THE MASTERMIND EFFECT

There’s recently been a buzz across the country concerning Mastermind Groups, but you may be surprised to learn that Masterminds have been popular with highly successful business owners since the turn of the century. In fact, great Masterminds of our past have empowered our future. One of history’s greatest Mastermind groups included Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, and John R. Rockefeller during the early 1920’s.

I personally have been a member or facilitated over 200 Mastermind meetings since 1998. Although I started practicing law in 1982 and made a decent living for myself and my family, my law firm grew an astounding 1600% from 1998 to 2003, once I joined a Mastermind group.

You’re probably asking yourself:

  1. What is a Mastermind?
  2. How does it work?
  3. What are the specific benefits to a business owner?

WHAT IS A MASTERMIND?

A Mastermind group is a peer-to-peer mentoring group whose purpose is to help each individual member solve his or her problems with input and advice from the other group members. The concept was coined in 1925 by author Napoleon Hill in his book, The Law of Success, and described in more detail in his 1937 book, Think and Grow Rich. As Hill noted, a Mastermind is: “two or more people coming together in harmony to solve problems.”

A Mastermind group is really like having your own private board of directors. As my mother used to say, “You are who you hang around.” American entrepreneur Jim Rohn stated it this way: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Success truly breeds success. It is the wise man or woman who recognizes that they do not know it all, and are willing to learn from others.

Mastermind groups create an optimal environment for determined attorneys to grow their law practices exponentially, and with less waisted time and resources than shaping your firm alone and with only trial and error to draw upon. As a member of a Mastermind, you find yourself in roundtables with other similarly situated and motivated attorneys or business leaders, hyper- focused on each member’s victories and challenges. Ideas are exchanged and motivation is heightened, as each member shares and learns from the other members in a way that sharpens all participants, as iron sharpens iron.

HOW DOES A MASTERMIND WORK?

Although there are some local masterminds that meet on a monthly or weekly basis, the model that I have been associated with over the last 21 years consists of members joining together in live, 2-day meetings held three times per year, with approximately 10 to 16 people in a group. This sized group is large enough to encourage a wealth of free-flowing ideas to draw upon and small enough that all members are able to participate fully within the 2-day time frame. Meeting once every 4 months or so ensures there is time for each member to implement new strategies they’ve learned, receive consistent accountability and to generate momentum that is lost when meetings occur online or sporadically, only once or twice each year.

In a traditional Mastermind format, such as those I have facilitated or attended through the years, each member takes turns presenting the marketing and management strategies that they have been working on recently or since the last meeting. They share what has proven successful, including specific strategies, techniques, helpful vendors, etc. Just as importantly, they also share whatever challenges or obstacles they have been facing and gain insight, suggestions and ideas from their fellow members. Invariably there will be round table discussion on a variety of relevant subject matters such as how to pay associates, how to scale a law firm, how to systematize a law firm, etc. Sometimes leading industry experts or thought leaders are brought in to speak to the group, teaching on a critical concept or strategy, and members are allowed and encouraged to pick their brains in this small setting.

After more than 20 years creating and/or participating in Masterminds, I’ve come to believe that one of the keys to a successful mastermind is having a good facilitator. A facilitator is the person that sets the agenda and keeps the meeting moving. They should engage those members who are less vocal and respectfully but firmly quiet down the members who are too vocal or monopolize the group. It also helps when the facilitator is an expert in the field that he or she is facilitating. In some respects the Mastermind facilitator is like an orchestra leader who helps the various instruments come together effectively to produce the music of the Mastermind.

It is also important that the facilitator or organizer place members in the specific group that will be most beneficial both for the individual member’s growth as well as the mutual edification of the group at large. For example, I have always strived to create the right “fit” within each Mastermind group; Attorneys new to the practice of law or marketing and management concepts, or who have very small practices, do not need to be in the same group with those whose firm’s are larger, and who are more adept at navigating the complexities of Digital Marketing, and whose pressure points and challenges are vastly different from novice. While there is much to learn in each group, optimal placement ensures that the members are “equally yoked.” Otherwise, members feel dissatisfied and the exchange of ideas is not as successful. I like to think of it as a coach might in selecting the players for a team, and in placing them in either the major or the minor leagues.

