People are searching for answers to a lot of questions these days, aren’t they? Even more so if you have a mastermind business. I can’t recall a time so many people have looked to me so often for direction, guidance or wisdom.
I don’t like to sugarcoat things - leading an online mastermind group will put you in a position that requires tremendous self-awareness and self-control. You’ll face “D” personalities like me on the DISC profile, who want to tell you how they think things should be run.
You’ll take things into confidence, you’ll have people ask you to rubber-stamp approval on things. Living in community can get messy, because people are involved. If patience, discretion, listening and asking questions aren’t “your style,” you may have a tough time getting your mastermind going.
When Answers Don’t Come
We read an interesting book this month in Iron Sharpens Iron. It’s called “The Ride of a Lifetime,” by Robert Iger, former CEO of the Walt Disney Company. He succeeded Michael Eisner in 2005 and led the Magic Kingdom for 15 years.
Early on in the book, Iger shared some very timely and practical lessons for any business owner, from his days becoming president of ABC Entertainment. It was the late 1980s and early 1990s, before the internet really took off. Iger had succeeded as an entry level stagehand, and worked his way into becoming a producer and executive. After steering the network through covering the 1988 Winter Olympics, he landed the CEO role. Interestingly, he sensed immediately how he was to handle his new role:
“I told myself: You have a job. They’re expecting you to turn this business around. Your inexperience can’t be an excuse for failure. So, what do you do? The first rule is to not fake anything. You have to be humble, and you can’t pretend to be someone you’re not or to know something you don’t. You’re also in a position of leadership, though, so you can’t let humility prevent you from leading.
“You have to ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can. There’s nothing less confidence-inspiring than a person faking knowledge they don’t possess. True authority and true leadership come from knowing who you are and not pretending to be anything else.”
If you are leading masterminds online and you haven’t figured this part out yet … that’s okay. I was running masterminds long before I knew how to create a product like The Mastermind Playbook, which teaches entrepreneurs how to start, grow and scale their masterminds.
But even armed with a tactical plan like The Mastermind Playbook, you could also be leading a business mastermind where you have yet to realize how much knowledge, depth and experience surround you. The “answers” we think are so far beyond us are, in fact, in the minds of the people sitting around our mastermind table.
The Counsel of the Multitude
I’ve never been a TV executive at ABC or in charge of the Walt Disney Company, but I know many great senior executives in large corporations. Do you see the wisdom in Mr. Iger’s decision to refuse to “fake it ‘til he made it”? There’s more to this secret that you might think.
A lot of entrepreneurs who want to start a mastermind group suddenly develop “impostor syndrome.” Have you heard of this? People spend years developing expertise in their industries ... and then act like it’s their first day on the job, when they think about starting a mastermind.
I don’t want to sound like I’m picking on anybody by saying this, but I think a lot of people fear masterminds because they don’t have “all the answers.” This makes me want to pluck out the one hair left on my head, because it’s not about the right answers. It’s about the right questions.
One thing I know for sure as a mastermind leader is you have to know how to ask intelligent, open-ended questions. Sometimes you ask them knowingly, sometimes you don’t. But success lies in the ability to execute the best idea. If they were that easy to come up with, everybody would do it.
The Answer Key
Robert Iger continued to drive this point home as he described leading ABC Entertainment’s Hollywood division, where he faced a long line of meetings with creative studio heads. “I didn’t speak their language. I didn’t understand their culture. To them I was a suit from New York who suddenly … had immense influence over their creative life.”
Now, you may have a different circumstance in your mastermind group. You may be leading a group of peers from your industry or position. Even if that’s the case, you’ll begin to notice different personalities brush up against each other. It’ll have you wanting to run a DISC assessment on everybody!
But Mr. Iger used a much less costly and time-consuming technique: asking questions. “The task was to not let my ego get the best of me. Rather than trying too hard to impress whoever was across the table, I needed to resist the urge to pretend I knew what I was doing and ask a lot of questions.”
There’s an awful lot I know that I didn’t used to, but you might be surprised to know that the more I discover about life, the more I realize how much I don’t know. Not deeply. I “know” about the space shuttle … I can take a few guesses about how it works. But I don’t really know anything … I couldn’t get it working if I wanted to!
There are a lot of machines and devices in life that are hard to operate, especially alone. If you’re open to the suggestion, I want to recommend you don’t walk through starting a mastermind group alone. Let the tools, systems, processes and content we’ve assembled with The Mastermind Playbook help you build a team and stay on top of the details … so you can dig for the real gold in the minds and experiences of the people you bring into your mastermind!