How lawyers use mastermind groups to quickly solve challenges and achieve their business goals.
What are you trying to accomplish in your law practice this year?
Do you want to increase your cash reserves? Maybe you want to find a more reliable source or consistent referrals?
Perhaps you want to hire a staff member (or two)?
What if you could increase the probability of achieving those goals, do it with less stress, and be able to easily solve the challenges that will get in your way, simply by attending a meeting of your peers for an hour a month?
Oh, and by the way, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see a referral or two.
If this sounds good, then you’ll want to know about mastermind groups and how lawyers are using them to accelerate the growth of their practice.
Earlier this month Law Firm Suites launched its first all-lawyer mastermind group. The group consists of 10 attorneys who are committed to becoming more successful business owners.
The focus of our group is to help our members solve the challenges that often prevent small firm lawyers from getting to the next level of success (however they may define this).
What is a Mastermind Group?
A mastermind is a group of peers who meet regularly to help each other navigate through business challenges using the collective intelligence of others, share business development tips and, sometimes, referrals.
It’s like combining the regularity and discipline of a networking group, with the power and accountability of a board of directors.
Ultimately, the group helps you anticipate and resolve challenges, makes sure you continue to progress towards your goals, and keeps you accountable to taking the actions necessary to achieve your goals.
Who Uses Mastermind Groups?
The simple answer: A majority of the most successful and impactful entrepreneurs of all time used mastermind groups.
People like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Thomas Edison and Mark Zuckerberg have attributed some of their success to group collaboration and feedback.
Andrew Carnegie changed the course of American history with his steel empire, but did you know he knew very little about steel? The secret to his success was his knowledge of people.
Carnegie surrounded himself with the right individuals. He was savvy enough to ensure he had a small group around him who pushed him to succeed.
The Vagabonds is one of the most famous mastermind groups. Members included Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, President Warren G. Harding and Harvey Firestone (founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company). These men often went on camping trips to discuss their various scientific and business ventures, provide input and inspire new ideas.
According to Todd Tresidder, founder of the major financial management company FinancialMentor.com: “A mastermind is an example of going pro…you build a structure that literally pulls your business forward,” says Tresidder. “It keeps you from getting sidelined [or] distracted because you’re building a support system.”
Why Mastermind Groups Work Well for Lawyers
Mastermind groups have been successful in just about every industry, and law is no different.
The traits that make lawyers good at their jobs tend to make them good mastermind participants.
Attorneys are often good networkers, and the same principles that make you good at networking, like having good listening skills, offering to help first, and staying in touch, translate well into being a good mastermind member.
Lawyers also tend to do well with groups that meet regularly and have a predictable structure, for instance, a facilitated networking group.
A well-run mastermind group has regular meetings, planned far in advance, which can easily be built into a busy calendar.
Plus, lawyers are not afraid to seek advice about practice or business issues from colleagues, and they are typically very generous with their peers when advice is sought from them.
These things combined make an all-lawyer mastermind a formidable group.
What Do Other Lawyers Have to Say About Mastermind Groups?
Other lawyers have caught on to the benefits of mastermind groups and have been using them to grow their practices.
California attorney Christine A. Wilton wrote about her experience with mastermind groups in solo attorney blog MyShingle.com. “Lawyers, especially solos can learn from the business community and garner the power of like-minded individuals to raise the success level of their own group,” says Wilton. ”If you’re not utilizing this platform to propel your law business, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity.”
Solo Practice University founder Susan Cartier Liebel believes mastermind groups are incredibly helpful to solo lawyers.
According to Liebel, colleagues will force each other to stretch beyond their comfort zone, work harder, think larger, support each other when they feel like quitting, and hold each other accountable in a way that inspire everyone to achieve their goals.
What’s Discussed in a Mastermind Group?
A typical mastermind meeting will include time for everyone to share what they have been working on and update the group on their progress.
Also, there will typically be one featured group member per meeting who will present a specific issue or challenge. The rest of the group will provide advice and tips that may help the featured speaker resolve their issue or solve their challenge.
Not only does the feature member benefit from the discussion, it helps other members think more critically about the challenges in their own practice. It also provides members with a roadmap in the event they experience this challenge in the future.
Certain business topics, like marketing, staffing, accounting and cash flow, get discussed frequently.
But interestingly enough, mastermind groups spend as much time – possibly even more – talking about personal things, including:
- how our mindset prevent us from achieving the success we want,
- health issues, and mental health issues,
- how family influences work life, and
- personal successes and failures.
This is important because small business affects all areas of life, including the personal.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Mastermind Group
Here are three tips for getting the most out of your mastermind group:
1. Be Vulnerable:
It’s part of our culture – at least for some of us – to not reveal our challenges to our peers.
To find success in a mastermind, be candid with your fellow mastermind members about your successes and failures, because you can learn more from failure than success.
It is not uncommon for there to be 10+ people in a mastermind group. Obviously, not everyone is going to do a lot of talking at every meeting. In fact, in some meetings, you may do very little talking.
That’s normal. Some of your best business ideas will come while listening quietly to another member present their challenge. And more often than not, the ideas will be unrelated (or tangentially related) to the topic being discussed.
Whether you are talking or not, a mastermind meeting will become your time to think creatively about your business, and your fellow group members will be your inspiration. So make sure you’re listening and using that time to your full advantage
3. Get Together With Your Other Members:
A mastermind group is not just about the meetings, there is just as much value in the interactions that take place in between meetings.
Mastermind members have an affinity for their fellow members that they don’t have with other people. When you work together with other people on something as important as your livelihood, you can’t help but form strong bonds. Meet with your group members socially, even if it’s by video chat.
You will get so much more out of a mastermind group if you do.
How to Start Your Own Mastermind Group
If you’re interested in starting a mastermind, launching the group is the tricky part, especially with a busy practice.
First, you’ll need to find people who will want to join the group. Think of individuals who can contribute unique insights and perspectives to your mastermind.
Once you’ve found one or two people, send them an email asking them about an idea you’ve got.
Keep it simple. Make it easy for people to say yes to talking to you.
Once you have them on the phone, ask them about the challenges they’re going through, and see if they want to join a group that is aimed at solving those challenges.
Once you have enough members, set a regular time and place to meet (either online, over the phone or in person).
The individual steps in getting a mastermind group started are not difficult, but you tend to find success in numbers. It could take a number of weeks to get it going.
Full disclosure, it took us almost 3 months to plan, organize and launch our first mastermind group.
So if you’re not able to spend the time to create your own group, consider joining a professionally facilitated group.