Recently, my daughter Mollie, took me to a pub in Oxford to show me where the Inklings hung out for over 20 years, mainly in the 30’s and 40’s. She referred to the pub as the Bird & Babe, but the sign said The Eagle & Child. (Not sure why – must ask). She explained that Belfastman Clive Staples Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien along with other writers came here to meet regularly and Brainstorm about their work and other topics, to help each other grow and face challenges.
The pub has not changed much and maybe the ‘Brainstorming’ model is still the same sort of Mastermind Group, that helps us evolve in our own business, to overcome the obstacles and face the challenges. The fare in the pub is still very simple, good burgers and equally good visiting beer. We had a great chat and I look forward to doing it again. It reminded me that in 1928, across the Atlantic, Napoleon Hill defined the mastermind group as a great way for its members to achieve success:
“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony. No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind” or Mastermind.
Rules of Engagement:
Members need each other to make it work, to get feedback and use each other as a sounding board, working together as a team, to accelerate growth and hone ideas or even get new ideas, better ways or useful insights.Your fellow members know people and things that you do not yet know, so you get to share a multiple of skillsets, experiences, networks and abilities. The very act of joining a Mastermind Group will make you think bigger and plan better than you might do on your own. Oh and yes, it might add pressure and make you feel uncomfortable – excellent, as soon as you feel uncomfortable you know you are in the right place – get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Accountability – The ensuing Accountability will make you focus on what is important, what has to be done next, what one thing will move your business to the next level. Pascal Curran reminds me every Monday morning of all the things I did ‘not’ record when I was recording my weekly activities. It is very hard to sit in front of a peer and proffer excuses. It is much easier to do, than to deliberate, when faced with a weekly “Why not” from someone I know, like and trust, someone to whom I have promised to commit, to do as agreed and to grow. Our task sheet is very simple to read, to fill in and record – it is just some of the activities I deliberate about a bit. Swallowing that ‘Frog’ every morning, can get delayed by simple procrastination. Any Monday we do not meet, I do not grow, so I miss these days for many reasons. Thanks Pascal.
Health Warning: Inspiration and positivity will flow from being a member of a good Mastermind Group. But, if, you get a group that does not work, bow out politely, then do try another one, maybe create your own. You will achieve much more as part of a team than on your own.
Members – 4 to 8 people who are all driven to succeed and want to be part of this group for the benefit of all its members.
Evaluate any applying new members and get consensus on them joining, maybe have a probationary 6 months. Agree to drop any underperformers or people who do not fully participate or show the same level of drive and committment.
Meeting – Meet regularly, once a week or month for peer to peer mentoring, advice and direction – in person or on Skype or a mix of both. Start off by using an invocation or making an agreed statement about why you are meeting. Every member should have an aim or target, to get something from each and every single meeting. Then share your “Wins” from last week/month. Let every member have a set time, 10 or 15 minutes to discuss their business, ideas, problems, challenges etc and then get feedback from the other members – take notes ! Accept criticism as helpful, accept that all advice is meant to help. Ask for help or connections, referrals or leads. Look for something positive to say when a Member shares and look for your own positives too – if you did good, celebrate here. Be aware and grateful for your successes, large or small – acknowledge them.
Knowledge – It is unlikely that you will ever learn everything you need to run a very successful business, but with the input of your fellow members you might just make a good business great.
Facilitator – Appoint one member as the facilitator who runs the meetings and rotate that position amongst the members every 6 months. When you have this job, you have to manage the meetings, do the time keeping, make the judgement calls and keep the energy up. Pádraic Ó Máille, “The Smacht Guy” is the best I have seen and he has inspired many such groups.
Tools – Use Skype or Google Hangouts or Facebook Private Groups if you like and maybe use Google Docs to keep records, notes, useful info etc. Use whatsApp for short
Warning – This is not a class, a school, a coaching or a networking group, so be prepared to work at this, if you want it to work for you. A good Mastermind Group will
continually make you feel challenged.
Takeaways – Lastly, how do you set up a Mastermind Group ? Join a local Networking Group or industry grouping, to find some like minded people and start from there. Members do not have to be local, so by all means search the net for likely candidates. Give me a call if I can help in any way – 086 2510117
Tip – “The more things change the less things change” and this Inklings method does work equally well in 2015, so challenge yourself to set up a Mastermind Group and drive your project or business, with a little help from your friends.