Tag Archives: Mentor

Masterminding and Mentoring in a 5 Step Process

Masterminding: “When two or more minds come together a third invisible intangible force is created likened to a third mind.”… Napoleon Hill. “The Master Key to Riches”

Mentoring is a form of masterminding. 2 minds coming together for the common purpose of unleashing intelligence. There are other forms of masterminding opportunities within a company, that when guided effectively, can take your company to a new level of experiential knowledge. Think of each team in your company as a mastermind team and guide them more effectively. A sales team is a mastermind. An accounting team is a mastermind. A production team is a mastermind. Etc.

One of the most exiting mastermind teams I was on was a sales mastermind group. We were a young group of 5 all under 30 years old, working in a very competitive equipment rental industry, in a recession economy, where the other company’s teams were much more mature and experienced. Our mastermind team increased sales 30% year over year for 3 years in a row, while the competitors sales were decreasing.

How did we do it? We met daily. Most sales teams meet weekly. Our advantage in the recessive economy was the daily mastermind sessions. We had the common goal of increasing sales as individuals and as a team and we were all driven to be the best. At the end of each day, after completing our outside sales calls, the team of 4 sales reps met with the sales manager. We did a round table discussion. Each member of the team discussed each and every sales call they made. For each call they shared what went good, what went bad, what the customer said, what the sales person said. We discussed what could have been done different when it applied. We learned from each other’s mistakes and from each other’s wins. The quality of each person’s sales calls increased dramatically in a short period of time.

Learning curves increase naturally and dramatically in a masterminding environment.

Masterminding and Mentoring in a 5 step process to 4X Learning

Masterminding and Mentoring in a 5 step process to 4X Learning

When I started consulting, one of my client’s customer surveys told them that their weakness in comparison to the competitor was lack of industry knowledge with customer service people. They were a strong competitor new to the market. The competition had been in the market for 20 years. My customer was here for 12 months and grabbing market share, but they wanted more and wanted it quicker. Customer service was the key.

We set up a system for masterminding with the customer service team and set a goal for one-call customer service. There were 4 members on the CS team and a manager. At the end of each day, the outside sales team came in to the office and monitored the customer service phones while they completed their paper work, etc. This freed up the CS team for a mastermind session each day.

The CS manager came out of his office at 4 PM, and the CS team, working in a square cubical system, all stood up at their desks and went through their CS calls for the day. They discussed the challenges, the solutions and wins they came up with for customers. Each team member learned from the others and the knowledge for each team member grew daily and they learned from 4 people’s experience rather than just their own. It 4X their knowledge growth each day.

Why does this masterminding system work so well?

The reason well organized and structured mastermind teams work so well to achieve objectives is simple and it’s been proven in a study done by Gail Matthews of Dominican University at the turn of the century. Matthews put people into 3 groups and recorded their progress on achieving goals.

The 1st group set goals in their mind but never wrote them down. The 2nd group set goals and wrote them down. The 3rd group set goals, wrote them down and set up a system to report their progress to someone on a scheduled and consistent basis.

The group who wrote goals down achieved significantly more than those who did not. The group who wrote goals down and kept themselves accountable to someone else, achieved yet another level of progress unmatched by all the groups. The lesson here is write goals down and keep yourself accountable to others for progress on those goals. The following mastermind system assures your people are writing their goals down and keeping themselves accountable.

How do you implement and use an effective mastermind system?

  1. Set and write down the goals for the team and have each member of the team write down their individual goals. Get each member to write and share; 3 things they want to do better at. 3 challenges they are having. 3 things they are committed to doing that will help them achieve what they want or get through their challenges.
  2. Schedule a consistent time for meetings. Daily, bi-daily, weekly, monthly. What makes sense for your team? With some teams, daily is too much depending on the objectives and desired goal time frame. If you want quick results, meet daily. Don’t waste time. Keep to the agenda.
  3. Set a standard and group round table discussion agenda. What experiences do you want each team member to share? How do you want them to share it? What is the discussion format? Make an effective agenda and stay on track.
  4. Take minutes. Minutes are like writing goals down and they keep people accountable and clear on what they have committed to. Share the minutes with each participant. Begin each meeting with reviewing key items in last meetings minutes and get progress reports when it makes sense.
  5. Keep the meetings going. Don’t stop doing them. Make them part of the company culture. Adjust time frames when it makes sense.

