I have been in business for 17 years, and I attribute much of my success thus far to the power of Masterminding. For the past 10 years, I have participated in several Mastermind groups that have helped me be able to set, be accountable to, and achieve specific business goals. Some great relationships have developed out of these groups as well.
But not all Mastermind groups are been created equal. I have learned something in every single one of them, and one of those things is to know what to look for in a good and reliable Mastermind partner. If I don’t see each of these traits in everyone in a Mastermind group I’m being invited to participate in, I decline the invitation.
It’s not that I’m better than anyone else. It’s just that I know what works for me. If I can see in advance that something won’t work for me, I skip it. I thought I’d share a few of the things I look for in solid, reliable Mastermind partners. This may help you choose wisely among your own Mastermind opportunities.
10 Traits of Worthwhile Mastermind Partners
- You have not set your intentions
Every effective Mastermind experience I have ever have starts with people agreeing on exactly what they are trying to achieve as a group. Everyone should answer the question why they are there in the first place, and while those answers don’t have to be identical, they should be closely aligned. Once everyone knows where everyone else stands, every person is empowered to be confident about whether or not any particular group is right for them.
- Your are either not accountable or you’re not holding others accountable
I was once a member of a monthly Mastermind group where one person never had anything new to report. No success. No failure. No new information. No new ideas. She had suggestions for everyone else, and they were often helpful suggestions. But she never had anything of her own to report. We agreed that while her input was great, her lack of sharing was making it difficult for the rest of us to feel like we were offering her value. When we insisted that she come to the group with challenges we could help with, as well as helpful input, she chose to leave the group. The dynamic after that was way more energetic, and we all felt like a our experiences and energies were being put to better use.
- You are not focusing on specific tasks
A Chinese proverb says: The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” This applies to your Mastermind approach as well. For example, it sounds good to set a goal of launching a podcast by such and such a date, but the better approach is to break it down into small bites. Research podcast platforms one week, decide on a podcast format the next week, research and buy a microphone and other equipment the next week, and so forth.
If you set too many goals in a given time frame, you’ll be like the person whose eyes were bigger than her stomach. You’ll just bite off so much that you cannot chew it all.
Focus on taking small and deliberate steps instead of trying to drink the ocean. This way, you’ll be able to start each Mastermind meeting on a positive note, sharing the things you have accomplished instead of trying to explain to everyone why you didn’t do what you said you were going to do.
- There is no parity in the group
If you are making six figures a year and everyone else is just started their business, you will find that you will be coaching everyone else. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not Masterminding.
Any long term Mastermind group effort benefits greatly from parity among the participants in terms of business income and number of years in business. This does not have to line up perfectly, but the more commonalities, the better.
- They are accountable
Good Mastermind partners agree to be held accountable to specific tasks, and they are prepared to keep everyone posted on their progress.
- They are transparent and vulnerable
Good Mastermind partners are not afraid to admit that they don’t know something, or they are lost, or they are frustrated, or that they have failed. Conversely, lousy Mastermind partners think they know everything.
- They view failure as an opportunity to succeed
- They respect the value of time
Good Mastermind partners know that time is their most valuable asset, so they respect theirs and yours. They are punctual and they don’t take up more time than they are allotted in any given meeting.
- They keep their promises to the group
Good Mastermind partners follow through to achieve specific goals. If they don’t follow through (because, yes, life happens), they explain why they chose not to follow through, and they quickly pick up where they left of and make progress.
Good Mastermind partners know that momentum is critical. If one person falls behind week after week, month after month, it affects the forward progress of everyone involved.
- They have a positive and entrepreneurial mindset
It’s not enough to have a positive mindset. There are lot of positive people who are not entrepreneurs. A positive mindset can only take you so far if you don’t also look at the world through the paradigm of an entrepreneur. A good Mastermind partner: (1) see opportunity everywhere; (2) knows that business is a marathon, not a sprint; and (3) does not take “no” for an answer.
What do you look for in good Mastermind partners?