PreneurCast is a marketing + business podcast. Author and marketer Pete Williams and digital media producer Dom Goucher discuss entrepreneurship, business, internet marketing and productivity.
Pete Williams talks to Dom Goucher about Mastermind Groups, the good, the bad and the ugly. He also shares some awesome tips that make his own Mastermind sessions super-effective.
Pete talks to Dom about mastermind groups, the good, the bad and the ugly
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Masters of the Mind
Dom Goucher: Hey, buddy.
Pete Williams: Big fellow, how are you mate?
Dom: Pretty good, pretty good. I’ll just rub it in right at the start and get it out of the way. As I said, early on, I think I saw a cloud yesterday, but I’m not sure.
Pete: I just got back from a run in the rain.
Dom: Awesome. Actually, you know what? I think I might swap you. Give me another couple of weeks of this and I’ll be begging for rain.
Pete: You’re a weird, weird fellow, mate. You’re a weird, weird fellow.
Dom: It’s that English person in me, you know? You just can’t beat it out of us. We need the weather to be strange. Otherwise, we’ve got nothing to talk about.
Pete: This seems to be the way. We seem to always start the show talking about weather these days.
Dom: Oh, dude, alright. The topic’s yours next time. Next start is yours.
Pete: Okay. That could be dangerous as well. It might turn into a whole another show, but anyway.
Dom: What’s been happening this week?
Pete: Oh, mate, plenty actually. Big news on the horizon. Probably not worth letting it all out now, but a couple of exciting things that could be very, very cool, shall we say, possibly on the horizon, which is good. Back into the swing of things after Bali. I’m feeling the best I have in quite a while.
That holiday definitely refreshed me physically, but it definitely refreshed me emotionally and mentally too. Very much needed, which is very exciting. I booked a wedding videographer this week. That’s another tick off the wedding to-do list which was good from Fleur’s perspective, which is nice. But plenty of stuff going on.
Pete: Definitely. How about yourself? What’s news in the world of Dom?
Dom: Still just busy, busy, busy. A couple of people launching or closing off launches of the big products that I’ve been working on for them, so it’s good. Just trying to get it out of the way. Meanwhile, the whole country’s on holiday over here. So it’s a little bit of a drag to kind of sit inside and watch them out the window running around on the beach.
Pete: Fair enough. You’re not going over to France at all and checking out the Tour, are you, by any chance?
Dom: No, no. I’ll stick to the TV edition on that one.
Pete: Do it vicariously for me.
Dom: Yeah, sorry dude. I’ll have a beer while I’m in the bar watching it for you as well as you want.
Pete: So what are we talking about today, big fellow? What is today’s topic? What’s the juice that we’re going to digest on today?
Dom: It’s something that’s pretty new to me, but I think it’s something that you are all well, well into. For one reason, I know that the topic of masterminds came up in the last couple of weeks for me. It’s not something that an ordinary, everyday-kind of guy would be involved in. But as you move open and move towards running your own business, the whole entrepreneurial side of things, especially if you’re isolated physically like I am from a lot of people in your industry, then a lot of people started to recommend being part of a mastermind group.
And I remember a couple of times you talking about being involved in it and how it’s helped you in the past. So I just wanted to talk that one through. It’s all new to me, so this is a little bit of that Dom-uses-the-podcast-as-a-therapy thing. But I do think also it’s an important topic and a big part of success, really.
Pete: Yeah, absolutely. I think masterminds have a bit of a wonky brand, if you can even say that masterminds have a brand. I think a lot of people, when it comes to masterminds, they think it’s one of those sorts where everyone sits around and pats each other on the back and nothing productive actually happens out of them. And that’s probably the case for a lot of mastermind groups. It’s almost like creativity to a certain extent in that all the great artists who write and produce art, or fiction, or whatever it might be, or even non-fiction really, they sort of say that creativity is about habitual action.
I think the quote ‘I write when inspiration hits me. Luckily, it hits me at 9am every morning when I sit down at my computer,’ is almost the same with masterminds, if I can draw that analogy or that bridge between them. Masterminds are about creating new things, creating new opportunity, and creating ideas and things you can go off and implement. But part of it actually needs structure, otherwise it doesn’t work. So just like you writing in your creativity structure, masterminds really need structure to work really, really well.
