One would think that the cumulative knowledge of a group of peers should always generate remarkable results, but we all know this isn’t the case. Apart from Congress, an easy target, dysfunctional groups abound. The NFL in 2011 almost torpedoed the greatest sports cash cow this country has ever seen. Simply assembling a group of people is NOT a formula for Mastermind Group success.
So what are the principal ingredients for Mastermind Groups to become phenomenal?
All successful Mastermind Group has a professional leader, normally called a facilitator, who helps to guide things, set up process and method, fixes schedules, provide vision, and separately coach members outside of the group arena. Most Mastermind Groups develop with 3rd party facilitators, what members pay for, whose main duty is the functioning of the group and not increasing his or her own company, although he or she may have one. Depending on the size of the group, typically no greater than 12-15 member companies, a member leader may arise in any group environment. This person complements the facilitator with the collective voice of the group. The most exceptional Mastermind Groups grow to the point where the facilitator directs meetings of the group and focuses on function, interchange, and private counsel while the group leads agenda, goals, self-charter and policing of members for contribution and dedication.
The whole point of mining grouped intelligence is that it offers different viewpoints and experiences than that of any individual associate. Good Mastermind Groups make an effort to mix membership from a variety of different industry verticals surrounding the like function of having top responsibility for the business. Competitors cannot be allowed without certain disclaimers because it will contribute to the dis-function and restraint of individual members and the group will suffer. If you research world business history, many of the most revolutionary accomplishments in a given industry derived from influences outside that industry that could bring added perspective, not shadowed by the poison knowledge of what cannot be done. This concerns the group facilitator too. The more diverse the background, management roles held, industries touched, and companies worked for the better. This will almost always surpass the Harvard MBA who has spent 20 years in one company with one job.
Member Dedication & Engagement
A great group is an active group with no wallflowers. Every member discovers her own voice and best skill for contributing to the group and solving other member issues. Members commit to the process, their own development, and the transcendence of the group into a productive entity. They seek out opportunities to contribute to group activities instead of hiding beneath their desks, with too many volunteers being the success problem the facilitator must handle. High-functioning groups police against member dedication and can vote to cull their ranks of those members just along for the ride without adequate devotion and contribution. Group meeting sessions are agreed upon beforehand and obligatory for members to be there and participate.
Advanced Mastermind Groups also are continuously endeavoring to improve themselves with high-performing members, and as such, each affiliate of the group often serves as an evangelist and enthusiastic recruiter of others in his or her business circle that would strengthen the overall makeup of the group.
Involvement in a Mastermind Group costs real money. In exchange for that associates ought to receive at least double the value in opportunities and outcomes. This concerns education where the knowledge applied far exceeds the financial investment, personal coaching that brings on actions on the part of the member that propel high revenues, and group communications and connections that can have direct and indirect benefits as seen by the affiliate. Any organized Mastermind Group should be economically priced so it isn’t an obstacle to entry, however still offers the financing to operate the group with experienced facilitators, technology and other sources to ensure successful experiences. Cost of entry versus perceived benefit is frequently the reason more business executives and managers are NOT engaged with any sort of Mastermind Alliance.
Traditional business Mastermind Groups sponsored by large businesses can need a 5 figure plus annual investment for associates. This can eclipse the budget of willing but cash-strapped small companies or entrepreneurial firms, each of which has the capability for massive expansion and progression in the Mastermind environment. Virtual-Mastermind.com has established a model that is FAR more reasonable for members to limit this obstacle to entry.
The greatest barrier to engagement in Mastermind Groups is not financial. It is the luxury of time. The sacrifice of time, as in time away from the frantic, demanding office while working on the business with the group, has a tendency to keep strong business owners and executives away from Mastermind participation. This time could be multiplied by travel time. For example, groups started by Vistage International must be established near a major metropolitan area in order to justify a given market penetration. That often adds 2-4 hours of commute time to an already long day outside the office, and can turn what should be a pleasant, valuable experience into one that has the pain of nuisance associated with it. That’s counter-productive. The most successful Mastermind Groups find ways to bridge gaps such as this, eliminating pain and guilt of involvement for members and leveraging time to provide great value in enjoyable locations.
Your Own Group
If you’re thinking of taking part or even starting a Mastermind Group, make sure that you care for the 5 key elements: sturdy, broad-based leadership; associate diversity; member commitment; providing hi-value opportunities; and making it easy to take part for as many qualified business leaders as your group needs.
About the Author:
Karl Walinskas is the CEO of Smart Company Growth, a business development firm that helps small to mid-size professional service firms build competitive advantage in an online world of sameness. He is author of numerous articles and the Smart Blog on leadership, business communication, sales & service, public speaking and virtual business, and Getting Connected Through Exceptional Leadership, available in the SmartShop. Get your FREE LinkedIn Profile Optimization eBook & Video Course, Video Marketing video and course, or Mastermind Groups e-course & video now.