What’s a brain trust and why you need to build one

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So what do a Business owner, health professional, radio host and a pastor all have in common? These ladies are my brain trust and have been for several years. We live in four different states and connect periodically to share ideas and help each other make progress and solve problems.

What’s a brain trust anyway?

According to Forbes Magazine, A Brain Trust is a small group of trusted colleagues from different sectors who thrive on decoding problems.

(Decoding= deciphering, unraveling, getting to the bottom of)

The term, Brain Trust was first used to describe a group of university professors Franklin D. Roosevelt gathered to help with his presidential campaign.

Who uses brain trusts?

Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Disney uses a brain trust to create the many block buster hits films, like Monsters Inc, Toy Story and Up. Ed’s book , Creativity, Inc is on my reading list for this year.  Put it on yours.

The Catmull brain trust gets together periodically to review the progress of a Pixar film that is in development: the characters, the story, and the design. According to Ed, the job of the Brain trust is to “push towards excellence, and root out mediocrity.”

Who needs a brain trust?  writers, innovators, business owners, entrepreneurs, anyone who is thinking about doing anything and would like the benefit of collective intelligence.

 Who do I need at my table?

People who..

  • will tell you the truth
  • like to think and solve problems
  • are emotionally healthy
  • can discuss problems without being defensive or overly sensitive
  • are not easily offended
  • who are different from you
  • are builders not just consumers

How do I make it work?

  • Consider current networks, alumni associations, co-workers and clients.
  • Host them! Make people feel comfortable by creating a judgment-free zone.
  • Be prepared to give more than you take
  • Have fun! Brainstorming is like riding a rollercoaster for free.
  • Be encouraged; it takes time to learn the art of asking and giving advice.
  • Be open and unguarded. Remember, you’re examining an idea not the person.
  • Remember, if an idea works let the person know how it worked and always say thanks!

Happy Building!


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