One of my favourite sayings is “you’re the sum of the five people you spend the most time with”, so if the people around you are negative complainers who always find a reason why something can’t be done, they will stifle your success. They will eventually bring you down to their level and you’ll never reach your full potential. This is why you need a Mastermind or Accountability group.
You may not be able to offload negative friends or family, but the best way to be consistently surrounded by positive, motivated achievers is to team up with them by joining a Mastermind and/or Accountability group.
Both are designed to help members become more successful by setting and reaching goals, but there are some differences between them.
A Mastermind group is a facilitated peer support group where members pool their knowledge and resources to help each other achieve similar goals.
They’re ideal for exceedingly self-motivated people who have reached a high professional level.
I pay a vast amount of money to be a member of a Mastermind group and I can tell you they make a huge difference to your business if you’re looking for next-level stuff.
The guy who runs the group I attend has a seven-figure business and some of the people in his Mastermind group make six figures each month! So even really high achievers find them useful.
Benefits of a Mastermind group
- You extend your professional network of contacts
- You get peer-to-peer advice and support from people at a similar level
- You benefit from a wide range of skill sets, industries and insider knowledge
- You get honest, impartial feedback from people you do not have a personal friendship with
- You share resources and collaborate on projects
- You set goals, remain focused and stay on track
- You’re held accountable
- You up your game and reach a new level by stretching your thinking
- You have successful peers to brainstorm with and receive creative new ideas from
- You feel confident that your decisions are professionally sound
Sometimes called ‘Goals groups’, Accountability groups are similar to Masterminds but focus more on habits, consistency and staying focused on your end goal.
As well as being a member of a Mastermind Group, I also meet with two other business women at the end of each month to discuss our current challenges and goals.
We take it in turns to meet at each other’s houses, the host provides the food (usually pizza or tapas) and each member brings their own drink. I’m actually a very focused and motivated person, but being able to chat to these guys face to face really does bring an extra dimension to my business.
We share a Google spreadsheet that we complete each week. The first tab is for our annual goals which we review regularly. The other tabs have that month’s goals listed at the top, then the weekly tasks we need to complete in order to achieve each goal go underneath. We also have a column where we write whether that task was completed or not so we can track our progress.
The reason I’m a member of both types of group is because I’m at the top of one and nearer the bottom of the other. So in the Accountability group I mainly pass on advice to the other two, but in the Mastermind group, the other members have reached a much higher level of success and income than me and are in a better position to help me grow.
The members come up with ideas I had never thought of simply because there are more of them, they’ve been in business a while and they’re all successful in their respective industries.
Tips for Accountability groups
Small Accountability groups are fantastic and I think you should consider setting up one yourself.
However, they only work if there are rules and structure.
Three members is perfect – once you’ve caught up socially, eaten, talked about your business, created actions steps and then set the date for the next meeting, sometimes over three hours has passed. I’ve also found that the longer the meeting goes on, the less value the last person to talk receives simply because everyone is tired.
Have a set amount of time to talk – we all get to talk about our business challenges and goals for half an hour (we use a timer) and the other members ask questions as we go along. You could wait and ask questions at the end of their session, but this way works for us.
Honesty is key – you need to be comfortable questioning the other members. What are their objectives? Why are they doing things that way instead of this way? Why aren’t they achieving their goals each week? This sounds great in principle, but it’s not always easy to tell a friend something they may not want to hear.
It needs to be clear that your questioning and comments come from a place of honesty and love, but the aim is to hold each other accountable – cos that’s the purpose of the group!
Same-sex groups work better – because you often need to ask personal questions and receive very personal answers (someone might not be getting their tasks completed because of family matter for instance), same sex groups seem to facilitate that better.
Keep it business only – Mastermind and Accountability groups are not therapy sessions and they can descend into a general get-together if you’re not careful.
End with an actionable set of tasks – after dissecting what they achieved the previous month, each member needs to know what their goals are for the upcoming month and what they need to have achieved by the next meeting.
Commit – members need to take the group very seriously and commit to attending either in person or via Skype if they can’t make the date. You simply have to make time or the group will collapse.
Also, investing time and/or money in your business shows a solid, unmistakable level of commitment and you’re much more likely to achieve your goals.