I recently returned from one of the most powerful and impactful retreats I have ever attended. (Breakthroughs on the Bayou Retreat 2018.) If you are wondering what made this retreat so special, I can tell you that it wasn’t the awesome keynotes (although they were quite awesome). For me it was the energy of the people who attended, and the intense Master Minding that took place throughout the retreat, that solidified my learning, insights, and clarity for moving forward. That got me thinking about the power and the value of the Master Mind.
If you have ever attended a learning event – a conference, a retreat, a workshop, you know that at some point your ability to take it all in becomes saturated. Without time to absorb and apply what you’re learning, the knowledge you are acquiring will likely have little impact on your actions and results. During this particular well orchestrated event, however, the workshops and presentations were punctuated by small group Master Minds. These Master Mind sessions, where we each followed a specific format to discuss how these concepts could be applied to our own businesses, and get feedback from the group, were exactly what was needed to turn concepts into clarity, and clarity into concrete action steps.
Since Napoleon Hill introduced the concept of the Master Mind in 1937 in the iconic book Think and Grow Rich, the term has become part of the small business coaching vernacular, for better or for worse. While the original concept of the Master Mind was to bring together a group of people with different areas of expertise, all focused on a single goal, the current definition has morphed into something slightly different. Today, the definition of Master Mind usually involves a group of owners or executives from different companies, coming together to help each other think about and solve their individual business challenges.
If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner, you probably can’t throw a dart without hitting a Master Mind group. Over the years, I have experienced some really good Master Minding, and some really bad Master Minding. When executed well, a Master Mind can be extremely effective for all involved. If you are considering participating in a Master Mind, here are a few things to think about:
How to Decide What Kind of Group to Join
Is the Master Mind part of a facilitated program, or is it a self facilitated group? Very often, business owners will join a Master Mind group or program with a specific goal, such as growing your client base, increasing your online presence, growing your profits, etc.
The Master Mind might be part of a program that involves both teaching by an expert, as well as a Master Mind exchange where the business owners interact with each other. In these cases there are several benefits, including:
- Your Master Mind discussions will be very focused on a topic that is of interest to all members
- Your discussions will be facilitated, so that every participant receives equal time and no one person monopolizes the floor
- There is usually a prescribed structure to the Master Mind discussions, making it easy to prepare for, and easy for the participants to share relevant experience and knowledge
- The Program Facilitator will screen participants and match you with those who are a good fit for you, and weed out those who are not going to add value to the group. The composition of your group is really the key to success. If you are matched with participants who have a similar amount of energy, motivation and experience to you, it will be much more beneficial than if there is a big gap in any of these areas.
Some of the potential drawbacks include:
- You have no control over who is in your group, so you must trust the organizer to match you with appropriate participants.
- The investment level can be high for a facilitated group.
Some entrepreneurs create their own, self facilitated Master Mind groups. These groups might also have a common goal or theme, minus the expert teaching. Some of the benefits of self facilitated groups include:
- The members of the group can decide who they want to include in the group.
- The members of the group can decide what topic they want to address.
- Most are low or no cost to the participants.
Some of the drawbacks include:
- People tend to value what they pay for. Low investment can often translate into low commitment, where members do not feel obligated to show up. These groups often fall apart over time.
- Without an experienced or designated facilitator, some participants might feel that other members are monopolizing time, and some are not receiving equal value.
- If there is no effective format and structure, the group could lose focus, and results for individual participants will suffer.
- In a self-facilitated group, the group members are often people who the organizer already knows, potentially limiting the group’s ability to bring in diverse voices and new perspectives.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Master Mind Experience
Regardless of which type of Master Mind you join, you will get the best results if you consider the following:
- Understand your goals and objectives for participating. Make sure that these goals are in line with the purpose of the group, and the goals of the other group members.
- Ask who else is going to be in the group, and make sure it is a good fit for you.
- You will get out of the experience what you put into it. If you have an attitude that you will take as much as you can get from the other participants, and give as little as you can of your own knowledge and time, then your experience will ultimately be unsuccessful. If you show up with an attitude of sharing and support for your fellow members, you will most likely receive those same benefits in return.
- Go into each meeting with an open mind and a willingness to accept feedback. Adopt a “learner’s” attitude and the possibilities for expanding how you look at your challenges and finding new, fresh solutions are endless.
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