What’s the best size of mastermind group? When I first learned the mastermind principle, one of my mentors shared what he called, a channeled message about ideal mastermind group structure. It was; “Four wise men close and two distant make up the nucleus of your mastermind. One of the four is two.” This was very intriguing to me, so I have been watching and analyzing mastermind teams for 30+ years. I have found that the most powerful and effective teams are 4 to 6 members. Jesus’ mastermind team was 13 so there is obviously room for adjustment here.

‘One of the four is two’ means to me that it’s best to have someone who can play devil’s advocate in the group — seeing both the positive and negative consequences of each idea. An effective mastermind group includes a participant that can explain two sides of any story.

‘Two wise men distant’ can mean having two members of the mastermind group that are not always present at the meetings but hear about the agenda and offer input through one of the four close members. A general manager might be one of the two distant members of a company mastermind team. Maybe an HR person or an outside consultant or mentor. There are many options. Just do it. Set up masterminding teams in your business and guide them. It will 4X your results. Good luck.

Thanks for reading and have a great day.

Mike Garska.
President, FindAMentor.com

Don’t Waste Your Time with a Mentor Program

In theory, leaders, managers, and employees largely agree on the importance of a having a mentor program. Corporate mentor programs are often named as one of the Top 5 reasons people choose an employer. This moves into the Top 3 when you whittle down the list to Gen Y, Gen Z, and High-Potentials. More and more companies are acknowledging the weight and importance of a mentor program, but the programs often fall short of expectations from all sides.

When the urgency is cranked up within an organization, which it almost always is, mentor programs often don’t garner much attention from executive leaders. Who can blame them? What’s the ROI on a mentoring program? Not very high in most cases, but why?

To answer this question, we must examine the reason most mentoring programs are setup in the first place and how they are most often implemented.

Top 5 Reasons Mentoring Programs are Established

  1. Recruiting – demonstrates to the outside world that the organization values its employees
  2. Retention – studies show that employees who are mentored stay on the job longer
  3. Engagement – employees who have confidants at work stay longer and work harder
  4. Knowledge Transfer – quicker onboarding and higher productivity
  5. Cultural Management – improved communication and alignment

Beyond recruiting, most organizations actualize very little of these desired benefits. Often it’s not from a lack of energy, desire, or time. In fact, mid-level managers frequently spend a disproportionate amount of time engaging in activities they define as “mentoring” compared to the benefit to the mentee, mentor, and organization. The single biggest reason why corporate mentor programs fail to live up to expectations is simple; LACK of STRUCTURE. Let’s visit the difference between a structured and unstructured mentoring program.

Unstructured Program:

  • No link to business objectives
  • Goals are nonspecific
  • Results are not tracked
  • Matching is based on proximity
  • Program is limited and exclusive
  • Meetings are infrequent and ad-hoc
  • Best practices are not followed

STRUCTURED Program:

  • Tied to business objectives
  • Success goals are established
  • Results are measured
  • Matching is based on individual and organizational needs
  • Management is aligned
  • Best practices are developed and shared
  • Support resources are available

After a short review of these differences, which type of program do you think is more beneficial to all parties? If you answered “STRUCTURED” as most people do, then why do most programs contain very little structure. The simple reason is time. Structuring a mentoring program takes time and with urgent and important activities tugging at employees and organizations all day long there is very little time to structure a program that truly yields the desired benefits. So why should your organization spend the time and energy to structure its mentoring program? Because, if not, you’re just WASTING TIME.

