Posts tagged "mastermind"

Tell Me One Thing the REALLY Works in Business

February 23rd, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Mastermind Group, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Tell Me One Thing the REALLY Works in Business”

What REALLY works in business? Everyone wants a magic pill. Unfortunately, there is none, but one thing that comes very close is a well run peer group / mastermind .

There are a multitude of peer group and mastermind options available to you. It is incumbent on you to find the one that works for you. But, by all means, find one, because they genuinely work

We kicked off an online mastermind group last night for small business owners and the initial results were pretty astounding.

An amazing launch

Members came ready to get to work. They immediately threw any inhibitions to the wind and presented some of their most pressing current issues and challenges. We did deep dives on what the issue really is and what the impact of not addressing it will be (or already has been). We identified numerous potential ways to address the issue. Ultimately, we identified and assigned action items for addressing the issue.

The issues we processed were specific to the individual presenting them, but common enough that nearly anyone can relate. They included:

  1. Cash flow management
  2. Prioritization of cash heavy initiatives
  3. Dealing with disruptive behavior of a particular employee

Group members left the meeting wit an average of 4 action items to address the issues presented. They were assigned 2 additional action items to address items outside of the issues presented.

We will now begin tracking progress against these action items and how well the specific issues are resolved. This stuff works because it provides input from peers on how to resolve your issue and promotes accountability to one another on doing something about it.

The value is immediate an on-going

The group is based on 2 main premises:

  1. It’s lonely at the top, and,
  2. None of us is as smart as all of us

One member summed it up best by saying, “It feels god just to be able to talk about it.”

Try it for free

Again, there are lots of options out there. If you want to check out ours, it is conducted online, so there are no geographical restrictions. Your first 3 months are at no fee so that you can experience for yourself how effective these groups are.

It’s not a magic pill, but it REALLY does work for you and your business.

Contact us for details.

Read This Before Joining a Mastermind Group

February 16th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Mastermind Group, Owner, Peer Group 0 thoughts on “Read This Before Joining a Mastermind Group”

If you’ve ever thought of joining a mastermind group, please read this.

I’m Jon Umstead, author of Business is ART and founder of Plan Canvas. In this week’s post, I’d like to speak with you directly from my heart – then invite you to join me.

Several years ago, I became a believer in the power of mastermind groups. If you are unfamiliar with the term, a mastermind is effectively peer-to-peer mentoring in a facilitated group setting. Everyone comes together to help one another solve their problems.

The concept itself was coined nearly 100 years ago by author Napoleon Hill (The Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich).

There are all kinds of mastermind group options, methodologies, and platforms. I was trained in mastermind group facilitation by one of the most prestigious CEO coaching companies around. But while I became a fast and firm believer in the concept, some of the core practices promoted by this particular company were not in harmony with my own beliefs.

How can it be done differently?

So I sat things out for a year, thinking about. If I were to create and run my own version of a mastermind group, what would it look like, how would it function, and what would be some of the core characteristics of candidates to join the group?

I then began the task of recruiting candidates – something I will admit is not fun to me. It can be a hard sell. How do you show someone that it is worth their money and time away from work to sit in a room with a bunch of people from other industries, helping them solve their problems, when you’ve got enough of your own?

“My business is unique. I don’t need to talk to people from other industries. I need to talk to people with businesses just like mine.”

Heard that all the time as well.

But ultimately we assembled a group that ran for 2 years. It represented some of the greatest professional experiences I have ever had.

We met monthly at alternating locations and as I’d pack up food, beverages, laptop, projector, tripod and flip charts, and drive off to our meeting, I’d think to myself, “Is this going to be worth it today? What if no one gets any value out of it?”

After the meeting would adjourn, I’d pack up and start driving home, feeling completely good about the day.

There is no more rewarding professional feeling than knowing you were part of helping someone else get through a really tough issue. Occasionally, it would literally bring a tear to the eye.

The group had a lot of successes – here are a few

One of our group members had to figure out how to make massive personal life changes due to the failing health of a loved one. One wrestled with a decision to run for public office – something she had wanted to do for a long time – but how could she juggle the responsibilities of owning and operating a small business with several employees and clients to consider AND be a public servant?

In both cases, the group was challenged with helping these members determine solutions and a plan forward. In both cases, things worked out.

The following is a direct quote from another one of the former mastermind group members, who has given me permission to share it:

“Since joining Jon’s mastermind group, my revenue has increased 31.25% in 10 months. Employee morale and productivity has increased 50% by implementing new processes and incentive programs recommended through the group. As a direct result, our competitors do not even compare to the service we provide.”

Christina Walters, Founder/Owner Night Dispatch

If I could guarantee results like that for everyone, I’d be an occasional guest Shark on Shark Tank and have a private island next to Tony Robbins’

But I can guarantee this.

