Last weekend, I hosted a retreat for my Master Mind Group. The weekend was yet another example of the importance of support in creating success (like the personal board of directors of which I am such a fan), as well as in the magical synergy that occurs when a group of like-minded people get together and work towards a common goal. The concept has been successfully used by small business owners, as well as musicians, artists and writers. Just do a quick Google search for “Master Mind Group” plus your particular profession and you will easily find dozens of resources!
A Master Mind Group is a must for successful entrepreneurs. The idea came from Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich in which he advises budding entrepreneurs to form a group to coordinate their knowledge and efforts as they work together to create success. Successful groups meet regularly to set goals, discuss successes and challenges, brainstorm solutions and hold each other accountable for their actions.
In my case, our group was formed in 2008 after four of us met at an advanced leadership training offered by our coach-training institute. One of the action steps that the training recommended was to form a Master Mind Group so that we could deepen our mastery of these new leadership principles.
The four of us began meeting bi-weekly by phone since we were separated by geography: two in Chicago, one in New York and the fourth in Florida. We also formed a coaching circle whereby we each coached each other and rotated every four months so that over the course of the year, each person in our group experienced coaching with every member of the group. Through these discussions and coaching sessions, the four of us became very close despite our geographic separation.
This spring, we decided to meet in person. After all, it had been over 2 years since we had seen each other and we were eager to get together to share our learning, as well as enjoy some female bonding time! We set an agenda and each agreed to make a substantive presentation on an area that we were excited about teaching and sharing. We also left plenty of free time for brainstorming, physical exercise and just plain fun.
The results were much different from what I had imagined. While we had initially planned on starting off the day with a fitness walk in the park, on Saturday morning we all met up in the kitchen over coffee and tea and our brainstorming happened spontaneously. The heck with the agenda! We were on fire! So we started with the first presentation, which became a dynamic exercise whereby the presenter provided information and the rest of us chimed in with observations, comments and questions. Over the course of the day, we knew exactly when to take our breaks and when to stop in order to allow our brains to process all of the fantastic new learning. We managed to get through the entire agenda in one day. We went out to dinner and agreed not to talk business.
The true magic happened on Sunday morning. Again, we met in the kitchen over coffee and began discussing ways in which the four of us could collaborate on a systematic basis. All of a sudden, we started scribbling on our iPads and legal pads with the germ of an idea that grew and grew. Before we knew it, we had a new concept for a leadership coaching consortium that was bigger than anything we had imagined. We ended our meeting with an action plan and our next steps so that we could begin to translate our vision into reality.
The weekend reiterated two powerful lessons:
A successful group is greater than the sum of its individual members; and
Support is critical to success.
So if you are a budding entrepreneur in search of support and new ideas, find a few similarly situated people and start your own group. You will be amazed at the results.