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Minding Your Mastermind

Businesswoman Writing on White Board and Businessman at TableGuest post by licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitator Cass Mullane

I have really thrived with my mastermind groups. One I’ve been a member of since receiving my MBA in 1990. The second I joined when I moved back home to Colorado in 2004 and the third formed in 2012 and is comprised of artists who are also businesswomen. The three groups have very different purposes, very different vibes and function very differently.

The first is a wonderful group of high level professionals working in generally high pressure, high responsibility positions located both inside and outside the U.S. This group has had basically the same seven core members for nearly 25 years. It is comprised of men and women, mostly in their 50s with the men having the majority. We’ve seen marriages, divorces, births, deaths, job changes and lots of interesting business challenges. Each month we meet online with a very specific agenda that consists of a quick check in for accountability, then one of us is in the hot seat for the month, then we close with each of us identifying specific activities we’ll be accountable for during the coming month and identifying who will be in the hot seat next month.

The second group was started locally to support women in business here in Colorado Springs. The members were in different industries and were randomly placed in the group. Initially there was a specific topic we’d each work on during the month, like follow up, time management or social media. It was a very different style of mastermind, much more informal, and our goal was to hold each other accountable for completing the monthly task. This group restructured within about six months and individuals started setting their own tasks, again with accountability being the focus. A core group of four still remains, and, coincidentally, we are all artists. We do not meet as regularly anymore, but we continue to share a tight bond.

The third mastermind group was formed very intentionally and is specifically comprised of artists who are also businesswomen. We each have our own businesses, some specifically art related, others not in the arts industry, like my entrepreneur coaching practice for right brainers. We all bring specific skill sets to the group, like retail experience, teaching, strategic planning, organization, systems design, budgeting, business management and technical expertise. Our purpose is to grow our businesses and to help each other grow their businesses.
Here are some of the benefits of being part of a well-functioning mastermind group:

• You are constantly challenged
• You are in the presence of some wonderfully creative thinkers who have perspectives that you may not
• You are pushed to do what you say you are going to do
• Everyone gives equally and receives equally
• Feedback is immediate
• Collaboration is the norm
• Support is fantastic

Of course it is critical to select a mastermind with a good mix of personalities and skill sets and one in which you’ll feel comfortable participating and receiving feedback. You must meet regularly with a consistent format and the group should be relatively small. Stay away from a group with egos and agendas as they are most likely not going to support you and your needs. Also make sure you get in a group with members who are different from you as you’ll benefit from their unique perspectives and experiences.

Be sure the group members are dedicated to making the mastermind a success. I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by people who are self-motivated and who have taken responsibility for participating in each other’s growth and success. You will find that some mastermind groups charge a fee to participate. This is intended to have you put some skin in the game and you’re more likely to show up and contribute to the group. It also is a way to ensure some exclusivity with certain groups with a narrower focus, like CEOs and industry leaders. Be sure to ask for a few trial visits before you commit to a group to make sure it’s a fit.

So go out and find a good mastermind group to push you, challenge you and to celebrate with you. It’s really worth it!

Cass Mullane’s calm, comfortable approach consistently yields positive results for clients. Her business and personal coaching practice, www.ProsperCreatively.com, specializes in delivering solid left brain business skills to right brainers and creatives in a fun, visual way. She’s the author of Cool Stuff Jar which is slated for publication in Spring 2014. You can also visit Cass on Facebook. Cass is one of our licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitators.

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The Right-Brain Business Plan®