How to Maximize Your Involvement in a Mastermind or Peer Group Setting
You’ve made - or are considering - the decision to get involved in a mastermind, or peer group. This is a great decision by you (I am obviously biased, but it is).
There are many different types of mastermind or peer groups and the rewards are plentiful regardless of type.
The trusted connections and relationships you build, the best practices and insights you gain, and the help you receive from others on your toughest challenges can be priceless and are always timely. But experiencing these outcomes are not automatic. Like going to the gym, you have to commit to the experience, show up, and work at it.
What follows are a handful of lessons learned along the way to help you maximize your involvement in any mastermind or peer group environment.
Make the meeting sacred on your calendar.
In the beginning, this may be hard. Many business owners and leaders are trained to respond to the perceived urgent. In fact, many set up their business to feed into this belief. It is often the first and hardest habit to break when trying to build a business that is valuable and transferable.
Involvement in a mastermind or peer group should serve as a clarity break from the day to day for you. Think of it as a true test if you are working IN the business or ON it. If the job or business can’t exist without your constant presence, you don’t have a business. You have a job. And it’s the worst kind. One you are tied to at all times.
What makes a mastermind or peer group go is the consistent attendance of the group’s members. The more members who are present, the greater the depth and variety of experiences to add to the discussions being had. Each group member is counting on the others to be there. They need your insights and experiences. To show up occasionally or bow at the last minute is in a word - selfish.
Furthermore, you’ll miss the opportunity to learn and develop deeper relationships with the other group members and leader.
Prepare for the meeting
We've all blown into a meeting having not thought about it until the moments preceding your arrival. And how does that usually go? Right. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Instead, to get the most out of each meeting, set aside 15 minutes to prepare. How?
For starters, review and reflect on your notes from the last meeting. What was discussed? What did you share? If you led a discussion, what did you take action on? What were the results? Did you run into additional or new issues? What has happened in the business or personally since the last meeting?
Challenge yourself to identify at least one discussion topic to challenge the group with each meeting. If your organization is one that operates on the EOS platform, take a look at the issues list you have created. What issues would be best suited to have many perspectives and ideas as part of the solution (who else around the table has dealt with “x”)? The Issues List is a great place to start.
It’s nearly impossible to lack issues or challenges in any business for a 30-day period of time. A few minutes of reflection will lead to lots of thoughts. Not only will this directly benefit you, but it’ll also benefit the other members and spark discussion and ideas.
Be open, specific, and deep
When giving updates or context about a specific situation, or current state, use specifics. Instead of, “revenues are solid”, give a number and share why that number is solid. If something is off, share why it is troubling and the impact it is having.
Letting your peers in on the specifics allows them to better understand, dig in harder to help, and also helps you acknowledge you need some help. Specifics also demonstrates your competence and control and further builds the bond between you and your group members.
Connect with the other group members outside the meeting
Challenge yourself to periodically connect with and get to know the other members from your group outside the meeting. When I was a member, I tried to meet with someone outside our meeting at least once every 60-90 days.
The value of a network is never known until you really need it and these one-to-one interactions are great opportunities to develop deeper relationships, build trust, learn, and provide each other value.
With deeper relationships in tow, when you bring a discussion to the mastermind or peer group table, you can be sure that the others in the group will be ALL IN for you.
Leverage your mastermind or peer group leader
The mastermind or peer group leader is there to enrich your member experience, challenge you, and help you get to and ask the right questions for your benefit. Often the group leader is rich in experiences, know-how, and very well connected. Get to know where their expertise lies and how and where they can help you individually.
They can see things clearly, help you do the same, and help you identify great discussion topics to share in front of the group.
The better they get to know you personally, the better they can also help you get connected to others in the group. If the peer or mastermind network you are a part of has multiple groups,
lean on the group leader for how to best meet and leverage other members from other mastermind or peer groups.
Take good notes
If it isn’t obvious, you will likely take a lot of notes during your mastermind or peer group meetings. Buy yourself, and use, a specific notebook for this purpose. This will help you keep every gained thought and idea in one place and make it easy to reference when you need it.
Share your takeaways with your leadership team
When you return to the office, involve other key leaders in what you learned. Share the ideas. Discuss how to implement or work through decision options together.
This is an especially great way if you are part of a partnership and only one of you is involved in the mastermind or peer group to involve them in what you are being exposed to.
Put ideas into action.
Every mastermind or peer group session should end with the sharing of each member's takeaways from the day’s discussion and any to-do’s coming out of the meeting.
Thirty days later the mastermind or peer group leader should prompt members to share how they moved things forward from the previous month and if any new challenges or discussions on the topic are necessary.
This soft accountability is a great side benefit of involvement in a mastermind or peer group and keeps all the members moving forward. Remember, ideas without action are just that. Ideas.