I’ve been involved in a handful of mastermind sessions over the years. Some have been very, very successful; some have not been so successful. And we can definitely go through the pros and the cons, and how I think mastermind groups should work, and how they actually do work in the main one that I’m involved in these days. Is that where we should take this, do you think?
Dom: Yeah, let’s take one tiny step back. It would be a little bit presumptuous to think that everybody knows what we’re talking about when we’re talking about a mastermind and a mastermind group. So if we just have a little bit of run-through of your take on what a mastermind is and what it’s for, absolutely.
I’m really interested to find out your input on what works, what doesn’t, what you find it valuable for, and if you’ve got any tips on making the most. I’ve got a few that I’m sure you’re probably going to come out as well but I picked some real good ideas up while listening to our good friend Ed Dale who was talking about this the other week.
Dom: So I’ll interject if you don’t bring those up. But yeah, let’s just go back a little bit and just very quickly summarize what you see a mastermind is for, and then what it’s done for you.
Pete: Yeah, absolutely. A mastermind group is basically a group of people that get together to think up, discuss, and support each other’s growth. You can have a mastermind group around a lot of things. It’s basically almost a therapy session. You can almost call AA meetings to a certain extent a mastermind group with the goal of obviously to stop drinking.
But in a business context, it’s a get-together on a scheduled basis or a regular basis. You work on supporting each other’s dreams, goals, aspirations, businesses, and just help each other get through any roadblocks or whatever it might be. So that, I guess, is the Wikipedia description of a mastermind.
Dom: Petepedia, maybe.
Pete: Petepedia, there we go. Does that answer that question?
Dom: Yeah. That’s a good summary, a good start point.
Pete: So where shall I take it from here? Guide me. You’re on the couch. Tell me what you need, Mr. Patient.
Dom: I’m on the spot for good questions now, aren’t I?
Pete: I can rant and rave. We’ve already tested that over the last eight or nine episodes. I can easily just rant and rave about all of this.
Dom: So in a way, this is a kind of therapy for you. You’re practicing holding back.
Dom: Awesome. Why did you get involved with a mastermind group? What made you get into it? What have been your experiences? What made you start? Why’d you get involved in a mastermind group? What’s the value for you?
Pete: When I first got into mastermind groups, the only reason I got into one is because all the people that I listen to said you needed to be in a mastermind group. So I was like, “Alright, I’ll be in a mastermind group.” There were definitely some successes out of those, but most of it was just a big waste of time. Just because you get together on a regular basis with people, it doesn’t mean anything’s actually going to be produced out of it unless you have a set agenda, a set criteria that you can be creative with, or creative within, more likely.
In terms of some of the stuff I got out of them, my first book deal, clearly, absolutely, no questions asked, came out of a mastermind group. It was a group that I was involved with when I was living and working down in Geelong, which is a town in the surf coast here in Victoria, Australia. Beautiful, beautiful town. I was involved with a bunch of would-be, want-to-be entrepreneurs, I guess, you’d call the group. We got together on a semi-regular basis, maybe every couple of months and just had dinner and talked about various people’s businesses and what they’re up to.
There was not much structure except for a regular catch-up. Anyway, in one of the sessions, we just started chatting and talking about the whole MCG venture and how I sold the ‘G. Then someone said, “You obviously do your bit of speaking around this and telling your story. Why don’t you make it into a book?” And I started thinking, “Yeah, that’d be pretty cool.
I could easily make a book out of it, talk about that venture, some other businesses I’ve done before and after that main focal point, and some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way – all that sort of stuff you have in a business book. Alright. Before next session, I’ll go off and I’ll write a business proposal or a book proposal.” Actually, writing proposals could be a whole another thing. A book should be a business proposal rather than a book proposal because it’s all about the marketing of the book. It’s not about the product, but that’s a whole another session.
So I went off and wrote this book proposal and came back the following week, the following month or whenever the next session was – I can’t remember, it was seven or eight years ago now. I passed it around to each of the people and said, “Here’s the proposal. Would love your feedback. Let me know your thoughts. Am I on the money? Am I completely off? Does the content of the book make sense?”
