12 Jan

Perspectives From the Other Side

How To Turn CMAA World Conference Into A Mastermind Group

“No man is an island.” We’ve all heard this famous turn-of-phrase, but it’s difficult to internalize. No one has all the answers to life’s questions. Though self-reliance is certainly critical, it’s equally important to make the most out of your relationships.

I can speak from experience. Joining P10 – a Mastermind Group made up of 10 club managers and other industry professionals – over 12 years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made both professionally and personally. Masterminding is the ultimate way to utilize your relationships for both giving and receiving new insights. In my opinion, we should all consider joining a Mastermind Group to make the most of our careers and our lives as a whole.

Luckily, CMAA World Conference in February offers the perfect opportunity to Mastermind. One of the best things about CMAA World Conference is that it gives you a chance to find like-minded (and not-so-like-minded) club industry professionals.

Right now you might be asking yourself how you can transform CMAA Conference into a Mastermind. You might even be a little fuzzy on what a Mastermind Group actually is. To get a more well-rounded perspective on this subject, I’ve reached out to my friend and mentor Kevin MacDonald. Kevin is CMAA’s leadership coach, creator of The Extraordinary Leader program, and founding member of P10 – the Mastermind Group I’m a part of. Merging his industry expertise as a former club manager with his gift for leadership, Kevin dedicates himself to elevating the lives of industry professionals. Here’s what he had to say about Mastermind Groups and how CMAA World Conference can provide a similar experience.


S: Kevin, let’s start with the basics. What is a Mastermind Group?
A Mastermind Group is two or more people that come together with the common goal of helping each other achieve what they want to achieve. Each person in your Mastermind has a different way of thinking, different experiences, different contacts, and different resources at their disposal. When everyone comes together, everyone in the group can use this to achieve anything they want in life.

S: What should it look like when I present my ideas to a Mastermind Group? How will they give me their insights? How do I give them my insights?

K: It’s always important to keep in mind that Mastermind members are not critics. If you come to them and say “I want to go to the moon,” they shouldn’t be saying “You can’t do that.” The members of a Mastermind Group are supposed to give you their thoughts on how to make your goals a reality. Ultimately, they’re supposed to give you the tools to do your job brilliantly.

S: It’s for that reason that P10 group has been a lifeline for me. I personally value having a group of honest people that are open to not only receiving information, but giving it as well. Of course, it’s not always easy to find people that will join to create a strong Mastermind Group. What kind of people should you be on the lookout for?
Don’t get 8-10 people that think like you. You want diversity in terms of gender, education, experience, and even professional background. It’s about balancing different jobs and approaches to life. You also need to find people that challenge the way you think. You may feel vulnerable and uncomfortable initially, but once you do it, the rewards are virtually endless and usually life-changing. I’d recommend thinking about the 10 people you’d like to have as your board of directors. Who comes to mind for you? What does each person bring to the conversation? Each person should bring their individual brand of genius to the table without serving the role of critic.

S: One of the best parts about this approach is that it can be easily applied outside of a formal Mastermind Group. The group of people I took my CCM exam with – we called ourselves “The Fab 40” – many of us have remained friends since passing that exam in 1990. Over the years, we’ve used this group as a kind of Mastermind. What can someone do to use CMAA Conference as a Mastermind Group?
: First we need to acknowledge that we all have our challenges, we’re all trying to do our best, but none of us know it all. Pretending that we’re above admitting that we don’t “have it all together” is a destructive attitude and needs to be put in check before you get on that plane or in that car and head to Conference. The true opportunity of Conference isn’t just new information, but to leave thinking differently. That’s the real genius. That’s the real opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, new knowledge is somewhat beneficial, but it’s much better to think about things in a new way. If you leave conference thinking the way you always did, it’s likely that you’ll end up coming to similar conclusions or taking similar approaches that you would have in the past no matter what new information you get.

S: How can you go about finding a group of people that fit the profile of the ideal Mastermind Group members at Conference?
Don’t go to Conference and hang out with all the same people you hung out with last year. Go into Conference being open to meeting those people. Again, let go and allow yourself be vulnerable. There’s a good chance you’ll find them if you are open to it happening. It’s like dating in that way. It could be one other person in a lounge or classroom that you end up connecting with. It could be at a chapter function, dinner, coaching gym, anywhere. You just have to be open for the Mastermind to happen and be open to deeper conversation. Don’t just talk about the weather. You have to be open to the idea that you can make the magic happen by developing relationships that are lifelong.

S: Do you have any other tips for navigating Conference that you’d like to share?
K: Go into conference with an idea of what result you would like to have. Shelley MacDougall and I spend most our time coaching at Conference, but before we go, we sit down write down what our intention is. We decide what we want to do, who we want to meet, and what this trip will accomplish overall. If you go into any process with purpose and intention, you’ll likely accomplish if not exceed your goals and Conference is no exception.

S: On a slightly different note, I know you’ve written The Magic of the Mastermind, which I highly recommend for people who want to understand the true power of Masterminding and how to create a quality Mastermind Group. Your Extraordinary Leader program also does an exceptional job of teaching club professionals leadership skills and helping them practice these skills in a tangible way. What other resources do you think people should seek out in order to make the most out of Conference, a Mastermind Group, or even just their time in general?
K: There are two resources I’ve found invaluable: Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and Tommy Spaulding’s It’s Not Just Who You Know. Think and Grow Rich was written in the 1930’s that was inspired by Andrew Carnegie. It imparts the collective knowledge of over 40 of the period’s great millionaires, but the book isn’t just about achieving financial success – it’s about building relationships, developing goals, and understanding what you want. Similarly, It’s Not Just Who You Know offers a guide on transforming and building your business contacts into lifelong friendships – a concept that’s really in keeping with the key ideas surrounding Masterminding. I really can’t recommend those two books enough.

I always tell people that “you can only get out what you put in,” and that saying really rings true when it comes to both Conference and Masterminding. It’s not just about networking and creating superficial “connections” – it’s about netgiving. Offer everything you have to offer to others and open yourself up to developing authentic bonds with people. That’s what will allow you to make Conference into a Masterminding session that you can carry with you for years to come.

While you’re seizing the moment to change your perspective and build new relationships during this year’s CMAA World Conference Orlando, be sure to stop in for a coaching session with Kevin and Shelly. You can also swing by Booth 1312 for a chat with me.

I think I can speak for all of us when I say we can’t wait to see you there!

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