The appeal of a Mastermind community is the rare opportunity it gives many business leaders. It's the opportunity to collaborate with a group of your peers who are also business owners ...
The reward is that you achieve more for your business than you could on your own as well as helping others to do the same. The collective brain of a mastermind community offers you new insights into what you count as success and how best to achieve it.
To do this needs open, frank discussion and challenging feedback. For business owners to open up and accept this sometimes uncomfortable exercise requires the chemistry within the group to be right.
Usually, the founder of the mastermind community chooses the core starter group, but may then open it up to invite others to join. So how do you decide who to invite along who will add value to the group?
The group needs to combine two conflicting ideals. It needs to be homogenous; perceived by members to be peers. On the other hand, it needs to be diverse so that members get a different perspective on their issues and avoid complacency or 'group think' emerging.
My tip to reconciling this tension is to apply the Goldilocks principle. Members should be alike, but not too alike; and different, but not too different. Then apply this to some key characteristics that you can use to assess if the person you wish to invite to join you will both contribute to the group, and gain valuable assistance for their own endeavours.
Again I recommend not too many, but not too few mastermind community members and create a list of top five characteristics that you can use as a guide to your decisions. Remember to apply the Goldilocks principle: Does this person stretch the group or would they feel out of place?
The power of the mastermind community comes from the pooling of skills, knowledge, resources and contacts across the membership. This covers not just what people are doing now, but their whole working and personal life experience.
Not just what they are doing now but have acquired throughout their career. They may bring high levels of particular expertise that others lack or just a good grounding across a range of business activities.
- Business type
Each member wishes to get something back from the mastermind community as well as contribute so it is important that other groups members can help with the sort of business they are running now. Are they sole trader, Limited company or a PLC? Maybe they are running a public sector or not for profit organisation?
Other things to consider what is the history of the organisation. Is it a start-up or third-generation family business? The hobbyist selling their own craft products is unlikely to be a good fit for someone running a sizable software business.
As a rule, size probably matters more than the type of product or service being delivered. A diversity of industry types can bring a fresh perspective onto shared challenges like marketing, cash flow or staffing.
Leading on from this what are the individual's aspirations for their business and their membership of the mastermind community. A major part of the time will be spent on either generic issues or focusing on particular issues brought to the group by other members.
Members need to be able to apply the learning they gain from the questions, challenges and advice given to others to their own circumstances. A frequent observation is this type of non-pressured learning can open people up to addressing issues in their own business they had not considered or were too uncomfortable to deal with directly.
So some degree of matching aspirations helps this. Are members launching a new venture, looking to significantly scale up their activities, franchising, or bringing on associates? Are they preparing to exit the business, sell it or hand it over to the next generation? Maybe they want to just modernise, pivot to stay ahead of the competition? Or they could need to address larger issues like embracing the green agenda? Or just finding an easier way of earning a comfortable living from their endeavours?
Involvement in a mastermind community needs the members to devote regular time to the group; it is more than just pitching up to a meeting. Very few business leaders have masses of spare time on their hands. So they must free up time and be able to organise their workload to attend regular meetings, assist other members in between the formal meeting and prepare their contribution to the groups learning through their own reading and research.
Whilst there might be a lot behind the truism that "if you want a job done, give it to a busy person", if the person has lots of other demands on their time with the best will in the world they may not be able to give wholeheartedly to the mastermind community. One thinks of new parents, or those with extensive business or social commitments.
- Shared values, beliefs and ethics
Diversity is at the heart of any success mastermind community. A broad range of values and beliefs will add challenge and stop group think developing.However, some core values will bind the group together.
I’ll end this blog post with a personal belief: if you’re still undecided whether someone you know would be within your Goldilocks range (based on the criteria above) then focus on this last one and whether they match the community’s core values.
For me, members need to give high priority to collaboration, honesty and respect the opinion of others. They are usually high-givers who are willing to share and ask for help as well as give their own opinion.
Have a tight Goldilocks range on these values and you will invite the right people.
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