Episode 268 - Featuring Lee Matthew Jackson
May 27, 2020
Without being a part of a mastermind I would not be where I am today, nor would I have the clarity focus and drive to push onto where I am headed. There is immense power in a small group of people, meeting regularly and holding each other accountable that can transform a business.
In this episode I’m going to share how you can start your own peer mastermind group and how to structure it.
We will cover:
00:08: Welcome to The Agency Trailblazer podcast. This is your host, Lee, and on today’s show, we’re talking about creating a peer mastermind group. Now, I do not believe I would be where I am today if it were not for the clarity, the focus, and the drive that I’ve received from meeting with a group of like-minded people on a regular basis. And I absolutely believe that there is immense power in getting a small group of people together and working through the issues that you might have as well as the plans that you may have for the future. So in this episode, I’m gonna share with you how you can start your own mastermind group and how you can structure it. Now, we’re gonna cover what a mastermind is. We’ll then talk about how it can help you, just to convince you, I guess, that this is something that you should explore. Then, we’re gonna look at choosing who you should be connecting with. We’ll then unpack the structure of a mastermind meeting, something that you’ll go over on a regular basis. I’ll then come into land with some guiding principles and finally, we will sum up with accountability. So if you are ready to learn all about a peer mastermind group, can I encourage you grab a notebook, grab a pen, sit back, relax, and let’s get to it.
01:33: So number one, what is a mastermind? In short, a mastermind is a group of people who will meet regularly and be accountable to one another. Now, in a regular mastermind meeting, each individual would bring a burning question to the room, and then everybody would tap into the group’s brainpower to help come up with potential answers to the question, may it be a problem, may it be a strategy that they want to apply. A great example would be only last week when I approached my mastermind group to ask, “How should I launch my book?” I had a particular plan, but I wasn’t really clear on if the plan was even a good plan or if there were things that I had not considered. And I kid you not, the mastermind group came forward. They gave me links to resources that I had never heard of, and it was a phenomenal time. And by the end of my short few minutes with everybody else, I already had the framework for a much better launch plan than I’d managed to think of on my own. And that kind of leads into how can a mastermind help you? It’s pretty obvious that we, as individuals, do not have all the answers nor can we possibly consume all of the information that is out there nor can we possibly make all the mistakes that there are to make. So having a group of people that you can connect with together is absolutely essential.
03:10: My mastermind group is actually a mixture of completely different industries. For example, we have an Arbonne consultant in our group, we have a real estate agent in our group, we have a financial director in our group. We’ve got a really broad mix of industries, and each of us don’t really know that much about what the other person’s industry entails. Now, that might sound really random as well, but it’s actually really refreshing. For myself, when I brought my question just the other day to say, “Hey, this is my launch plan for the book. Do you think this is a good idea?” People in completely different industries had had exposure to completely different sources of information, completely different influences, completely different podcasts, completely different resources, completely different strategies, and they were able to bring those to the table and completely blow my mind, and within minutes we were able to put those bullet points together. So a mastermind group enables you to take what you have and then get the power, the brainpower of the rest of your mastermind team. In a nutshell, your mastermind is gonna help you answer some of those difficult questions. It’s gonna help you be accountable, and it’s gonna help you to take action.
04:33: Part of the power of a mastermind group is in who you connect with. So who should you look to add into your peer mastermind? Now, I’m a big believer in getting a real broad representation, and I’m part of two mastermind groups. One is industry-specific so that I can get industry-specific input from my peers within that area. And the other, like I said, is from a broad range of industries giving me access to information and ideas that I would normally never be exposed to. The first mastermind I recommend you look to set up would be that broad industry mix. It’s tempting for us to all get together as designers and developers and have a peer group. However, we don’t have that broader exposure. And for me, I’m able to go to the wide industry mix mastermind and posit my questions and come up with ideas. Then, I can take them to sanity check in the peer mastermind I have that is within my industry.