Devin Lebrun
FindaMentor.com

12 simple Tricks to Success – Part 11

This is the 11th blog of a series, “12 Simple tricks to Success” from Findamentror.com. We reveal one trick each month for you to read and practice so that in 12 months you’ll have developed some habits that can expedite your success. Enjoy!

Just like every trade and profession has its’, “tricks of the trade”, all very successful people have 12 tricks they do, no matter what industry or institution they work in. They do those things consistently. They are important processes that great and successful people follow.

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Trick number Eleven:

Keep Books and Sell. . . manage your finances and sell yourself

I think that running our personal life like a successful business is a good idea if we want to be successful and grow our wealth.

One of my mentors once told me that to be successful in business you have to do two things really well. You have to keep impeccable books and you have to sell consistently. We can likely do one adequately and the other really well and survive in business. If we do both poorly we will fail for sure. But when we do both really well, we dramatically increase our chances of success. Same thing goes for personal life.

Business people make up detailed budgets for expenses and revenue. They keep books. They have to for banks and government. They know what’s happening financially in their business or they don’t get loans from banks. As people, we can do the same thing on a personal level, to great detail, like a successful business.

When we watch our personal finances really close we have a better chance of growing our personal wealth. Even if our income is low, we can budget our finances to grow our wealth, when we know what our expenses are in relation to our take home pay. The simple basic rule to follow in all businesses, and personal life, is that we must spend less than we make if we want to grow our wealth.

My mother raised 5 children on her own working a low paying retail job. We struggled and lived on very little and she had almost nothing left over after payday, until the kids left home. Yet, she still managed to grow her wealth enough to give her a comfortable life and own her own home, as well as a car. She never had fancy stuff or a lot of toys, but owning a home and car in Canada put her in the top 20% of the world’s wealthiest people. I’ve traveled to many countries and most of the world’s people would be happy to own a nice little house in Canada and their own car while still being able to pay all the bills, eat well and be healthy.

She was blessed to have been raised in Canada. Her parents emigrated from Poland so she and her siblings could have more than they did. They followed the same rules of spending less than they made and they were able to give their kids a more comfortable life than they had. My mom did the same and so did I. The financial habits were passed down in a natural mentoring environment of parent child relationships.

We all followed the basic rule of spending less than we made. We watched and counted every penny made and spent. It takes discipline but it’s really not that hard.

Successful businesses make budgets to know what they are spending compared to what their revenues are. You and I can do the same thing. When we make personal budgets, we know what’s going on financially for ourselves and we can act accordingly. If we don’t know what we’re spending our money on, we can’t make wise decisions.

Write down what you are spending your money on. Do a personal budget and follow it. I’m sure you know how much you are making. Compare the two and keep it simple — spend less than you make.

Some of us will need an accountant, or outside help, to set up a basic personal finance plan and budget. If you need it, get help. Plan your finances.

The second part of successful living and successful business operation is selling.

Businesses know the importance of selling. They build entire departments for it just like they build accounting departments.

As people we are selling ourselves every day. When we are applying for jobs, we are selling ourselves. When we are building our networks in any way, we are selling ourselves. When we are trying to get new friends or looking for a spouse, at a basic level, we are selling ourselves.

Most people don’t know the basic selling process. Businesses spend thousands and millions of dollars training sales people. I’ve been fortunate to take many sales courses. I worked in the sales field for many years and I owned business for many years after that. By the time I was thirty five I had made over twenty thousand sales calls.

I want to give you the basics of selling. The most important thing to do first is to dispel a myth. Have you ever heard someone say, “You’re a good talker; you’ll make a good sales person”. That is the most incorrect statement to make in regards to sales.

The best sales people are actually the best questioners and the best listeners. After they question and listen, they speak as little as they have to. I promote a Socratic Method of sales. The Socratic Method is about asking questions. The more we ask questions and understand our customers, the easier it is to sell them something they need or want.

Here is the simple Socratic SUCCESS Sales Formula.

