A mastermind meeting can be one of your greater sources of inspiration and strength. There are some careful considerations in forming or joining one of these groups.
You may want to form two separate ones, in fact.
The first may be composed entirely of fellow Brokers. Perhaps from your office, perhaps from other offices around town, most likely Brokers who are flying the same corporate flag as yourself.
Back in 2009, as a rookie in the business, I tried to get one of these mastermind meetings going in my office. Eight Brokers committed via email to show up at 6:00 p.m. on a Wednesday evening to spend two hours talking about the business of the business. When the date arrived, just one other Broker showed up. The rest did not even bother to email or call; they just did not show up at all. We had a good chat, picked up a few little tips from each other and subsequently met a few more times, but the concept failed to gain traction. If I had feelings, they may have been hurt by this experience.
The one Broker who showed up is still a Broker today. The balance of no-shows? I could not tell you for certain, but I know a few have exited the industry. It was an interesting experience for sure.
I get it. I was just another rookie Broker myself, a nobody— what could we possibly hope to have learned from each other? The fact is that rookies can be a fountain of ideas, and if you too are a rookie, you will feel safer asking questions that feel “dumb” in front of a group that also has a stack of rookie questions of their own. However, you do need to ensure that there is some experience sitting at the table.
A huge part of a mastermind is that you can protect each other from yourselves. When one of you talks about running a certain marketing campaign, another can stop that person from making that mistake because he or she already made it. And vice versa on another topic.
Don’t lose hope if you have the same bummer experience on your first attempt(s) to organize a mastermind meeting. Few people want to pursue any and every angle to increase their odds of success, which is because few truly want success. People say they want success, and they do—they want it hand-delivered to them on their couch in the basement while watching TV. Few take the actions to achieve success.
Talk is cheap, but the talk in these meetings can be priceless.
People are hardwired to self-limit to a certain level—myself included. We all have built-in limiters on what we think we can achieve. For now, you have already broken through as you have taken the plunge into brokering and are gathering information on the topic anywhere and everywhere.
Generally speaking, you want mastermind groups to have between four and eight members. Six is the sweet spot. Each person can have the floor for fifteen minutes, which allows the meetings to stay under two hours. Keep in mind you are pretty much all type A and will all want more than your 15 minutes. Buy a sand timer if need be.
Consider meeting in a breakfast restaurant that offers a private meeting room if you can locate one. If any members live in a strata property, there are often common rooms that can be booked for meetings as well. Perhaps your office has a boardroom that you can book. Whatever you do, track down a location that can be consistently booked, and be consistent with your meeting times.
The first week of the month is typically the easiest week, earlier in the day always being best for any active Broker.
The two most important rules of a Broker-specific mastermind meeting:
1. You don’t talk about mastermind.
2. You don’t talk about mastermind.
If you have Brokers from multiple offices meeting with each other, I assure you that all sorts of political kookiness can be created if word gets out. You will have management concerned that they are going to lose their Brokers, and your own management may suspect that you are thinking of opening up your own office.
Not only can your own managing Broker wind up annoyed with you, so too can additional brokerage owners. Keep the existence of the meetings to yourselves, or at least try to.
A bigger issue will be that often each member will have a friend that he or she wants to include; that is how you go from eight to sixteen, from functional to dysfunctional.
The next most important rules:
3. Do not meet more than once per month. Time flies. Once per month is plenty—perhaps even too much.
4. Only tell positive stories. Talk about the wins and the opportunities. This is not a negative moan-and-groan festival. Give black clouds one warning, then eject them. This is the meeting of sunshine and rainbows. Only optimists need apply. Tell stories of the files saved, not files lost.
5. Create an email group to bounce ideas and questions off of each other between meetings. This becomes your own informal expert hotline. Amazing information can flow from these email exchanges, especially when you put a group together on a complex file scenario.
6. Have a pre-written agenda before each meeting. Send it out at least a week in advance for comment and suggestion.
7. Find a neutral meeting zone that can be booked consistently.
8. Pick a standard week of the month, day of the week and standard time to meet. Also have a standard length of meeting, and then stick to it.
9. What happens in mastermind stays in mastermind. Agree that you are in a ‘cone of silence’. This meeting is a safe place to tell the stories of the files that got a bit out of control (but completed), or the client relationships that became somewhat difficult and so on.
10. Avoid recording meetings, and avoid minutes being circulated. Each person can take his or her own notes. Re-read rule 9.
This really is the best place to bring your very best ideas and share them. Your ideas will be stress tested, often enhanced and pretty well never, ever stolen. After all, if somebody in the group stole your idea and ran with it, he or she would now have six to ten hard-core enemies in the business. Angering one Broker is one thing, but angering a group of them is quite another.