Are mastermind or peer groups worth it? The short answer is “Abso-friggin-lootely!” But there is a longer answer to consider.
On a recent episode of the Business is ART podcast on the TrueChat Network, podcast host and Plan Canvas founder Jon Umstead spoke with business coach Steve White and Entrepreneur Christina Walters about the value of a mastermind, and we wanted to summarize a few of their points here.
Steve discussed from the point of view of someone who has led a mastermind group. Christina discussed from the point of view of someone who has been a member of a mastermind group.
What is a mastermind group?
Mastermind groups consist of peers who come together to receive help and help others with their issues and challenges – be they personal or business related. They are typically facilitated and can be industry/topic specific or they can be open to any type of business or organization – profit or non-profit.
Masterminds are built on two premises:
- It’s lonely at the top.
- None of us is as smart as all of us.
It’s lonely at the top
When you lead your business or organization, from an organization structure point of view, you sit at the top. As they say, it is lonely at the top. What is meant by that is more often than not, it is difficult to find people to talk to about your challenges because most people cannot relate to them.
There are some challenges about which you cannot speak to your employees, family, loved ones, friends, etc. Not because they don’t care or don’t mean well, but because they aren’t in your shoes, they don’t have that experience, and they can’t empathize. Their feedback can often, unintentionally, be based in their own emotions and what’s in it for them.
A mastermind group is made up of individuals who have or are walking in your shoes. They can directly relate because they have been there or know they very well could be. They can offer feedback in an unemotional manner because they have no emotional skin in your game (other than they just want to see you do well).
What makes for the most effective mastermind group?
In order to maximize effectiveness, a mastermind group has to be facilitated by someone. Here are a few more things to look for:
- Be sure that the group is about the members and NOT the facilitator.
- Be sure that the mastermind group follows a defined process so that it is not the equivalent of a coffee clutch.
- Be sure that the group is about resolving issues/challenges as opposed to selling and marketing to each other.
- Be sure that you and all other members make the group a priority – don’t find reasons to miss meetings, be present in the meetings, actively participate in the meetings.
- Be accountable – follow-up on any assigned action items from the group and expect that others will do the same.
None of us is as smart as all of us
This is an old Japanese proverb – sort of the old adage “two heads are better than one” except in this case, you are bringing several heads together.
The major challenge in any group setting is to ensure that group-think does not enter into the equation. That is when the strongest personality in the group begins to take over and suddenly, everyone winds up agreeing with everything that individual has to say, with no real exploration of alternatives.
Avoiding group-think is a major reason that for a mastermind group to be successful, it has to be facilitated, preferably by a professional facilitator.
So are they worth it?
If you find the right mastermind group for you that minimally has the characteristics described in this post, mastermind groups are definitely worth it. There are numerous studies that show how effective they can be depending on what success, in terms of a mastermind group, means for you.
Christina is clearly biased when it comes to the value of a mastermind group. While participating in one, her business grew by over 30% in just a few months.
On the podcast when asked who should join a mastermind group, her response was, “Everyone.”