How well do you leverage your relationships? Not using them for financial gain but rather, for personal enrichment.

It has been my joy to get to know a fellow dealership consultant, James Williams the last several years. While I greatly respect James in his consulting ventures, I am even more enthralled with his personal development venture, Mastermind Alliance Group (MAG).

He suggests forming a personal board of directors (your own MAG). If you choose the right people and work with them year in and year out, they will help you design and redesign the life you always wanted to lead. They will help keep you on course. When times are tough, they will keep you striving. At every turn, they will help push you through to the next level of intellectual, spiritual and professional growth.

Your personal board of directors will give you the competitive advantage you need to help you stay in balance. MAG believes there are five fundamental dimensions that transcend your personal and professional life that need attention and nourishment to remain in balance. They are:

  • Your spiritual life — making time for daily quiet, for retreat.
  • Your mental dimension — what you read, what you make time to study and consider.
  • Your physical well-being — maintaining your temple.
  • Your social and emotional life — it is the many friends, both new and old ones; it is your work environment and the larger community as well.
  • Your family — this may already include a wife and kids, extended family, coaching and, if you are like many of us, attending lots of your kids' activities.

Below are MAG's 5 Building Blocks for Success:

Building Block #1: Recruit a balanced group of people for your master mind group with similar vision, values and drive, but diverse talents, interests, backgrounds. Hold each other accountable. Challenge each other to set and achieve greater goals. Be committed to your marriage and your children.

Building Block #2: Draft a group mission. Make it a simple mission statement capturing the essence of your group philosophy and purpose. This becomes your vision and purpose.

Here is an excerpt from Williams' group: “We bring individual talents but root them in a foundation of friendship, family and fellowship. We dream, laugh, and adventure together; we exchange information, make mistakes and help each other grow…”

Building Block #3: Commit your goals to written plans and share them with your group. When you do this, something magical seems to happen.

Here is the secret sauce of a personal board of directors: it holds you accountable for your plans, administers healthy doses of peer pressure and cajoles you to action.

Building Block #4: Define your wheel of success broadly. During the early years, Williams' group put too much emphasis on financial and career goals. Later they also set goals in areas such as Family & Marriage, Community & Friends, Body, Mind and Spirit. They redefined success and speak a bit more today about their faith. Guys usually don't do this. That's what makes it unique.

Building Block #5: Create traditions and ceremonies. These create the lasting bonds and camaraderie. Williams' group does a planning retreat every year. They take their wives away for weekends of pampering. They include their families on outings.

Another special ceremony to mark significance in their children's lives is the Senior Dinner for their high schools graduates. They dress up, take their son or daughter to dinner, celebrate their passage to college and share wisdom and life philosophies with the children of fellow members.

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CPA Don Ray has more than 30 years experience working with dealers. He is at 917-359-5128 and