Every CEO and business owner experiences moments of great isolation. They feel that no one grasps the enormity of their job or understands the scope of their decision-making process.
Some business leaders get stuck on this point, while others—sensing the life-and-death stakes are too high to ignore—choose to explore assistance through mastermind groups or business advisory boards.
Mastermind groups, also sometimes called peer advisory groups or advisory boards, are comprised of a small group of business owners, usually no more than a dozen, often from non-competing industries. The overriding goal of a mastermind group is simple—multiple business owners meeting regularly with the chief purpose of helping each other succeed.
Although every group is unique, most generally involve monthly meetings either in-person or online where members take turns discussing their challenges and receiving advice and accountability. Group members encourage each other to set bold goals and support them in accomplishing these goals.
Here are the most common challenges that move business leaders to join a mastermind group or advisory board:
- No place to go for advice. Frequently, the guidance and counselling offered by your staff, family, or even hired consultants is influenced (and therefore, not objective) by their relationship to you.
- No environment for fresh thinking. CEOs consumed by putting out daily “operational fires” have little time or mental space for thinking differently (and creatively) about the business.
- No accountability. Who is the leader of a small business accountable to? A lack of accountability can foster a risky atmosphere where decisions are never questioned, and actions have unforeseen consequences.
- No room to grow. Without anyone to challenge their thinking, a business owner often lacks opportunities to grow as a leader.
- No sense of being “part of a team.” According to CEO Today Magazine, research shows that more than 70% of business owners “admit to having felt lonely whilst running their company, with a third saying that this is how they feel on a regular basis.”
Surrounding yourself with successful business owners doing amazing things makes you think bigger and stretch beyond your comfort zone. The diversity of your fellow members’ experiences and backgrounds results in creative solutions or a helpful perspective to virtually any problem you face.
There are a host of additional benefits:
- Members of a mastermind group or advisory board hold their peers’ feet to the fire. Meeting regularly means members must be ready to follow up on the goals they set and promises they make.
- Members push each other to live up to high levels of excellence.
- Each member is expected to help fellow group members solve problems. Taking on the role of a trusted peer advisor strengthens the leadership and coaching skills of every board member, which they can bring back to their own respective companies.
- As noted, it’s often lonely at the top. Members of a peer advisory board often the additional perk of being in a confidential support group for business leaders. There’s also an element of fun, which appeals to business owners who may otherwise be too busy to have much of a social life outside of their work and family.
Finally, a mastermind group pushes members to set goals and actively achieve them. It helps member tackle tough problems by offering new perspectives and beneficial advice. This in turn sharpens each member’s leadership skills, grows their network, and boosts their confidence.
The end-result? The potential for a dramatic boost in profits.
If this sounds appealing, look for a mastermind group that offers:
- The right mix of individual members (diversity in backgrounds and experiences)
- Absolute confidentiality
- A pledge of personal and group accountability
- A strong facilitator (mastermind group leader)
Joining a mastermind group is an important decision and a sound business investment, especially when you join one with a track record for success. Choose wisely and, within no time, you’ll find the investment in a peer advisory board will more than pay for itself.