Search for customers: Prospect. Talk to as many people as you can about what you are selling and ask questions to see if they want or need what you are offering. Build your network for business or personal wealth.

Understand and share: Introduce yourself briefly and ask questions to understand your customer or potential network person. Get to know them a little on a personal level. Be inquisitive. Show you care.

Clarify: Discovery, qualifying and expectation management is key: Find out exactly what the customer or potential network person wants. Ask questions to know their expectations. Qualify them to make sure you can meet their expectations and that you can provide what they want or need. If you can’t meet expectations or offer them what they really want or need, tell them where to go to meet their needs and wants — refer them. Don’t waste time with the rest of the sales process if they don’t qualify for the product or service you are offering.

Connect on a deeper level. Now that you know what their expectations are and that you can meet those expectations, present your product or service and demonstrate how you can meet their needs and wants. If you’re building a personal network do the same thing. Show them how they will benefit from the relationship — do it informally on a personal level.

Manage expectations and trial close in this part of the process. Closing in the sales process means asking the customer to buy and then closing the sale by writing up the paper work. Trial closing means testing the waters to see if they are ready to buy. Asking a trial closing question might be asking if they think this product or service will meet their needs. It might be asking if they want to pay for this by cash or credit card. It’s testing to see if they really want to buy or engage at this time. If they aren’t ready, we address the objections and concerns by clarifying at a deeper level.

We get clearer on what the needs and wants are, and we adjust expectations accordingly. We ask more questions to make sure we can satisfy the customer needs, wants and expectations. Once we have answered all their objections, concerns and are confident we can meet or exceed expectations, and that our product or service fits for them, we go to the next step.

Execute: ask for the order, close the sale, and manage expectations again. Make sure their expectations are accurate and can be met and exceeded by the company. Then write up the sale. Complete the paper work accurately.

Paper flow, information flow and procedures have to be followed exactly so that any possible future issues can be resolved quickly. Having accurate records of agreements is crucial to success. A sales contract is an agreement that must be kept whether written or verbal. It might be needed to clarify expectations if there is a issue with warranty or service deliverables.

If you are building a personal network or applying for a job, make sure you can do what you said you will do, and keep your agreements (verbal or written).

Survey: Ask how we did. It’s important to know how we are being perceived if we want to grow our customer base or network. The only way to truly do that, is to ask. A survey or questionnaire is a good method for finding out how we are doing or being perceived. When we know where we are making mistakes we can correct ourselves. When we know what we have to improve on we can make adjustments. If we don’t know, we can’t change or fix. Be aware. Ask.

On a personal level, ask your friends and network people how they perceive you. You might learn something about yourself. You might learn about a character goal you need to set and work towards achieving.

Solidify: Follow-up and ask for referrals. Solidify the relationship. Follow up at a later time to make sure the expectations are met and, or, exceeded. Genuinely ask how the customer is doing. If the customer is happy, ask for a referral.

A personal network will naturally grow with introductions when people like us. The more you make an effort to connect with people and show interest in them by asking about them, the more they will like you. People introduce friends all the time. Your network can grow.

We are selling ourselves everyday to some degree. When you get in the habit of using the SUCCESS selling method, your network will grow.

There is one last very important basic component to running a successful business. We have to communicate really well and have cooperation and collaboration between all departments.

Same thing in personal life. We have to communicate really well and build collaboration into our lives. Go back to the 12 tricks posts about communicating (Part 8) and networking (Part 4) and refresh your memory. Keep books, sell, communicate and network and your life will be fulfilling. Cheers. Have a wonderful day. Thanks for reading !

Mike Garska, FindAMentor.com

12 simple Tricks to Success – Part 4

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Trick number four:

“Build your networks wisely.”
. . . Find mentors, Coaches and Key Advisers.

The people we associate with, personally and professionally, become part of our network and affect our success rate. Each of us has a unique set of friends, associates and colleagues.