And then about 10 days later, I got a phone call from the head editor at the John Wiley & Sons in Australia, which is one of the biggest publishing houses going around. And she said, “I’ve got a copy of your book proposal. Let’s catch up for coffee.” So I was a little bit bemused about that. Not many people had this book proposal. It clearly wasn’t meant to be for public consumption, it was just about to get some feedback.
One of the guys who were in the mastermind group was in the IT space. He had just recently done some IT work for a book printer. Off the back of this mastermind group, he went and called that book printer and said, “I know someone who needs to write a book. I’ve got a copy of his book proposal. Who should I send it to? Do you print books? Who do you deal with? How do we go about backward-engineering this?” And the printer said to him, “Send it over to me and I’ll pass it on to some of the publishers that I work with.”
So he passed the book proposal onto this printer, who then passed it on to John Wiley Publishing, who then gave me a call. I was like, “Great, awesome. Catch up for coffee with this lady and she’s going to pull my proposal apart, tell me where it’s wrong, where it’s right, and what I need to do, and just give me some friendly advice.” I walked out of that coffee meeting in about 30 minutes with a book deal. It really freaked me out.
Pete: So that’s probably one of many stories I can come up with off the top of my head about how mastermind groups have directly related back to some huge, huge opportunity for me. That’s to give you an idea of what can come out of a mastermind group – a book deal, which have been the best business card I’ve ever printed.
Dom: Cool. Now, I have something to build on that because that actually comes very close to what I think people think mastermind groups are all about. A lot of people think mastermind groups are all about all lads together, you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. Let’s all do deals. Let’s all do this.
Personally, my experience has actually been the opposite of that; or not so much of that, possibly because of the people I’ve been involved in. But for me, and you did mention this at the start, one of the great things that I get out of my beginnings of involvement in a mastermind group is not that these people have resources, and have people they know, and they’re well-connected, and they can do deals. But they just have a different perspective.
So as you said earlier on about it being a kind of support group, I find that if I’m trying to achieve something or I’m stuck with something, whether it’s a business perspective issue, a productivity or a leverage issue, or something like that, I can throw that into the group and get back some really good advice from these different people that have come from all different walks of life and have got a really different perspective. Is that something that you also get from it?
Pete: Absolutely, absolutely. There are ways we can give it some structure, which probably not only answers that question strategically, but also gives some real actual things of how to run a mastermind group. Over the years I’ve been involved in other mastermind groups and started with one of the key people who started the main one I’m in at the moment. The structure of our meetings is simple: we catch up, you’ve got about 10 minutes of, “How’s the kid? How’s the new baby?” Just general chitchat.
And then how it works is there’s eight of us in the group. You get 15 minutes each. So two-hour session, that’s all it is. You’ve got 15 minutes and you basically have to come to the table with a problem or a question. For example, “I have a book proposal. How do I get it published? I have a new idea for a product. Here’s my outline. Can you give me a feedback? I cannot get my opt-in rate for my emails above X percent. Here are the last three mailings I did.” Whatever problem you’ve actually got, but you’ve got to have a roadblock that you can come to the table with.
You’ve basically got as much time as you want to take up of that 15 minutes to explain your problem and tell the group what is the outcome you want. And then it’s just roundtable spitball. Everyone pulls that apart and gives their two cents and their perspective of how to help you with your problem. So rather than just having chitchat conversation that goes everywhere, it’s very, very structured. And the 15 minute goes up, we’ve got the iPhone table with the countdown timer on. Time goes ‘bang,’ next person, move on.
There’s a lot of minutiae stuff in that that we can go into as well, but that’s the high level of how our mastermind groups work. And we do it face-to-face in my office, in our boardroom, every about six weeks. We’re actually pulling it back down to every month next because everyone’s getting so much value out of it. We do that face-to-face, but the beautiful thing with that sort of structure is you can do that in any format you like.
You can do that on a conference call on Skype, or with Google+, or with Facebook’s Skype integration coming forward – don’t know how it’s going to go, or on GoToMeetings. It doesn’t have to be face-to-face if you’ve got that structure because the value is in the group’s or the group think, really. It’s the group think that you’re really getting the value out of.
