Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Recently one of my members asked me to explain more about the mastermind groups we are launching this fall, and I was pleased to do so. When I finished, she encouraged me to spread the word and let people know what was involved and how it had worked for me, as she suspected, correctly I think, that people don't understand what they are all about.

So... here we are. I figured this was one way to promote the program. I first came across mastermind groups when I joined Verity - a women's club in Toronto. Basically the group is made up of seven other women business owners and we meet on a monthly basis to talk and share issues concerning our business. The key is that they are not in a similar business and that there be a trained facilitator who can keep the group on track and ensure everyone "shares the air."

At the first meeting, we shared our issues and based on that discussion, set an agenda for the months ahead. Each month there would be a topic, and each month we would check in and discuss our views. Sometimes the focus would be more on one member, but it always seemed to balance out, as later the focus would be on someone else. And sometimes, you preferred it that way as you were not in the hot seat!

At the beginning of each meeting we would check in, sharing the highs and lows of the previous month, we'd cover the topic of the month, and at the end, do a check out, stating what goals we wanted to work on in the month ahead. Knowing that you would have to check in the next month, made you accountable and more likely to work on those goals.

For example, one of my goals was to find sponsors and in order to do that, I had to work on a sponsorship kit, which I did. Lesson one - leave your ego at the door. I went in thinking it was pretty good and the job done. Wrong. One of the women in the group had a marketing background and she gave me some sound advice and I went back and made the changes. The outcome - I recruited two sponsors last year. Would that have happened anyway? Maybe, but most likely I would not have got around to doing it. However, having declared the goal to the group, I was more compelled to get it done. I found the objective feedback truly helpful and it made me to look at my information package from a different perspective.

Based on my experiences in a mastermind group, I felt sure Company of Women members would also benefit and several of our business coaches have generously come forward to lead the groups. If you are serious about taking your business to the next level, consider signing up for one of these groups. It's two hours a month, $40/month (that's just $10/week) and you'll gain so much more from the experience. Think about it.

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