Our networks can help us advance or hold us back. When our networks expand, our careers build. When our networks stagnate, our careers stagnate. Networking has the potential to greatly determine how much opportunity we encounter.

Building our networks involves meeting as many people as we can. This was easier in sales careers than others in the past, and as a result, the sales profession created more millionaires than other professions. It’s different now.

Social media and the internet has changed the world and expanded opportunity. Regardless of our career choice, we have many opportunities for creating and expanding our networks and our careers.

Aside from going the extra mile at work (which helps influence networks positively), we can go the extra mile in building networks — work and personal. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Youtube, LinkedIn and other social media sites can generate many new contacts. Signing up to blogs, email lists and listening to podcasts can help us too.

Don’t forget the personal face-to-face networking options though. They are very important. We can become involved in school functions with our children, corporate sports teams, community associations, chambers of commerce, or adult education courses. There are many options, personal and online, but remember — it’s up to each individual to follow through on them. You are the only person who can build your network.

Although each person’s network is unique, everyone’s network would benefit from the addition of a few key advisers. First and foremost are good mentors — people we can trust and talk too openly and who have expertise in an area of life we are working in or have a passion for. Mentors can save us much time in the world of trial and error.

Being part of mastermind groups is also key to positive networking and success. “When two or more people come together in common focus, a third invisible intangible force is created likened to A THIRD MIND.” …Napoleon Hill. Get the third mind working for you. Everyone is part of different mastermind groups. Masterminding is an expansion of the peer mentoring concept and can take different forms.

When a mentor and mentee come together to help the mentee, a mastermind group is formed. When two or more mentees work together to bounce ideas between them, with a focus on improvement for each other, they are masterminding. Work teams are mastermind groups: A sales team is a mastermind group focused on increasing sales. An accounting team is a mastermind group focused on tracking funds. Often, work mastermind teams could benefit with more focus on goals and communication structure. Hiring a coach to facilitate might help your work mastermind teams be more effective.

Even families are a type of mastermind group. They typically focus on maintenance and expansion of love.

Get the third minds working for you! Make sure members in your mastermind groups are on the same page — that they are clear on goals and progress for the group, and the goals for individuals in the group. Set a schedule for meetings and keep to it. Even if one member can’t make it to a meeting, do the meeting with who can.

It’s a good idea to acquire two additional network components. When I was starting my cellular phone business, a mentor told me to make sure I had good advisers for legal and accounting processes. Especially when we are self-employed, but even if we are not, having a good lawyer and accountant keep us safe and informed on legal and tax matters.

If we are determined to proceed on the path to success, we will without doubt need accounting and legal advice at some point—whether we’re buying a house, doing our taxes, or closing a deal on a corporate merger. As our wealth builds, good accountants and lawyers become more important.

I think it’s important to have a couple communications mentors. Communicating is something most people could become better at. I’ve found, when I survey employees for companies, it’s the most identified issue for improvement in businesses.

When we are faced with crucial conversations and difficult circumstance, how we communicate is very important. I will often make a phone call to a communications expert before I tackle a tough situation or conversation with others. I encourage those I coach to do the same.

Another key adviser might be a good psychologist. There are many obstacles on the path to success — career setbacks, emotional struggles, and self-doubt to name a few. A psychologist can help us deal with complicated emotional processes during difficult periods. Psychologists are expensive, however, so if funds are unavailable, we can seek a life process mentor—a compassionate friend or advisor whom we trust enough to share the intimate details of our life. Typically, this is someone we respect and admire, and he or she will have experienced the same situation or issue we are experiencing in our life.

Be careful with life process mentors and psychologists. We don’t want one that will enable us, and allow us to stay stuck in our past emotional traps and dysfunction, justifying our inability to move forward. We want to acknowledge our dysfunction and get tools to move through it, over it, under it, or around it when it triggers. Progress is what matters if we want to grow into all that we can be.

