A few years ago, I was coaching a founder with a new food product that could improve nutrition around the world. But there were IP issues, and he was stuck, out of ideas about how to move forward. So we brought together a Mastermind group, to help him and the other participants tap into their collective expertise and creativity to find new solutions to their business challenges. And I have to say that the outcomes changed the way I work, for good.
For decades, we’ve supported the narrative that the best kind of leader and problem-solver is the lone wolf, who comes up with brilliant ideas late at night in his garage. Yet, history shows that’s simply not true. Big thinkers from Disney to Edison have used collaborative groups like Masterminds to get them unstuck and fuel innovation for centuries. Why?
Because the only way to come up with new ideas is to have new experiences, which is what happens when you interact with people who are different than you. Plus, having an entire group of people tackle a problem not only produces more ideas faster than doing it alone, but it also enables the group to build on each other’s ideas, generating exponentially better solutions than any one person ever could.
Unfortunately, today’s reality is that it can be tough for leaders to find the right people to collaborate with. That’s where a Mastermind comes in.
At its core, the concept behind a Mastermind is simple: bring a group of people together to help each other solve problems and reach their goals. However, in practice, there’s more to it than that, as you need to design the group carefully to make sure you have the right mix of skills, personality and purpose. (It’s a bit like mixing up the perfect cocktail for the perfect occasion.) Masterminds also work best with a facilitator, to keep the group focused, productive and engaged.
Over the years, I’ve found that, when you get it right, the benefits are almost endless.
Access to diverse experience and expertise reveals new ideas you never would have encountered elsewhere.
Having multiple people focus on your problem increases the odds of finding a solution, faster.
Being part of something bigger creates a sense of belonging and safety that’s often missing for founders and solopreneurs.
Including guest experts cultivates new skills and knowledge.
New relationships open doors to unexplored networks and possibilities.
Working with others increases accountability and reward.
These kinds of benefits are exactly what we experienced when I facilitated the first Mastermind for my founder client. In less than two hours, the group had come up with an idea for his IP problem that was going to cost a fraction of what he thought he’d have to spend and would get him to a solution in less than a month’s time. Plus, other members discovered new opportunities that aligned with their own businesses. And everyone walked away with a greater sense of purpose and belonging than anyone expected – including me. Since then, I’ve made collaboration a cornerstone of my practice, using it to help leaders unleash their full potential, and change the narrative on issues that matter.
Leading change is the hardest job in the world. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Drop me a line if you’d like to find a Mastermind group that’s right for you.