Dom: Cool. It’s interesting that it’s very, very structured. Personally, I like that everybody has a slot and everybody gets to explain a problem or make a proposal and a desired outcome, and the group joins in. I like that and it’s good to focus you and focus your time. Because that’s one of the concerns that people do have, that I have. When I first got involved, time just used to go everywhere because there was no actual goal or structure to it.
But on the flip side of that, and this is just one of those ninja tips from Ed, there are times when actually it’s inconvenient to physically relocate or make the time. I know different people have different perspectives on making the time for important things. But one of the things that I do with a certain group of people that I work with, and you probably remember I was involved with Dan Raine’s Intern experiment…
Dom: A fantastic, fantastic group of people but there were 20 people.
Pete: Big group.
Dom: Big ol’ group and they were all over the world, literally all over the world. And there was no way – we never had more than one call where everybody was on the call. It just was a logistical nightmare. And what Dan did was set up a Google Group, which is just like an old-fashioned mailing list. Remember those?
Pete: We’re all Melbourne-based in this one, and we still have Google Group. Absolutely.
Dom: And the great thing about that, and I have done it three or four times this morning, the great thing about that, I have a thought, I have something I want to talk about or anybody in the group, and they just throw it in. There’s a little bit of a problem with the discipline on titling the emails and some of them do go off-tangents. But you throw it into this list and 20 people see it, and they can all input. And you have this list, this archive of everybody’s responses.
Dom: And they can take the time whenever they’ve got the time. The guys in Australia are just going to bed, but the guys in America are just waking up, and everybody can… In the space of 24 hours, you can get some fantastic feedback without ever having to actually involve yourself in a lengthy phone call.
Pete: Let me ask you a question about that though.
Dom: Yeah, go ahead.
Pete: The internship has fundamentally come and gone, is that correct?
Pete: How has it gone? When you actually have a structure and it’s just basically an email list, let’s be honest about it. I’m going to be pretty brutal. The way that you described it so far, it’s an email list; it’s not to me a mastermind group.
Dom: That’s right.
Pete: How has that been? Have you found that some people are just dropping out from being not responsive?
Dom: Using me and my example of the Intern group, I agree, it’s not a mastermind group. It’s not formal, it’s not structured. I gave up a long time ago asking people to put the correct subject in the email title.
Pete: You’re so anal, dude. You’re so anal. But answer my question though.
Dom: Yeah, go ask your question.
Pete: How has that been?
Dom: Yeah, you have people that answer, people that don’t answer. But that group was to facilitate the informal communication. There’s a formal system of communication that Dan set up to manage the projects and the actual work that we were set. That’s a different matter completely. But just keeping it within the realms of a mastermind, the important point is that it’s not a mastermind but it’s an example of a worth-communicating with people in disparate time zones.
When Ed made the point, that’s how he made it. But if it’s going to work as a mastermind, I’d come back to your point which is it being structured, it being formal, and there being a way to put things across and a way to get the feedback is important. Otherwise, it just goes off the rails.
Pete: Well, absolutely. I think your example there has a very positive and a very negative lesson to be learned. From a general perspective, the negative lesson is unless you have structure and regularity, and almost have that conversation you don’t want to have upfront about the rules of the group – remind me about the positive things. I’m probably going to go off on a pretty long tangent here. There are things that we do with our mastermind groups that I’m involved with and coordinate as well now.
But the one I’m involved in is the primary focus of what we’ll talk about as an example. We sat down at the start and we set the rules up. We said, “If you miss two sessions in a row, you’re out. No questions asked. We’ll invite someone else in. So two sessions in a row, you’re gone. Too bad. You agree, yes or no?” That’s probably the fundamental rule. There are other rules that we won’t go into, sort of secret society stuff maybe. But it was very much about that.
Dom: I was really hoping to avoid that topic.
