From time to time as Smallbizlady, I conduct interviews with small business experts that could benefit my audience. This is excepts from my #smallbizchat interview with Karen Greenstreet, a top expert in forming and running mastermind groups.
An Interview with Karyn Greenstreet, the President of Passion For Business and The Success Alliance. Karyn is also the owner of The Success Alliance – mastermind groups for the self-employed and, The Self Employment Blog, an ongoing resource for the self employed small business owner. An internationally-known speaker and author, Karyn is a self-employment expert who has taught business and personal development topics to over 250,000 people worldwide. She is extraordinarily passionate about helping self-employed people to create the life and business they want.
Q: What is a mastermind group?
Greenstreet: A mastermind group consists of 4-8 people, usually your peers and colleagues. The purpose of a mastermind group is to brainstorm, problem-solve and to find creative solutions. A major benefit of mastermind groups is the emotional support, keeping your attitude positive. Some mastermind groups have an educational component where you learn new ideas and techniques. Mastermind groups can also help you make decisions, and discover where you may be sabotaging your success.
Q: Why should biz owners belong to (or start) a mastermind group?
Greenstreet: I would not be as successful as I am today without the help and support of my mastermind group. It’s like having a sounding board, a research assistant, and a positive attitude charger, combined. Some people feel that business ownership is lonely, even if you have a staff to help you. You can’t always share everything you are thinking and feeling with your staff, family and friends. A mastermind group is a safe place to bring your challenges, concerns, decisions, ideas, and also to get honest feedback.
Q: What are the steps to putting together a mastermind group?
Greenstreet: First you have to decide what type of group you would like to have. Do you want a have members from a certain industry (like Real Estate Agents)?
Q: Do people pay to belong to a mastermind group, or is it free?
Greenstreet: Some mastermind groups are free. For the paid ones, fees range from $100 a year to $14,000 a year. It depends on who is the mastermind Group Facilitator, and what you’re getting from the group. Many groups fail because there is no real leader; having a strong Group Facilitator will help your group.
Q: What is the structure of a mastermind meeting?
Greenstreet: There is no “official” structure to mastermind meetings. In the 15 years that I’ve been running groups, I’ve tinkered with a lot of structures. The one that works best for me is to start by sharing Success Stories. Then each person gets a certain amount of time to bring forth a problem or decision they’d like to work on. We end each meeting with goal setting and action items. Some groups like to include guest speakers, or other activities, depending on timing and what the group wants.
Q: How do you figure out who should be in your mastermind group?
Greenstreet: This is crucial to the success of a mastermind group. You don’t want negative people in your group. You want people who are serious about success (as they define it) and are very committed to participating fully. You want to make sure the people in your group have a similar level of experience so that the group gels. It helps to put together an interview questionnaire, so that you can find out more about people in advance.
Q: Where and how often do people hold mastermind group meetings?
Greenstreet: Some groups meet weekly, some groups meet quarterly. Others meet via teleconference, some meet in local libraries, some meet at retreat centers or hotels.
Q: If you want to join an existing mastermind group, where can you find one?
Greenstreet: The easiest way is to Google “mastermind group” or “find a mastermind group” Sometimes people post mastermind groups on www.meetup.com Also check with your professional association to see if they sponsor mastermind groups.
Q: How to you handle a mastermind member who is standing out in a negative way?
Greenstreet: While misbehavior is rare, it does happen. I suggest coming up with Group Guidelines that lay out the rules. It’s the job of the Group Facilitator to handle disruptive or non-committed members. I would start by taking them aside privately and talk about what you are observing in their behavior. Be prepared, however, that you may have to “fire” them from the mastermind group.
Q: How long should it take for a mastermind group to gel?
Greenstreet: It depends on how often they meet. Groups typically start to gel after the 2nd or 3rd meeting.