If you join a well-run mastermind group and show up – I mean REALLY show up – you will find it well worth your time and money. Most members find they actually save time by investing in a mastermind.

For the last 14 months, I’ve missed our group. We shut it down due to the retirement of members – one member actually ran for and won the election to the office she had considered. It was also time for me to focus on the development of Plan Canvas. In short, it had run its course.

And now, I am very pleased to say, it is time to start a new group

This time, I will be leading one electronically. We will meet online, monthly, in the evenings, beginning this month.

This revised format will make it possible to expand the group well beyond geographical boundaries, in multiple time zones, and at a time that does not encroach on normal business hours.

Start for free and let the experience speak for itself

The best way to experience it and start gaining benefit from it is to just jump in.

And I get it. You’re skeptical. You have enough demands on your hard earned cash. But if you have ever considered joining a mastermind group, give this one a shot.

I am offering a free introduction to it, so there is nothing to lose and so much to gain.

Contact me directly at jon@plancanvas.net to discuss it and get you started. There can only be 10 members to a group and some seats are already taken, so, there is no guarantee to fit you in.

This genuinely could be one of the best decisions you have ever made. I am THAT confident in it.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Are Mastermind / Peer Groups Worth It?

November 28th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Leadership, Mastermind Group, Peer Group, Relationships 0 thoughts on “Are Mastermind / Peer Groups Worth It?”

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.

Need a more flexible, budget friendly mastermind/peer group option?

We have an online option that follows a proven process.

In-person mastermind groups are great. But they do require a significant investment of time and, often, money. That isn’t always possible for everyone. We have a lower priced option that with more flexibility because we do it online.

Learn More…

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:

  1. It’s lonely at the top.
  2. 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:

  1. Be sure that the group is about the members and NOT the facilitator.
  2. Be sure that the mastermind group follows a defined process so that it is not the equivalent of a coffee clutch.
  3. Be sure that the group is about resolving issues/challenges as opposed to selling and marketing to each other.
  4. 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.
  5. Be accountable – follow-up on any assigned action items from the group and expect that others will do the same.

See the Benefits of a Mastermind Group Yourself!

None of us is as smart as all of us.

Join a group of peers for monthly, facilitated, on-line meetings where you can help others and be helped by others. Join now…

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.”

We agree.

To be a More Effective Leader Stop Leading in Isolation

November 1st, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Leadership 0 thoughts on “To be a More Effective Leader Stop Leading in Isolation”

If you want to be a more effective leader, stop leading in isolation. You may think that because you walk the floors of your business, get down in the trenches with your employees, and surround yourself with a great team whose input you appreciate, you are not leading in isolation.

But unless you are working with and listening to leaders who are not part of your organization, you are in fact leading in isolation. When you think about it, it is really a conceited way to lead.

I don’t need the input of others

All of the excuses that keep you from working with or listening to others, like, “They don’t know my business,” and “I don’t have time for that” are saying the same thing – others have nothing to offer me that is worth my time (or money).

We should all be so wonderful

Here are a few reasons why working with or listening to others outside of your own organization can indeed be worth your time (and money).

  1. You need to be a jack-of-all-trades. As the article at Inc. entitled Why Your New Primary Concern is to Become a Jack-of-all-Trades points out, you need to master something, but being a jack-of-all-trades is crucial. The problem is, finding time to learn a little about a lot can be challenging. When you work with or listen to others outside of your organization, you can pick up a lot of knowledge from their experience without having to go through it yourself.
  2. You need to rid yourself of toxic energy. An article entitled How to Free Yourself From Toxic Situations That Are Bringing You Down lists some of the typical stuff you’d expect to find like “practice yoga”, but it also includes 3 items that smack of working with or listening to others outside of your organization, including 1) Make fewer decisions, 2) Write down the specifics of productive habits. And 3) Seek out for challenging environments you have no experience with. All three of these things are made possible through working with others.
  3. You need both discipline and motivation. In Which is Better: Discipline or Motivation, the author writes that on an on-going basis, “motivation is what’s needed to get up-and-running. But, discipline is needed to stay on the right course.” Working with others outside of your organization can provide both.

6 options for working with others

If you are a leader, here are 6 options or working with other leaders outside of your organization and to stop leading in isolation.