Pete: This is the rule, this is the structure. Do you all agree to it, yes or no? And then everyone has the right to call people out, call them names, swear at them, abuse them. All the potential negativity was addressed upfront. So that means it gives us complete transparency that if I think someone’s being a douche and he’s saying something stupid or he’s not living up to his potential or is leading the group down, I can call them on that because we’ve set the frame up upfront that it’s all said with love. So we can be very, very brutal with each other which is really, really good.
Dom: Excellent. Open and honest communication.
Pete: Yeah. Whereas, if it’s just, “Oh, yeah. Hey guys, let’s start a mastermind group.” And all you do is create a Google Group and then send emails around, there’s been no real structure or indoctrination into the group. The positive thing out of your example is, and I think one of the reasons that the framework you set in terms of the Google Group stuff, I think, is pretty poor. But I think the reason it has stuck in your scenario is because there was that positive aspect of that indoctrination in that you had that very formal, very big bond of being the interns with Dan Raine, which is a huge opportunity and a huge way to bond with the group together.
There’s that invisible tie that, “Hey, you guys are the one and only intern group.” You’ve got that bond that means that you’re going to support each other a lot more because it’s more than just, “Hey, here’s an email group.” You are the interns. A part of it too is like give yourselves a name. Remember back when you were in primary school or grade school, and you create like a little group and you give yourselves a name that we’re like The B.R.A.T. Patrol? I love that movie, by the way, The B.R.A.T. Patrol.
But you think about all the books and stuff when you read books and stories about different groups that were and are famous – they had names. And you have a name. You are the interns. And we have a name. We’ve given ourselves a name and it’s just part of that building what is the culture of the mastermind group. The more you can do in terms of building your own language and name, and set rules like a club does, it’s going to make that mastermind group work a lot more because the people are going to be a lot more invested in it. Does that make sense?
Dom: It does. I mean it’s a little bit further than I’d thought it through. But certainly, my experience with that mailing list with those people has been both incredibly positive and it has its negative sides as well. Coming back to the naming thing though, I’ve been wanting to say this to you for ages. I know that you’re starting to build an enclave down there of like-minded people…
Pete: Well, half. But a quarter of that mastermind group is now actually situated in my office. They’ve actually moved in and taken up some office space. So we’re basically trying to not only indoctrinate them into the mastermind group, but also indoctrinate them into my building permanently.
Dom: This has been in the back of my mind for a couple of weeks. Obviously, you have Silicon Valley in America and it’s seen as one of the entrepreneurial areas. And there’s an area of London now that they’re starting to call Silicon Roundabout because it’s where all the startups are going. And the best I could come up with for you at the moment is Silicon Barbie Pit.
Pete: Silicon Barbie Pit?
Dom: Yeah. It’s not very good really, is it?
Pete: Well, Silicon Beach.
Pete: The office is in St. Kilda, which is sort of like the beach area of Melbourne. It’s the prime location everyone knows. That’s where the Melbourne Beach is and all that sort of stuff. So I’ll take Silicon Beach because we’re not that far from the beach in St. Kilda.
Dom: No, it’s just not self-deprecating enough.
Pete: Ah, fair enough. Okay.
Dom: Yeah. Maybe we’ll run a contest.
Pete: Well, I think it’s also known for its hookers and streetwalkers. So we can probably add that. It is. We should do a Merlin Mann-Dan Benjamin-style Back to Work after-hours episode, and I can tell you some stories about some crazy shenanigans that have happened in our car park.
Dom: That’s a deal. We’ll do that.
Dom: Back on topic quickly, as we run away from the hookers.
Pete: That happened in the car park, we didn’t run away from hookers.
Dom: I’ve just listed this podcast as ‘clean.’ And I have some stories about that as well. Yeah, as far as a true mastermind from a business development point of view goes, my simplistic version of what you just put across is, if you don’t take it seriously, you’re not taking your business seriously. If you’re in it to improve and to improve yourself, you and the group have to take that topic seriously.
Dom: So I agree completely. I don’t agree necessarily with the rigidity, the level of detail that you put in. But yeah, making sure people contribute. Making sure people do take it seriously is really important. And the other thing, and here’s one, maybe you’ll be able to comment on this. The other thing I got from Ed’s little mastermind tips was, he said this in an obviously self-deprecating way. But he said he always tries to be the dumbest guy in the group.