05:49: The easiest way I found to build up the mastermind team was to lean on a close friend first. So someone that I really resonate and get on well with and asked them to bring at least one more person to the party. They would also encourage the person they brought to also bring another person to the party. So what this ensures is that I’m, first of all, attracting somebody who is like-minded to me, in my contact sphere, and then that person is doing the same and then the same and the same again. And we found that eight was the magic number, having up to eight people and capping it there was a perfect group. This also meant I wasn’t trying to just find people I like on my Facebook group and lumping them all together. This actually meant that I was ideally being connected with a whole group of strangers that I could get to know, like, and trust over the next few weeks, months, and years. I’d recommend this method of connecting with other people regardless of the type of mastermind you’re looking to create, whether that’s within your industry or outside of your industry because we cannot possibly know everyone and just meeting all of these new people is already a marvellous experience. Now that we’ve set up our mastermind, let’s look at how we should structure it.
07:19: Before we look at the structure, I always encourage each mastermind to have a moderator. That will be somebody throughout that particular meeting who will be keeping their eye on the time and ensuring that everybody sticks to the rules that I’ll be sharing with you shortly. The structure is very simple. Each person will have the opportunity to bring a question to the mastermind of which everybody will then discuss and agree actions on. For example, I’ll start and share my question. We’ll all have that discussion, I’ll write down my action points, and then, we’ll move on to the next person in the room. If you take a look at the show notes, you will see the sections that I’ll now describe. The first one is question. So we’ll spend approximately two or three minutes sharing our question to the rest of the mastermind. And it might be, “How do I generate more leads?” Or it could be, “What do you think my niche should be?” The question could be anything. What will then happen is the rest of the room will ask some clarifying questions. And this is a really important part of the discussion because this will help your colleagues unpack and understand why you are asking the question, and what the background of it is. And sometimes you’ll even find that you’re probably asking the wrong question. And this is the opportunity for the rest of the room to put to you a potential alternative question that you can then agree will be discussed.
09:01: By now, we should be approximately 10 minutes into your session. This now allows around 15 minutes for the group to discuss the question that you have asked and to put forward to each other solutions and ideas that you could try. And the really important thing for you at this point is to say nothing unless the conversation drifts into somewhere where people may have clearly misunderstood and you need to correct them. Otherwise, you stay as silent as you possibly can allowing people the freedom to openly discuss your question, your business, etcetera, and to share ideas.
09:46: The very last part of the process then is action. This is your action list. And you will then spend about five minutes pulling out from all of the ideas, which ones resonated with you the most and everybody can agree with you what your next actions are going to be, of which obviously you can then be accountable for for your next mastermind, which may be in, say, one or two months time, depending on the regularity that you guys decide to meet up. Okay, let’s look therefore at the rules or the guiding principles of your mastermind and that’s both what to do during your meetings, but also how to treat your mastermind in general.
10:32: Let’s first look at the mastermind meeting itself. And we’ve established that you must have a group moderator. They will be responsible for ensuring that your initial question lasts for up to five minutes, your clarifying question time is again five minutes, the group discussion doesn’t burst over 15 minutes, and then the final action element is within five minutes. What the moderator will also be responsible for is to ensure that clarifying questions are actually clarifying questions and not statements or ideas, etcetera. It can only be questions. Now, I’ve shared with you some times. Those times are not set in stone. You as a mastermind can adjust those. Perhaps, you want to have 30 minutes of the group idea discussion, etcetera. But we’ve established that your moderator is the person who will ensure everybody keeps on time, on track, and keeps to within the rules.
11:26: The guiding principles for each section are as follows. First, the question. If you don’t know what the question is, that is also a perfectly viable question, which is to help you to understand what you should be asking and you can give some background. Essentially, for that period of time, this is your time to share the problems you’re experiencing, what’s going on and to potentially bring a question to the room. And it doesn’t have to be a huge strategic question. It could simply be something simple like, “How could I generate 1,000 extra pounds this month to cover some extra costs?” It could be anything, but this is essentially something you wanna bring to the room or if you’re even struggling with that, maybe you’re actually struggling with the identity and messaging of your business, therefore, you need to actually come to the group and say, “I don’t really feel I have an identity. I’m not even sure what to ask at this point,” then, perhaps during the clarifying questions and during their discussions, they’ll be able to help you with that. So there are no hard and fast rules for your question. I would just say, “Don’t waste it.”
