Building Your Brains-trust

This post first featured on Rural Women’s Network by Pip Job, Business & Social Resilience, Department of Primary Industries.
As featured in The Country Web 2017 Annual.

Have you ever heard the saying ‘the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’? Or how about ‘no one is greater than all of us’? When we come together as a collective, the power, ideas and energy we create is far greater than what we can generate on our own. Synergy is an extraordinary thing!

Pip Job is a Senior Project Officer with DPI’s Business & Social Resilience Program and heads up the @YoungFarmerBusinessProgram.

The concept of a brains-trust, in life, or business, is so important and we need to recognise that we will benefit greatly from bringing more minds to the table. There are many ways of building the brains-trust and a good way to consider it, is thinking of a tool-box. If a tradesman arrived at your home to fix a leaking tap and all they had in their toolbox was a screwdriver, you would be a little concerned about their ability to fix the tap properly.
This analogy applies to us in business, community and our personal lives. We need to build a toolbox which has lots of resources, tools and brains so that we can create solutions, or develop opportunities. By trying to deal with things on our own, we miss out on the opportunity which other brains can bring to us. Other brains can bring perspective, they bring creativity, they bring alternative views and they bring linkages to other opportunities or people.
So, what are some of the ways to build a brains-trust? In the corporate world, a brains trust is a small group of trusted peers whom you give permission to critique your ideas. Many successful business people comment that it’s their brains-trust who have saved their business or helped their business prosper and many say they wish they had formed a brains trust from day one, rather than going it alone. The idea of a brains trust is not solely for the corporate world, so why not adopt it in your life and business.

Tips to help you form your brains-trust:

  • Look for diversity of thinking. The last things you want are people who think just like you. This is called group thinking and it is not healthy. Look for age, gender, race/culture, backgrounds, industries, etc. Diversity is proven to enhance outcomes.
  • Create an asking/giving environment. Everyone needs to be willing to help and share. Make sure it’s a win win for everyone involved. This could be as simple as providing a nice lunch to being a paid function.
  • Make it an enjoyable experience when you bring the brains trust together. If it’s for business then make sure it’s fun, but professional.

You can bring your brains trust together for brainstorming sessions, or it could be for one-on-one interaction when seeking counsel. Having some fun around a whiteboard or with sticky notes and a few bottles of wine can be an enjoyable experience. When brainstorming, remember the rule that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Sometimes it’s the wild ideas which open doors, create opportunities or simply stimulate the creation of other ideas. Don’t debate ideas; just create them.
By collaborating with others, you will add richness to your life which is a gift. Use the idea of a brains trust to create solutions and generate opportunities. Have an abundance thinking mindset.