Lately, there has been tremendous interest in Mastermind Teams within my business networks. Having spent many hours in phone calls and online discussions on the subject lately, I decided to start a new blog series about mastermind teams. Today, I cover the concept of Mastermind Teams and the benefits as I see them for executives and small business owners.
One of the most important ingredients in a successful small business is to nurture the soul of the business – what I like to call “the entrepreneurial genius.” From my perspective, a partnership with other business owners is key to nurturing the soul of the entrepreneur. Traditional networking has its place for all businesses and “meet and greets” are tremendously beneficial to help overcome the natural isolation of entrepreneurship but I don’t know an entrepreneur who would not benefit from deeper relationships with partners who are enthusiastic about their success.
Mastermind Teams have existed throughout the ages – men and women have gathered in small groups with a common purpose. In recent years, the Mastermind Team concept has become popularized with the success of The Secret movie and the teachers associated with it. Law of Attraction devotees often quote the work of Napoleon Hill, who wrote about the winning characteristics of highly successful people and found Mastermind Teams were one of the keys to the success of industry titans such as Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, John Burroughs and others who led our nation through the early industrialized age. As described in his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin credited his “Junta” with the formation of the first US Post Office, volunteer fire department, library, police department and other public service institutions that are still a part of the fabric of American communities today.
As a solo-preneur myself, I have tried a variety of partnership arrangements over the years to keep me focused on my business goals: coaches, open and closed networking groups, advisory boards and mastermind teams. I currently sit as a member on one team and facilitate several others. My peer Mastermind Team has been meeting for 12 years and it is the group that not only holds me accountable to my best self and my goals, but it is also the group that nurtures my soul as an entrepreneur. Initially, I began working with mastermind teams to overcome the isolation often a trademark of independent professionals. After so many years in large corporations, I missed the camaraderie. Now, the benefits to my bottom-line far surpass all the considerable benefits of camaraderie. Personally, I don’t think I would still be in business today without the partnership of my Mastermind Team.
The concept is very easy. Having the support, encouragement of, and accountability to a group dedicated to your success brings incredible results to those who take advantage of its power. If you are considering joining or starting a Mastermind Team, here are the most significant benefits they provide.
1. Avenue for Contribution: If you have been looking for a way to provide a genuine sincere contribution to peers, a mastermind team provides a place where you can give of your time, expertise, encouragement, enthusiasm, wisdom and skills to an eager and open group of peers. It is absolutely amazing to watch your peers succeed and it is tremendously gratifying to know you may have contributed to their achievements.
2. Real Accountability: You are no longer alone, creating lists of priorities and then not having accountability to anyone to get it done. We entrepreneurs place high value on our independence but autonomy can be sustained with positive accountability.
3. Focus: Participation in most Mastermind Teams forces you to get clarity about the most important priorities for your business. Coupled with the structure of regular meetings, it compels you to place the “first things first” and overcome procrastination. When you have committed publicly to accomplish certain projects or actions between meetings, you are less likely to avoid the difficult, more likely to have courage in facing your fears or other obstacles which may prevent you from accomplishing your priorities in the past. Knowing you will receive encouragement from a peer group upon completion of your task provides additional incentive to remain focused.
4. Overcome Isolation: Yes, it is lonely at the top. Whether you are a C-level executive, a small office/home office freelancer, or the owner of a 100+ employee business, you are isolated by the unique challenges of your job. Meeting with others who are tasked with creating vision and strategy, meeting payroll, business expansion, and reporting to stakeholders provides a unique foundation for camaraderie.
5. Creative Innovation: Yes, two heads are definitely better than one – better yet is 6 or more creative heads with unique perspectives and experience. The collective wisdom of the group combined with their best intention for your success generates a synergistic explosion of inspired ideas. When you are struggling with an issue or when you are looking for innovative solutions, brainstorming among a peer group can lead to stellar results.
6. Encouragement: We all need a proverbial cheerleader to help us move forward when feeling discouraged. Perhaps your business is struggling with a failed product line or marketing concept – this group will encourage you to learn from the mistake and adjust strategy to move forward. Even better, having a generous and giving cheering section when you are excited about a new product launch or a want to share a recent victory is an extraordinary benefit.
7. Bold and Measured Risk-Taking: Running a small business is all about risk/reward. Knowing that you have a “go-to” group of supporters to bounce off ideas, provide honest constructive criticism, share successes and failures, confidentially share your fears and issues is a luxury. The peace and comfort that such a group brings to your life is like having a net under your flying trapeze. Even if you fall, you know there’s someone there to catch you.
8. Mutual Success: Yes, you are more likely to surpass your most ambitious goals with the support of a Mastermind Team than if you were to go it alone. Success is often “2 steps forward and one step back” but time and time again, I hear stories about the phenomenal collective success of Mastermind Team members. Their businesses are more likely to take “3 steps forward and one step back” on their trajectory to victory.
There are many factors critical to the success of a Mastermind Team. Over the next few posts, I will discuss the importance of team norms and the wide range of team structures so you can determine the type of Mastermind Team best suited to your needs.