Pete: Absolutely. I’d say if you’ve got a group of eight, and you’d rank everybody, I’d want to be 5, 6, or 7? Not necessarily the dumbest person in the group, but I think the whole idea is you want to be with people who are better than you to pull yourself up. There’s a great saying which kind of relates to this a little bit; the average of the five people you hang around with the most will be your average income.
Dom: Yeah, that’s exactly what I was just thinking.
Pete: And so the whole idea behind Ed’s theory and definitely other great theories is that if you can be in a mastermind group with people who are smarter than you, doing more than you, or financially better off than you, the whole theory of that should drag you up to their level.
Dom: Absolutely. From my point of view, one of the mistakes I made, the first group of people that I kind of decided that I was going to work together with and just share ideas with, I was openly invited into the group because of my technical background and my technical knowledge. And the other people in the group basically didn’t have that background. It’s not a hard differential, really. Very few people that I know have the same level of technical background that I have.
But it turned out from a business point of view, from a growth point of view for me, for myself, to be a massive mistake. We did some good work as a team of people. We bounced ideas and I got some good stuff. But it really didn’t pull me up because these people were looking to me, they were almost looking upwards to me because the group was more about producing something than about helping each other out and plussing each other’s businesses.
And that’s something I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for in the future. Because to me, the most important thing if I’m going to join a mastermind group would be to improve my business skill and improve my business. Similar to you, I’m not necessarily bothered about being the bottom of the pile. Not from an ego point of view, but because part of what I would want to join for is also to be able to help other people.
Pete: Yeah. Well, that’s part of it. You really have to go into this. Because if you’re in a group of eight people and you’re doing the structure that we do where you’ve got 15 minutes of your time and an hour and 45 minutes of others’ time, you have to go in there thinking you’re going to give seven times more than you’re going to get. So it is all about giving.
If you go in there going, “I’m going to go in this mastermind group so every week I get 15 minutes of value on my business,” you’re missing out on a lot. There’s that whole hallmark guide to business in that you’ve got to give more than you get, and that’s true. But you actually will surprise yourself. If you seriously think about the other people’s problems and consciously come up with the solution, that’s going to help your business.
Pete: When you hit that problem, it’s going to help you think. The more you think, the better you become at thinking. The more you write, the better you become at writing. So the more you think strategically about business problems, whether they’re your own or someone else’s, the better off you’re going to be.
Dom: I completely agree. Years ago I used to teach at a very high technical level. I used to teach professional photo shop operators advanced techniques and lots of other creative topics like video editing and things like that. A lot of people go in those environments, any kind of learning environment, and they’re afraid to ask a question. And I used to point out regularly to people that I was learning all the time. And by them asking their questions and me thinking of the answers, they were helping me to learn and to grow my knowledge.
Because I either had the answer, which was usually a bit boring to me. Or more interestingly, we could work it out together. And yeah, you’re right. It’s exercising your brain. If you only see your business, you’ll only see your problems. If you see all the people’s and solve those problems, you’re getting ready for that to happen to you. And you kind of already dealt with it. You’re both exercising your business muscles but you’re also preparing yourself as well.
Pete: Absolutely, absolutely. I’d love to thrown in some more actual ideas of how to structure masterminds. So if people listening are in a mastermind or are going to go off and start one, here are just some other practical things. Definitely, Google Groups is something worth doing. It just basically enables you to have a bulk or a single email address that you send emails to that then get syndicated out and sent to everyone in the group.
But there’s also the trail and history. They can log in to the Google Groups account and see the history of the conversations in conversation mode and stuff like that, which is great. Set up a Dropbox folder for that mastermind group so people can just drop stuff in there and share ideas and share resources – must, must do.
As we spoke about, having that structured session is really important. So you’ve got 15 minutes per person in order. And also, the other thing that we do to structure that is the person who spoke prior to you, is your scribe. So rather than you actually saying, “Here’s my problem. Here’s my 15 minutes,” and having to quickly write stuff down while you’re going, feel free to do that, but it’s the person who just spoke before you’s job to write stuff down for you.
