’ You can have as many book groups as you want to discuss Think And Grow Rich (and yes I have participated in this a few years ago), but they are pretty worthless. All they become are meetings with people who have read the same book and think it will change them. In reality there is not a deeper purpose to pursue, rather than a simple ‘I know what this book is all about’ approach. Effectively a Mastermind group becomes little more than a brainstorming exercise.
Hill uses an example from the grandmaster of self-improvement and salesmanship, Dale Carnegie. He used the Mastermind by creating a group of 50 men, with whom he ‘surrounded himself, for the definite purpose of manufacturing and marketing steel.’ He also uses a simple analogy that a group of batteries produce more energy than a single battery. The single battery can only provide energy in proportion to the capacity if cells that it contains. To be successful you create a collaborative network.
Why It Is Relevant Today
There are words here that shine through in the pursuit of creating a Mastermind in 2015: coordination; knowledge; desire; action; purpose; experience; cooperation; intelligence and persistence.
Even Napoleon Hill was well versed at repurposing content. Watch this short film that explains the Mastermind from the man himself.
To share articles such as this, I can’t just write and tell you what you to, I have to live and breath it. If it works, why not share it. A big word that I take from the principal is the word ‘action.’ Which is why a brainstorming group is nothing more than that, gathering a list of spontaneous ideas but not necessarily implementing them.
Today many tools are thrust upon us to use to our advantage if we learn how to use them appropriately. However, it takes time to re-educate and to become competent with. I completely understand why businesses are quite happy keeping to the same marketing programme that has been left every year. To become good at something new takes an element of personal investment, dedication, persistence and it also comes with its own frustrations.
This is where my very own Napoleon Hill Mastermind comes into play. The whole ethos is to introduce meaningful messages to new channels in order to build an audience (with the end result of profitable action).
In 2015 marketing is critical to all parts of a business. We have to be more responsive, more relevant and understand what it takes to gain an audiences attention, rather than purely distributing messages with our fingers crossed in the blind hope that someone will engage with us. We have to create value that is independent from the products and services that we sell. It is all about shaping an experience for an audience. This is where my Mastermind comes into shape and cooperating with others to create more meaningful relationships with those who have an influence and also our own audiences.
How It Works For Me (It Can For You)
Within the next two months LID Publishing will publish my book, The Content Revolution. I decided not to self publish and here are my 18 reasons I chose not to self publish. I wanted to work with a publisher that had the same aspirations as myself to make the book a success and where there was a commitment from both parties.
I didn’t want the treatment of feeling like I had already achieved recognition by receiving a down-payment for the book and then hand over total control. What I wanted was to work with a publisher that had a track record of business publications and could provide knowledge and experience when it came to the editing process and also down to detail such as illustrations. If I had taken this on as a personal project, then would have been the equivalent of working on an extension to the house and 100% responsible for sourcing architects, builders and decorators. This could have become a far more time consuming process, considering I also have a business to run.
The book is part of my Mastermind. This is to work with a publisher that I can cooperate with, have complete trust and have a shared goal, notably selling books, building speaking engagements and the rights to the book to be sold in other countries.
On March 19th is the third Once Upon A Time event in Bournemouth. The event originated from my reticence to embrace traditional networking (I find it awkward, wholly product driven and a pure self promotional indulgence). I also understand that there are many recognised, national brands on the doorstep (or brands that are doing really interesting things). There are many businesses in my home county of Dorset that I (and other businesses) never get the opportunity to meet and understand what they stand for and to have a conversation (so we can apply to our businesses).
To create an independent event from what is effectively a blank sheet of paper is a daunting experience. To work with someone who creates and curates a prominent annual event for the area aimed at the creative and digital industries would be a perfect fit. Matt Desmier is a truly influential person with a selfless attitude to encourage others to learn (he even went to 10 Downing Street last week, which I’m sure he’ll get plenty of mileage out of).
To create an event with Matt would help initiatiate an ongoing project that we could take as far as we want (we’re now introducing brands from slightly further afield, such as B&Q for the March event).
The event is part of my Mastermind. To work with a well respected and highly regarded person who has built an audience via a well-known local event with the sole purpose to entertain and educate. We both have a shared aspiration to create a platform to educate others and coordinate an ongoing project that is truly independent. We are responsible to no one other than ourselves. If this project fizzles out, it will only be because of our own decision and loss of impetus (which I hope is a long way off).
At the end of last year, Ian had introduced the idea when we met up during Christmas. I had been looking into the opportunity of creating a podcast, but one thing that I found isolating was listening to shows that were effectively one person talking into a microphone and there was no one else to build a rapport. When listening to the likes of This Old Marketing (Robert Rose and Joe Pulizzi), Rainmaker FM (Brian Clark and Robert Bruce) and The Marketing Companion (Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster), each podcast has an element of warmth and companionship. This made me realise that podcasts with more than one person builds a stroner rapport.
The podcast is part of my Mastermind. Ian has a true purpose with the content that he creates by encouraging businesses to break convention from the practices that we have been accustomed to for many years. To share and talk with someone I have respect for is a privilege.
Ian brings knowledge, intelligence and we both have a definite purpose where we have accumulated experience to share. Our shared goal is to use a platform to help grow our audience and to become recognised as useful resources within the marketing profession. In the words of Napoleon Hill, the Mastermind is based on ‘any two people to cooperate in a spirit of harmony for a length of time.’ Similar to Once Upon A Time, I hope that the podcast has longevity and we keep the spark going.
Bringing It All To Today
A modern day mastermind is based on being committed to what you believe in. It has to be recognisable to others, rather than a ‘dip in/dip out’ approach. You have to do this with an appetite. A sporadic presentation of proof is not enough ie. a blog that is inconsistent where the last article was three months ago. To build a relationship with others who you can cooperate and collaborate with relies on a huge amount of trust, creativity and ingenuity.
If you can show to others that you have a track record and proof for what you stand for, then this is how you elicit a response. You also have to trust the other person you are participating with and that they will not loose interest, momentum and drive.
I believe that complete self reliance and total individualism restricts development both personally and professionally.
The Napoleon Hill Mastermind said that ‘when two or more people coordinate in a spirit of harmony and work toward an infinite objective, they place themselves in position, through that alliance, to absorb power directly from the great universal storehouse of Infinite Intelligence.’ While he probably got a bit carried away here, coproducing with someone who has a shared belief, can help deliver a stronger brand proposition in a competitive marketplace.
Put the ‘sitting round a table to discuss a book’ mentality to one side and start creating. We have a host of channels to present what we stand for. To work with others with a shared goal can become a truly liberating and rewarding experience.
Image at the top of the article courtesy of Andrew Becraft