  1. Join and actively participate in a business networking organization, even if you don’t anticipate gaining sales referrals from it, which is the main point of these groups. Regardless, you can learn a great deal from the way others lead, particularly if you form smaller power groups with other members of the larger networking group.
  2. Take occasional classes, courses, or training with other leaders outside of your organization. Plan Canvas founder Jon Umstead ascertains that one of the most valuable things about his Executive MBA experience was listening to all of the other leaders in the room discussing the same topic but from different points of view and industries.
  3. Join a local entrepreneurs’ group or club, even if your business is beyond startup mode. Free groups like the Dayton Tech Guide offer multiple learning, networking, and panel discussion opportunities regardless of the life-cycle stage of your business.
  4. Join a mastermind / peer group. These groups are a great way to help others as well as get help with your own challenges. They are built on two premises: 1) It’s lonely at the top and 2) None of us is as smart as all of us.
  5. Assemble an advisory board. It doesn’t have to be made up of superstars and name-brand leaders. If you aren’t sure who should be on your advisory board, interview/ask several people for their thoughts. Create a laundry list of potential candidates. Don’t load it up with like-minded people who are just going to glad-hand your every idea.
  6. Join the board of a non-profit or someone else’s advisory board. The purpose should be genuine – you want to help, and you want to learn from others. It is painfully obvious when someone joins out of ego, to build a resume, or to get sales referrals.

Something to consider

Jon is building an online version of a mastermind group that plans to meet monthly, in the evenings, utilizing his experience running an in-person group. The online option creates opportunity for a more geographically diverse team, without requiring any travel time for members. It includes a subscription to the Plan Canvas software.

Click here to learn more and sign up or contact us for more information.

7 Links on Mastermind Groups

May 16th, 2016 Posted by Behavior, Business is ART, CEO, Entrepreneur, Leadership 1 thought on “7 Links on Mastermind Groups”

MastermindMastermind – Each week I identify a different theme of the week and provide you with content, some original and some from external sources, around that theme.

This week’s theme is “mastermind.” I’ve become a big fan of the mastermind over the years. There are groups for pay and volunteer groups. There are industry specific and those that specifically do not allow more than 1 member from any particular industry.

Regardless, there are certain aspects and characteristics of masterminds that you want to look for when you consider joining or creating a mastermind group. Chief among them – accountability, confidentiality and a willingness to share.

A Word On This Week’s Theme

A few years ago, I became enamored with the idea of the mastermind (peer group). I first caught the bug through an association with a leading international company whose business model is dependent on the establishment and on-going facilitation of mastermind groups.

There are some wonderful, dedicated and talented people from this business but ultimately it wasn’t for me because of some fundamental differences on a couple of items. So after taking a break and re-thinking how would I run a mastermind group if I were defining it myself, I created my own version of one with a different target membership and some important distinctions between what I would provide as an individual, independent mastermind coach and what some of the leading national and international organizations offer.

The resulting reward has been high, not just for me, but for the members of the group – each of whom will tell you they save time and make better decisions as a result of their participation in the group. I leave our meetings feeling like something I am doing is truly making a difference in people’s lives.

Unfortunately, too many people have had too many bad experiences with mastermind groups, slick sales people trying to get them to join, and no to low value added in exchange for their time and money.

That’s really sad because there are affordable and effective groups out there, and I’d encourage everyone to give it one more shot…but do so armed with a little more information.

I am a firm believer in masterminds done effectively and affordably. The mastermind is this week’s theme. Below are links to several articles and videos you should take a look at before checking in to a mastermind group.

This Week’s Links

Inc. – 3 Essentials for a Successful Mastermind. So you are thinking about joining or starting a mastermind group? Make sure that it minimally includes the three essentials discussed in this article from Inc.

EntrepreneurA No-BS Framework for having an Effective Mastermind. A mastermind group does not have to regularly meet in person and can consist of members from a geographically disperse area. This article is geared more toward that type of mastermind.

Inc. – 8 Steps to Mastermind Effectively Inside Your Company. A common myth is that a mastermind group must be a group you join external to your company, but you can also effectively run masterminds within your company. But the dynamics are a little different.

Entrepreneur5 Secrets to Creating a Successful Mastermind Event. I’ll admit up front that I a not a fan of big events labeled as mastermind groups led by a guru on a particular matter. The bigger the group, the more likely you will spend time listening to speakers and worst of all, the less time you will spend working on each others issues. But if you must have a big event or are thinking about attending one make sure the event follows these rules of thumb.

EntrepreneurAre Masterminds a Scam? The previous piece from Entrepreneur is a perfect lead-in to this one discussing some of the elements that can make a mastermind a scam at worst and a waste of time and money at best. Do your homework and look for the characteristics of a successful mastermind.

EnergesseWhy the World Needs a Business Mastermind for Health Leaders. This piece is actually a marketing piece, and not a disguised one. But it raises some good points and inadvertently some bad. On the bad – it’s generally not a good idea to have a mastermind group of people from the same industry because there is too much room for group-think and there is risk of the perception of collusion. On the good side, it might be a good idea to have your HR/Benefits lead get in to a mastermind group with the same from other industries/non-competitors to help each other establish best practices.

TEDThe Future of Business is the “Mesh” – Entrepreneur Lisa Gansky discusses how business is increasingly enabled by sharing – which includes peer-to-peer sharing.

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