So you can be in the moment and in the conversation and be engaged, rather than sort of saying, “Oh hang on, what was that? Let me write that down.” And you actually get disengaged. That’s a big thing that we implemented after the first few sessions. So someone else is your scribe. People take notes themselves, but it’s definitely the person before you’s job to take those notes so you don’t get distracted by the actual note-taking.
Dom: Ninja tip, ninja. I love that. That’s brilliant. Although, question. Do you or have you thought about recording the meetings, either with something like that text editor on the iPad?
Pete: Livescribe pen?
Dom: Livescribe pen, Ed’s favorite.
Pete: Or the voice recorder that comes with the iPhone.
Dom: Yeah. There’s also a text editor on the iPad which escapes me at the moment that allows you to take text notes and do drawings while it records an audio. It’s kind of like a Livescribe pen built into the iPad.
Pete: We have debated that numerous times. We don’t, by default, record our conversations for various reasons, some pretty obvious and some probably not too obvious. But we do allow people to record their session if need be. So if I say, “Look, I’ve got this problem. I want to record the answers to this. I’m going to record it,” just so everyone is aware of, “Hey, this is going on record. Just be aware that what you’re saying is going to go on record.” Not that we’re there doing anything crazy. But you just obviously want to potentially keep some stuff private.
Pete: So we don’t record by default. But where needed, people do record.
Dom: And warning other people that you’re going to do it is fair enough. But the idea that the person prior to you becomes your scribe and that lets you focus solely on describing your situation and interacting with the group, I think it’s a fantastic tip.
Pete: Other stuff that we’ve thrown around at various stages and do and don’t do for various reasons is things like prior to your asking for help with your 15 minutes, you have to give a Tip of the Week or Tip of the Session. So you might come and go, “Hey, this is a new application I found,” or, “Here’s a new strategy that I found.” And you have to actually give before you go.
Because sometimes the person before you asks their question and for various reasons, you didn’t get to actually participate in the answer, the part of their solution. So you might not have technically given anything to the group before you actually start. So we made that mandatory to have to say that, “Here’s my idea, Tip of the Week, something that works well for me, something that I recommend, and here we go.” We don’t do that so much anymore, purely because of time constraints.
Our two-hour session ends up going for about two and a half once you have a bit of a break for dinner or at least ordering the pizza, and that sort of 10 minutes where everyone gets together. So we try to keep it down to very much working sessions as opposed to having to give because everyone has continually contributed for that. Other ways you can do as well – I’m reading off the stuff here, I know…
Accountability. One of the biggest things is being accountable. And you can do that in a number of different ways if you want to. You can set deadlines for people at the end of their 15 minutes. They go to say, “Okay, here’s the action sets we’re going to take.” And then you have to email the Google Groups at that time saying, “Yes, I’ve completed this,” or, “haven’t completed this.” You can have that week after the session email where everyone has to send an email to the group saying, “This is what action I’ve taken since our last session.”
Or you can start your sessions for the following catch-up with, “This is what my homework was last time. This is what I’ve done and haven’t done.” We have done it in the past in various groups. In the current group, just to be transparent, we don’t do that because we got to the point where over time, we know that we’re a group of action-takers so we don’t have to spend time worrying about whether people are going to implement them or not because the group are implementers.
I think it’s smart when you’re starting a group to have that constraint so you can call out people who don’t want to commit to the group and the group’s rules. And then as you go on and everyone shows they are committed by actually doing what they say they’re going to do, then you can save more time and cut that part out.
Dom: Cool. There are some really good tips there. I know you get a lot from your mastermind groups and I know that the people involved in them are, as you say, implementers on a grand scale.
Pete: Yeah. Again, to be transparent, the session before my presentation at Ed Dale’s Going Pro event earlier this year that I did about workflows and productivity that a lot of people really enjoyed, which I’m very, very proud of, some of the stuff in that presentation, not all but maybe 20% of the stuff that I talked about in that presentation, those ideas were generated from the mastermind groups saying, “Okay, I’m doing a presentation next month about productivity.
