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TW Magazine
March, 2006
Mastermind Mastermind Your Own Business!

"No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind."

— Napoleon Hill, Author, Think And Grow Rich

Friends and family will offer free advice but who do you go to for the cold hard truth? Who holds your feet to the fire, demands accountability and has the highest standards of success in mind for you?

The answer ... Your Mastermind group: a group of achievers who meet regularly to brainstorm, network, problem-solve and support each other in building your business.

We all need a team to work with, on a regular basis, to achieve our goals. We all need a cadre of like-minded professionals who understand our aspirations, our challenges, and the vicissitudes of the business world.

It's time you form a mastermind group to help you mind your business as you mine it for success. Mastermind groups provide structure, brainpower, accountability and a whole lot more. Here's how they work.

The Basics of Mastermind Groups

Mastermind groups meet regularly, whether in person, by phone or online. The leadership is usually shared, with time divided equally, and commitment expected of all. The group is comprised of a stable number of members, often between four and eight, although some groups can be as large as 30.

I know of mastermind groups that focus primarily on marketing, others on sales, web commerce, life balance or of reaching $500,000 in sales per anum. You can create or join a group that provides brainpower in your key area of aspiration.

Why Mastermind?

Your mastermind group provides you:

  • Synergy
  • Ideas
  • Support
  • Community
  • Accountability
  • Resources
  • Contacts
  • Leads

When I need to brainstorm titles or contests, have collateral materials proofed, or desire recommendations of designers, attorneys or computer techs, I ask my mastermind group. Since I know and respect their judgment, their referrals carry more weight. Since they know me and I've confided in them over time, there is trust, understanding and compassion too in their counsel. They know and understand me, my strengths and weaknesses. And they support my quest for improvement.

Setting Up Yours

Who should you include in your group? Consider colleagues who share your ambitions and trajectory too. Other salespeople, executives, entrepreneurs, etc.

You can alternately benefit from an interdisciplinary team that offers expertise from a variety of fields. Like a Rotary group, your Mastermind group may contain a lawyer, psychologist, graphic designer or other entrepreneurs. Each adds value to the group as they draw on different experiences, offer a different circle of contacts, and provide insights otherwise unavailable to you.

Draft Your Team

What qualities do you value? People who are professional? Motivated? Committed? Creative? Reliable? Trustworthy? Positive? Direct? Similarly, what skills do you value in group members? (coach, techie, etc.)   Now, what goals do you have? (examples: writing a book, simplifying your life, web marketing, going international, etc.)

Logistically Speaking

Where will you meet? Can you secure a setting that is private, accessible, comfortable and conducive to strategic, creative thinking? There are advantages to public and private locations.

Some members prefer to meet in private residences and rotate locations. Others prefer the same time and place each time, such as a private room in a restaurant.

How often will you meet? Many groups meet monthly, others more or less frequently. Pick a schedule you can adhere to, that allows enough time for progress between meetings. Meetings may be 90-minutes, 2 hours or even a half- or full-day. You must allow enough time for each member to be heard and helped.

What format will you use for your meetings? Many include a check-in and review of previous commitments, some brainstorming, problem-solving and end with new action items and declarations. Don't forget to allow time for celebration of successes too. Ritualization will occur over time.

Minding Your Manners

Mastermind members have a responsibility to themselves and their group. Standing rules and codes of conduct may include:

  • Being On Time
  • Honoring Your Word
  • Protecting confidentiality of the group and its individuals
  • Sharing with and supporting others
  • Not missing meetings

As in life, you get out of Masterminds what you put into them. What matters most in mastermind groups is grey matter! Put your heads together and play the brain game to win!

(This article available for reprint with attribution to author
and hotlinks to www.ExpressionsOfExcellence.com)

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