The week before last I sent an email out about our forthcoming Plain English Finance ‘Leverage’ programme.
We have been delighted by the response. Enough people got in touch to make it impractical for me to respond to each of you individually. As such - I hope our broader readership will forgive another round-robin email on the subject. Normal service will be resumed in my next few emails where I will go back to writing on all things financial.
For the significant number of our readers who are budding entrepreneurs or keen to make giant steps in their day job and personal finances, however, today I wanted to provide you with a bit more detail about the Plain English Finance 'Leverage' programme we will be running from December 2019 through to May 2020...
Structure of the Day
As I mentioned in my last article – participants in this year’s programme will need to earmark six full Saturdays between now and next May to meet at Red Bull’s UK head office in Covent Garden, London. We will meet for coffee and pastries from 8.30am in order to start promptly at 9am.
Each day will include two, one-hour ‘content’ sessions. One of these will be lead by one of the three moderators (me, Virgil Wolf or Andrew McQuade) and another by whichever guest speaker we have that day.
The rest of the day will be given over to "Hot Seats" before closing remarks at around 4.30pm and, for those who have the time and inclination, a drink or two at the Red Bull offices and beyond...
These are twelve, twenty-minute sessions (one for each of the participants), in which the entire group focuses 100% on that person's individual challenges, aspirations and progress made over the course of the programme. Hot seats are a fantastic opportunity for every single individual to get the full benefit of being part of the mastermind group each month.
As Darren Hardy writes in "The Compound Effect":
“According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard - the people you habitually associate with determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.”
Or, as one of the top psychology writers on Medium.com, Maarten van Doorn, explains:
"The most important tool at our disposal for living a better life is other people. The people we surround ourselves with are the biggest influence on our behaviour, attitudes and results. Who you are around — what they’ve got you thinking, saying, doing and becoming — sets the course of your life... The dream in your heart may be bigger than the environment in which you find yourself. Sometimes you have to get out of that environment to see that dream fulfilled."
This is front and centre the whole point of setting aside six full days over six months to be part of a Mastermind Group. Hot seats are the engine room of that process. At session one in December – each individual will explain to the rest of the group what they expect to achieve from being part of the group.
A simple rule of thumb is that we should all be aiming for "10x" results - i.e. a 10x uplift in something over the course of the six months. This could be in revenues, profit, another KPI or even something somewhat intangible. It is up to each individual to articulate their own personal goal or goals.
Put another way - we encourage everyone in the group to think about how they might "...achieve their ten year plan in six months..." - an idea that comes from Peter Thiel, the billionaire founder of PayPal as described in his superb book "Zero to One".
These may sound like crazily unrealistic aspirations but they're certainly not impossible. We have seen people make just this sort of tangible progress in the past. These aggressive 'stretch' goals are what is needed to drive sufficiently radical thinking to make a big change.
At each session the group will then suggest specific results / progress that the relevant individual should expect to achieve before the next session. The moderators will keep a record of these action points and circulate them following each session so that everyone involved is held to account for their progress. This is a key part of why the programme can be so powerful.
Moderator and Guest Speaker Presentations
In addition to the ‘main event’ of the hot seats, there are two hours of structured content, as I have explained above. Examples of the sort of thing include:
- “Winning your mental battle. How to deal with stress, anxiety and fear of failure – the emotional roller-coaster of choosing the entrepreneurial path.”
- “Planning: Day, week, month, year, 3 years, 5 years, the rest of your life.”
- “Small business 101: Business banking, HMRC, accountants, PR & Marketing, IT and tech…"
- “Killer life habits and killer apps.”
- "Believing in 'Abundance' and 'the law of attraction': Pyscho-babble nonsense or a great way to drive your business and your life?”
- “A wonderful thing called OPM (Other People’s Money).”
- “What to do with the money when it comes.”
- “Putting people first in business.”
- “The importance of enjoying what you do."
As a reminder – we already have guest speakers who include:
- The head of digital innovation at a FTSE100 company.
- A gold medallist Paralympian and MBE.
- An ex GB and Scotland hockey player who now runs a billion Euro investment fund.
- A specialist banker to entrepreneurs on a team responsible for nearly £12 billion of their assets.
We are in discussion with a number of other candidates of a similar caliber.
Each of these individuals will share details of how they got to where they are today and stand ready to answer questions from the group in the course of their one-hour session. Quite often these people join us for the whole day or, at the very least, lunch and drinks.
In the next week or two, Virgil, Andrew and I will be personally contacting those of you who have already expressed an interest in the places remaining at this year’s event.
If you have yet to tell us that you might be interested, please do get in touch and we will be sure to include you in the list of potential candidates for the programme.
As I said in my last article, places will be allocated based on a combination of first come, first-served, the strength of the business or business idea and our end goal of ensuring that we have the best group possible for everyone’s mutual benefit.