Here’s the stuff that I’m going to talk about. What more can I add to it? Are there any other ideas?” One of the things I spoke about, Dave Jenyns does, and basically I ripped off him and I gave him credit in the presentation. And that presentation was amazingly well-received and it wouldn’t have been what it was without the feedback and the refinement from the mastermind group.
Pete: And also, I think that is on sale at the moment too.
Dom: Is it?
Pete: I believe Ed has got a sale going on – I hope I’m right, for all his online stuff. So we’ll put a link in the show notes so we’ll do a preneurmarketing.com/edsvideos. Let’s do that: preneurmarketing.com/edsvideos and that will take you to this page where you can buy the whole seminar at a very big discount. It’s about 50% off almost, I think. So it’s a huge savings.
Dom: Awesome, awesome. And lot of people have said independently to me that your presentation is pretty much worth the fee for the whole show because of the value that they got out of it. But that whole Going Pro conference was an amazing kind of collective of some real implementers as it were.
Pete: Absolutely, absolutely.
Dom: Alright. On that note, we’re not surprisingly overtime. But I think it was definitely worth running over. We got some great stuff out of that. Certainly, I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned quite a lot about you actually, and about the way that you work now. I’ve picked up some great tips for masterminds, and hopefully, it’s helped some other people with that.
Because it is one of those things – until you’re in it, you don’t know. And a lot of people think it’s like a big secret society and they don’t want to really talk about it and stuff. Or they do the sheep thing and ‘everybody else is in a mastermind, so we’ll be in one.’ But it’s ineffective. And if it’s going to be ineffective, don’t do it.
Pete: Exactly right. Absolutely. You’ve got plenty of things to spend your time on. If you’re not going to be productive, you might as well go on the couch and watch The Kardashians with your better half. You can learn a bit about branding from them, I guess.
Dom: You can probably learn a bit about branding from them because you can pretty much pick up marketing and business tips from thin air. So I’ll stick to not watching trashy TV, if that’s alright with you.
Pete: You can just enjoy the sunshine of Spain.
Dom: Basically yeah, I’ll go down the beach.
Pete: In this episode we started with weather, so we might as well finish with weather.
Dom: No, you’ve got to pick another topic. We’re not finishing with the weather.
Pete: Next week. Next session, I’ll come with an opening that’s not about the weather.
Dom: That was not really a closing one. So on that, a reminder. In the show notes, we will have a link to, hopefully at the moment, Ed’s discounted Going Pro conference. One other thing: Folks, we would really, really appreciate it – very few people do this because people subscribe through their iTunes tool, their iTunes software. Download the podcast, listen to it. You might have gotten the podcast from wherever, but we’d really appreciate it if you went back to the iTunes Store and popped a review on the iTunes Store.
Pete: Absolutely, yes. This is definitely not about making money for us, it’s purely about stroking our egos. And the best way you can help stroke our egos is by giving us a review on iTunes. That’s the fuel that we need to be able to invest the time in this. We really enjoy doing it, but we only are going to continue doing it if you guys are getting enjoyment and feedback and all that out of it. So yes, definitely, reviews and ratings would be great.
And even tips. If you’ve got tips for all the listeners in terms of stuff about mastermind groups that have worked for you. Post them on the iTunes Store as a way for other people to sort of have a read through the reviews and get some ideas from you, the listeners, and what you have done.
Dom: Yup, absolutely. And there are 5 stars on the iTunes rating. I don’t want to bias you towards any particular 5-number, 5…
Pete: 5, 5, 5…
Dom: But if you wanted to…
Pete: Keep talking, dude. It’s not subconscious if you don’t start talking.
Dom: Sorry, sorry. Subliminal messages are not my trick, so he’s the man. But seriously, we’d really love some feedback about the show. We want to include things that you want to know about. At the moment, it’s all just kind of driving this. But it’s not about us, it’s about helping folks out there. This is kind of one really big mastermind group with all our listeners. So, join in and we’ll see you next week.
Show notes + links:
http://www.preneurmarketing.com/edsvideos – Right now, there’s a 50% discount on the recordings from the Melbourne “Going Pro” conference, which include Pete’s incredibly popular “Leverage” presentation
Livescribe Smartpen – Awesome tool for recording and making notes at the same time
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