In the Masterminds that I’ve done with PILMMA over the years, we have also found it helpful to create private Facebook groups and a private Listserv email for each Mastermind group so that they can converse privately in between the in-person meetings ( which are held every 4 months.) The fostering of these communication lines and networking enriches the relationships within the group as well as the dialogue and exchange of ideas both inside and outside the meetings. 

WHY DO MASTERMINDS WORK?

Masterminds work because there’s power in numbers. Different people have differing strengths as well as life experiences. Each member of a Mastermind brings a unique perspective and the sum becomes greater than its individual parts. Other members bring fresh insights to the table or share a perspective that sparks ideas within your own mind that you have never thought of or considered before.

Masterminds are also gathering places for like-minded individuals. For most of us law firm ownership can feel like being on an island; Our significant others or family members usually don’t fully understand where we are coming from or appreciate our pressure points, challenges, stresses or victories as law firm owners. The other members of a Mastermind do understand where you’re coming from and where you want to go, because they are in the same or similar place. There is a rich dialogue and flow of fresh ideas, winning strategies, understanding and empathy. By helping each other, common bonds are formed and strengthened within the Mastermind group.

Masterminds also provide much needed built-in accountability. Friendly or good-spirted accountability between the members works to propel each member forward. Members know that they will be asked to share/present a status/progress report at each meeting, including what has happened in the last few months, both good and bad. Few members want to come empty handed or ill-prepared. There is a strong desire to show the other members what each has accomplished since the last meeting.

Masterminds are mind opening and game-changing. They open minds through the exchange of ideas and speed implementation as a result of renewed motivation as well as built-in accountability. The fact that each member usually has to pay a significant membership fee means each member is vested and desires to get their money’s worth out of the meetings. I found out many, many years ago that if people don’t have skin in the game, they don’t take it seriously and the achieved results reflect this apathy. In Masterminds, participants are part of a team and the members cheer one another’s successes and are also there to help you brainstorm when you experience failures ,or as I like to call them, your “learning experiences.”

11 REASONS YOU SHOULD JOIN A MASTERMIND 

1. You become part of an exclusive community.
2. You have a genuinely interested and valuable support network.
3. You begin to THINK bigger.
4. You experience synergy with other members, allowing you to get things done that you never thought possible.
5. You gain new perspectives on things that you may have thought about previously but never really got serious about.
6. You receive honest feedback and advice and invaluable brainstorming from similarly situated individuals.
7. You are better able to eliminate blind spots and are able to create shortcuts to success because you are learning from other’s mistakes, and not wasting time and money in unnecessary trial and error.
8. You are able to leverage your experience as well as the skills of all the other members in you Mastermind. Imagine having 10x the individual brain power, laser focused on finding solutions to your firm’s challenges!
9. You become inspired to tackle projects and goals that you once thought were unattainable.
10. You have clarity in areas that were previously blurry by virtue of the insights and perspective of fresh unbiased minds.
11. You establish new habits for success and experience faster implementation because of the friendly accountability.

SUMMARY

In summary I can tell you that there was no way I would be where I am today if it had not been for the various Masterminds that I’ve been in since 1998. At present, I facilitate five different lawyer Mastermind groups which each meet three times a year. In addition, I am a personal member in two additional non-lawyer entrepreneur Mastermind groups with business owners from all over the world, including Scotland, England, Guatemala and the Philippines. I recently finished a one-year Mastermind program with bestselling author and entrepreneur, Jay Abraham, in which I paid $50,000.00 for membership. ( that alone should tell you how much I believe in the POWER of Masterminds for exponential growth and advancement!) There is no substitute for the Power of a Mastermind and encourage each of you to explore the possibility of joining a Mastermind or forming your own Mastermind today.

Ken Hardison

Ken Hardison

Founder and President

PILMMA is an educational based company that provides strategic mentoring, and Mastermind membership for lawyers looking to grow their law firms.

Often referred to as the “Millionaire Maker,” Ken grew and sold two seven figure law firms before devoting his time exclusively to helping other lawyers grow their firm’s through Legal Marketing and Management education, coaching, consulting and Masterminds.

PILMMA has several Mastermind Groups from which to choose. Or feel free to contact Ken via email at ken@pilmma.org.

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