For successful people, the process of building networks continually shifts. People in our network can play different roles at different times. When I was deciding to move my cellular phone business to a larger store, I hired one of my mentors as a consultant/coach to help me complete a business plan and hire sales people. He coached me on what to say to the bank in order to get financing and on how to interview prospective personnel. In essence, he coached me on making decisions, like he always had as a mentor. During this period, the relationship was similar but intensified because I was paying him for a specific purpose. Mentoring is free, coaching is done for a fee. Later the relationship shifted to one of peer mentoring.

For successful people the process of building networks seldom stops. They understand that the more people they know, the more advice they will receive, the more sales they will make and the more fun they will have. If they can think of one or two people they’d like to adopt as mentors or peer mentors, they adopt them. We can do the same.

We do not have to accept everything our mentors, accountant, lawyer or psychologist says as the absolute truth, but we can listen and decide what is best for our situation. The more opinions we collect from people we trust, the more options we become aware of, and the easier it becomes to make decisions. We can save ourselves a great deal of time and hardship by listening to capable people whom we trust to have our best interest in mind.

Go out and build your network. Shift it where it needs to be shifted. Be open. Be confident and grow.

Have a great day.

Thanks for reading.

If You Want Your Life to Change, Get Better at Masterminding!

masterminding

Masterminding

I first learnt about masterminding reading Napoleon Hill’s books. He wrote many books on the subject of being successful and growing rich. Basic success principles haven’t changed for thousands of years. Hill interviewed thousands of the world’s most powerful and influential people throughout most of the 1900’s — Ford, Churchill, Gandhi, Bell, Edison, Roosevelt, Carnegie, etc. Writing about success was his life’s mission. In every book he devoted an entire chapter to the masterminding principle. He said everyone he interviewed told him they owed much of their success to the mastermind principle.

Great men and women around the world use masterminding principles in their daily life — always have. They build incredible networks where they source information to help them make wise decisions. Ask any successful person and they will confirm that their accomplishments happen as a result of using strong teams and implementing ideas from other people.

Using other people’s money is one way of getting help from others. It’s involves using a finance mastermind group for the business. One of Canada’s billionaires (Ted Rogers) once told me in a luncheon that he would borrow as much as people would lend him as long as he could cash flow the commitment. If they’ll lend him a million, he’ll take it. If they want to lend him a billion, he’ll take it, to help him achieve his goals. He used masterminds in every part of his business and made sure his people kept them effective. His team of vice presidents was the lead mastermind group and they coordinated the successful business culture through the many down-line mastermind groups.

Watch this video to learn more about Masterminding and peer mentoring:

In business, an accounting team is a mastermind, a sales team is a mastermind, a production team is a mastermind, etc. The leaders of these teams come together to form another senior management mastermind. There are four critical and simple masterminds to establish in any business that will assure success in almost any economy:

1. A mastermind group focused on happy customers.

2. A mastermind group focused on happy employees.

3. A mastermind group focused on happy suppliers.

4. A mastermind group focused on leading the above three groups to keep the shareholders happy.

It’s a four win situation and great success tool. In smaller companies, the mastermind groups may be smaller and some of the members may not be employees. An accountant, lawyer or business coach may participate in some small company mastermind groups.

In very small companies and start-ups the mastermind groups have to be assembled in the form of mentors, and/or service providers you might contract too, or buy from. We want to mastermind with people who don’t necessarily work for our company full time, or at all, in a start-up or very small business environment.

I started a cellular phone business in the late 1980’s from the trunk of my car and built it to three stores and 3 million in annual sales over a nine year period. At first I was working by myself with service providers to back me up. The service providers became part of my mastermind group for customer service. It enabled me to use the word ‘we’ when talking to customers about exceptional customer service, even though I was a one-man business at the time.

A very important word to consider using when talking to customers, suppliers or colleagues is ‘we’. A mentor once told me to always use the word, ‘we’, when talking to customers, even though I was a sole proprietor at the time. Using the word ‘we’ gives the large customers confidence they are dealing with a team that can meet their service requirements.

