In fall 2016, I decided to start my own company as an organizational development consultant. Great! I love new ventures, change, challenge.
Have I ever been an external consultant? No.
Have I ever tried to sell myself on social media? No.
Have I ever kept the books for a company before? No.
Collected and remitted GST? No.
Built a website and have a good command of SEO? No.
Used a CRM? No.
Written a consulting proposal and closed a big deal? No.
Does it feel daunting? You bet.
And that’s where my mastermind group comes in. No experience with this type of group? Let me share briefly what it is.
In 1925, a man named Napoleon Hill coined the term Mastermind Group in a book he wrote called The Law of Success and developed it further in Think and Grow Rich. It is a peer-to-peer mentoring concept used to help members solve their problems with input and advice from the other group members. A group decides to come together on a topic, and share and learn. Very simple concept.
My group is called the ELT, or the Entrepreneurial Leadership Team. It’s a somewhat fluid group of nearly all women that have started their own business in the last year and facilitated by an experienced entrepreneur named Donna Hammill-Chalk. And while we’re all experts at what we do, we’re not yet experts as this little thing called business development not to mention the nitty gritty of business administration.
But let’s get to the heart of the matter: the benefits.
I can’t say this enough: support, support, support. You know when you are writing your development plan for the year and work and you write down your goal and then there’s that little box that says ‘support’ and sometimes you wonder what to put there? THIS is it, the key to achieving the goal. It means you have someone to suggest ideas and improvements, pump you up when you are down, listen when you need to talk. You cannot fail because you have this amazing group providing support.
2. Mutual Learning
You might think you would do better to take a course from an expert and certainly you can do that too. But who better to learn from than someone who just went through all the same research as you six weeks prior and still has it all fresh in their mind? And we’re all actively continuing to pursue the same type of topics, so you can bet there’s fresh material again the next time you meet.
3. Virtual Board of Directors
These ladies all have extensive corporate experience prior to branching out on their own. They have advanced degrees, professional points of view, experience with success and failure of various initiatives. And they ask questions. They challenge. Which is exactly what a Board does with its management. Leverage it for whatever you’re developing!
4. Expansion of Your Network
Attending my mastermind group sessions gets me out twice per month talking to other people. Membership is somewhat fluid, so someone new joins at least once a month. And everyone is eager to help. As our businesses grow, we have immediate partners that we trust and can bring into the fold. And they all have hundreds of contacts that they are willing to share if you ask. It’s a great opportunity to cross-promote each other’s businesses.
How good does it feel when you meet someone who is experiencing the same sorts of things as you? Amazing. Our brains love it. No matter what your mastermind topic, you’ll bring like-minded people together and create community, meeting in the middle of a Venn diagram.
So, next you’re probably wondering how to set one up. Things that are simple are easier to start and keep going, so don’t make it too big a project for yourself. Decide on the focus of the group, like investing, blockchain or professional development in your field. Ask one other person if they want to join you. Ask them to invite one more person. And then get together somewhere local for a beverage or a meal. Kind of like managing a book club, only now you’re talking about ideas, concepts – and maybe books too. Invite a guest speaker from time to time. Then let it grow organically. And savour the learning.
Sherry Pedersen-Ajmani is an Organizational Development consultant in Toronto and Principal at Talentcraft. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @SP_talentcraft.