12:38: During the clarifying questions, we need to ensure that the group do not start to discuss and come up with ideas and solutions. This is the time for people to ask questions only and the group moderator should be very diligent at this point. If somebody starts to try and share advice, and to start to share ideas, they should be shut down politely instantly because those clarifying questions are actually to help the entire group dig a little bit deeper and maybe understand what it is that you’re bringing to the table so that they have enough to go on for the discussion.
13:17: Now, during the discussion, like I said, you’ve gotta keep really quiet and listen to what everybody is saying and they will talk to you almost as if you are not there, and that’s cool because you get to watch in and listen into what a group of entrepreneurs would do in your circumstances and they will brainstorm and come up with ideas. And the only time I believe you are allowed to interrupt them is if they have clearly misunderstood the question and are perhaps talking about things that are irrelevant. And you can then jump in and just correct that, and maybe do a couple of more clarifying questions. I have had to do this once during a meeting where people went off track. They misunderstood my question, and the industry that I was serving a little bit, so I did have to jump in and just correct. But then I stepped back out as it were and allowed them to carry on.
14:11: Now, for the last section, which is the action list, this is really important because you also need to be accountable to it. And during this final discussion, this is now your platform to speak back to everyone and thank them for the group discussion and thank them for the ideas and to perhaps re-brief some of those ideas back to the room and state what your intentional actions are going to be. And it should be at least two to three actions that you will be taking, or perhaps it would be one specific strategy that you are going to follow. Again, the group moderator is going to ensure and hold you accountable to listing some actions.
14:51: I’d also recommend that you have some form of Facebook group or WhatsApp group where you can continue to follow up with each other and to ensure that you are taking those actions and this is where accountability comes in. We can all leave a mastermind meeting with great intentions, but if we don’t put them into action, then it was kind of a waste of time and having a Facebook group or having regular calls with your mastermind that are not part of the actual deep dive, but are a good time to update people on your progress is absolutely essential. Everybody in your mastermind is both invested in themselves in their own business, but also invested in each other and the accountability will help you keep pushing forward. You will feel a duty to your group to show progress, to take the actions that you agree to take based on the awesome input from everybody else.
15:55: And speaking from personal experience, there is nothing more motivating than knowing I have to show up to a group of peers and tell them why I didn’t do what I said I was gonna do. I don’t ever want to be in that situation. So for myself, it is such a motivator, and it’s also showing that I am respecting the process and I’m respecting everybody else in the group. And that encourages everybody else to pull their weight.
16:26: All right, folks. That’s it. That is how to create a mastermind, how to pick the people that you mastermind with, how to structure the mastermind, a few guiding principles and the importance of accountability. And this is something that you could start today and the very first step for you to start today is to reach out to that one like-minded individual, share with them this podcast, share with them the ideas that you might have for the mastermind group and ask them if they can also invite one other person to the mix and do that as a chain and build up eight people and get started with your first meeting.
17:07: If you have any questions, please, please feel free to connect with me in the Facebook group. That’s over on agencytrailblazer.com/group and when you have your question, please tag me in it. It’s Lee Matthew Jackson and you can tag the page and the whole team will see that, or you can just tag me directly in your question inside of the Facebook group. It’ll be great to have a conversation with you. Before we wrap up, I’d like to thank Cloudways, who sponsor this podcast. They believe in educating the community, and they invest with us to ensure that we can continue to bring you great guests and great content on a weekly basis. Thank you so much, Cloudways. If you want to check them out, head on over to agencytrailblazer.com/cloudways to see how they could help your agency enter the world of the cloud. I made that sound really cool. Didn’t I? I’m sure you wanna go ahead and do that now. Don’t forget that offer. Head on over to the Facebook group, if you are not a part of it, agencytrailblazer.com/group. And if we don’t see you in the group, then how about we see you in next week’s episode?