This is a guest post by Dave Thackeray – a copywriter, podcaster & communicator specialising in technology and travel – fuels ordinary people with extraordinary ideas to be the best.
Stultifying. As a desk jockey at a series of big corporations I became increasingly numbed by the chaotic indifference of the budget sentinels to creativity. Big business, small minds, shackles of policy and chain gang mentality – all in pursuit of the shiny coin. Ironic, then, that any enterprise staffed by more than 20 ever rendered shareholder satisfaction.
But there was a reason why some businesses became titans, some withered and others touched the stars – and it had nothing, and everything, to do with the boss.
The creative catalyst stirring hearts and heads was hidden out of sight to many. It was the board of directors, a hydra-headed entity comprising experts from the world of enterprise.
While most companies of scale had these regular gatherings, what set the winners apart was the guy in charge and his humility in throwing status aside to listen and act on what his board had to say. Together, this band of innovators rocked the world of business with fresh ideas.
Remarkably these meetings are still derided in the most part as a waste of time, a hand forced by constitution while the obvious advantage of free-thinking is banished before it begins.
More incredible still, you can have your own dynamite board of directors. Right now. And it doesn’t need to cost you a cent/penny, but for your time well spent.
It was Benjamin Franklin who first coined the concept of a Mastermind Group. Centuries ago he figured that gathering a bunch of people from different backgrounds with a common goal – mutual success – would rock the party. The ‘junta’ was born, which later became through Napoleon Hill what we know today as the Mastermind Group.
So you blog, and you want to grow engagement and foster deeper relationships your community. You talk to other bloggers regularly.
Time to start your Mastermind Group…
- Choose six people from different blog backgrounds. Go for a real mixture; with diversity comes the most amazing range of thoughts. Think of the event as your very own focus group, no vol-au-vents required.
- Formalise a monthly meet-up. Don’t do what I did, and use DimDim – because only three people can speak at a time. Hotswapping people in is like being a telepathic DJ. Go the Skype conference route if yours is a globespanning get-together.
- Set some house rules – timing is critical. Some may deviate unnecessarily, change subject or start storytelling to excess. Use Egg Timer or a klaxon.
- Find a common theme to get the ball rolling. It could be scheduling posts, or the most effective way to get visitors to sign up to your newsletters. Ask everyone to share a success they’ve enjoyed in the past month, or a useful website or RSS feed they’ve discovered.
- Round the virtual table, with each member in turn talking about a challenge with their blog. Use your collective experience and insight as a group to tackle these challenges – and be amazed how much knowledge you have, and learn.
- Finish the session with another round-the-table where each member recounts the most important lesson they learned, and how they plan to implement it in their business or blog.
- Follow up with some notes so everyone has a record of what they’ve discovered, and their focus for the month ahead.
- Create a Google Wave (ask me if you need an invite) for continued conversation to maintain the magical momentum from the meeting. Collaborate on a Group calendar to organise the next meeting.
- Share the moderation duties. Once everyone has had a turn you’ll each have learned how the game works – and be compassionate in adhering to time limits.
You’ll quickly find out, despite the best efforts of The Office, that there really is an ‘I’ in team. In fact, there are three:
Insight. The experience of your fellow Masterminders to help you understand more about building relationships with your community, or proven ways to blog better. Insight is virtually infinite, but there’s no better forum for gaining the advantage than likeminded people all focused on mutual success. Fancy drowning in a flood of incredible insights and ideas? You need a Mastermind Group.
Ideas. Got some fragmented pieces of genius you need to patch together? A Mastermind Group is the glue you need to crystallise your efforts. What’s more you’ll have wisdom on-tap and a ready font of constructive feedback to help you gauge whether the idea will make you the darling or devil of your community.
Inspiration. The greatest source of creativity is outside our comfort zones. Outside our conventional realm. Mastermind Groups introduce us to new ways of thinking, and often philosophies and strategies that we’d never entertained. Enthusiasm and passion go a long way to driving a ballistic blog, but it’s this third I that really sets your relationship building finesse from the rest of the pack.
What are you waiting for?
Welcome to Team You, six brains rooting for your continued success…