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Establishing MasterMind Groups

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Over the years, I have had the good fortune to be part of several MasterMind groups with varying degrees of success. Let me share some not-so-hard-and-fast rules, guidelines, really, to help you in the creation of your MasterMind group.

· In the beginning, someone has to organize things, take charge and make it happen. But that person should quickly step back and let the group organize and move itself along. Those who never contribute toward helping things move forward are not your best members.

· It helps if all participants are in a close geographic area. If it gets to be too far one day to get to a meeting, some of the people won't show up.

· It makes big difference is everyone is roughly at the same point in their careers, even if everyone is a rookie. Even rookies have good ideas to implement, and small ideas are made better by discussion with other bright, interested people.

· It makes a HUGE difference that everyone is committed to attending every meeting, on time and for the full time unless he/she is scheduled to meet out of town or is attending a funeral.

· Whatever you discuss in a mastermind has to be held confidentially. We all need a place where we can drop the facade and be real.

· You NEED to see each other speak professionally. Make every effort to invite your MasterMind group members to see you in front of an audience and to be a part of theirs. That's where the real referrals to each other's clients will come.

· If you are all in the same or in allied industries, it is easier to refer each other to our clients. But if your group is from all different industries but can serve as sources of great ideas, that's not a bad compensation….

· As soon as you can, find your core group and close the door to new membership. If new people come and go every week, you spend 30 minutes per meeting just re-introducing one another. You need to bond with one another, learn to trust, learn about each other's businesses, learn who has good (and not so good) advice on certain subjects. Adding new members after you are established completely changes the dynamic of the group. Don't do that unless the group is flat and the only direction you have not tried is growth.

· At the end of your first meeting, everyone opens his/her calendar and agrees to the next two meeting dates where everyone can attend. Then at the next meeting, open your calendars ago, confirm the coming meeting and set a date for the third. Rather than meeting the second Tuesday of the month, you can always meet when everyone can be there. If one member can't make many of the meetings, perhaps he/she is too busy to be a part of the group.

· Location: You can meet at someone's home; rotate the meetings between everyone's home; meet at a restaurant (best not to change restaurants, leaving the question "where are we meeting THIS time?" Remember, it is just a location; we don't get together just to eat. Meals are purly incidental.) Some banks and savings and loans have free rooms available for community use when meetings are held during regular business hours.

· Communication: Everyone needs everyone else's phone and e-mail address. Personal opinion--I would not want to share a group with someone who does not have e-mail, or has it but does not check it regularly anymore than with someone who never checks phone messages.

· Communication: Suggest that when you start, everyone can sign up for Yahoogroups.com (no charge). One person then starts a new group (like "XYZ-MasterMind") and everyone else joins; when everyone is there, restrict your membership so that strangers don't stumble in and join your mailing list. This way you have a common communication vehicle, and whenever anyone sends a message to XYZ-MasterMind@egroups.com, everyone gets a copy instantly. It also gives you a place to post documents (one-sheets, brochures, etc) for all the members to see.

· Size: MasterMind groups can anywhere from three to fifteen members, and each group is different. But if you want seven member group, you may have to start with twelve to find which seven stick around.

© Steve Stewart, 2008

 

Comments on this piece? Email me at MasterMind@steve-stewart.com

 

 

 

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