No-one accomplishes a major goal in life without the help of others. Success is a ‘we’ situation. Using the word ‘I’ is not inclusive of the team needed to service a customer or supplier, even if that team is not employed directly by my company. ‘I’ can be interpreted as egotistical expression — turning customers off. ‘We’ is accurate. If we’re selling a product, we bought the product from someone so it’s the manufacturer and my company providing the product and service. It’s not ‘I’, it’s ‘we.

Where do we find the people so we can assemble our mastermind groups for a start-up company? When building the cellular phone business, I had a minimum of four mentors to call to discuss challenges with. I would call different mentors for different challenges. I was very fortunate to have many mentors by the time I started my own business. Past managers, co-workers, suppliers and customers who I established relationships with while working for other companies became friends and mentors throughout my career. My mentoring network continues to grow vertically— more mentors and mentees.

I use mentors and mastermind groups for important aspects of my life. I have communication masterminds I consult with to keep my communication skills honed. I have spirituality masterminds I consult with to help maintain my integrity. I have business masterminds to help keep me successful. I see my family as a mastermind group for healthy loving. I see my network of friends as a mastermind group to keep my life balanced between work and fun.

Mastermind groups can be utilized in different formats. In a business the most common format is a face-to-face meeting. In a very small business the most common format is by contacting at least four different mentors on the phone in separate conversations, or in separate meetings. I talk to at least four guys about current issue or challenges. After listening to each, I decide which information is right for me to use, and act accordingly. In all cases masterminding uses more than one mind to discover and evaluate options and help make wise decisions.

Two minds are better than one, but what is the ideal group size for accomplishing goals? A mentor once shared with me what he called a ‘channelled from above’ idea on masterminding: “Four wise men close and two distant make up the nucleus of your mastermind. One of the four is two.” I was 17 when he shared it with me and I had read 3 of Napoleon Hills books by that time so I knew exactly what he meant by mastermind.

From the beginning of my work career I’ve watched and evaluated effectiveness of groups focused on objectives. The most successful teams I’ve been on, and witnessed, used the channelled mastermind formula. “Four wise men close and two distant make up the nucleus of your mastermind. One of the four is two.” ‘One of the four is two’ means to me that it’s best to have someone who can play devil’s advocate in the group — seeing both the positive an negative consequences of each idea. An effective mastermind group includes a participant that can explain two sides of any story.

‘Two wise men distant’ can mean having two members of the mastermind group that are not always present at the meetings but hear about the agenda and offer input through one of the four close members. An accountant or lawyer might be two distant members of a business mastermind group. Mentors of primary, ‘close’ mastermind group members might be the two distant members of a mastermind group.

In all cases, when I see four strong members in a business mastermind group I see success. In the early part of my sales career I was part of a four person sales team. We were all very young and inexperienced in the industrial rental equipment field and had just gone through a huge economic downturn. We were also starting an aviation rental business. The company we were working for fired their entire sales team and hired a new young sales force. All of us were under thirty and closer to 25 years old. Every night of the week this team met with our sales manager and each member discussed our entire day’s activity. We masterminded our sales process with the team every day. We all learnt from each other what the best words to use, or approach to take, would be with different types of people and different companies. I received raises every six months because of performance. Sales grew 30% year over year for 3 years until I left for another opportunity. I was sales manager of a large industrial rental company selling to large plants and construction companies at 27. At 28 I started a cellular phone business.

We used the channelled mastermind formula to help build the cellular phone business. I’ve been doing business consulting and coaching for 15 years now and we help customers build and adjust their mastermind groups using the same formula.

Your success will relate directly to how effective your mastermind groups are. Life and business is a team effort. Masterminding is happening in your life whether you like it or not. Are you directing it to your satisfaction? Are your outcomes what you want? Remember the definition of insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” If you want your life to change and get better, get better at masterminding.

To get better at masterminding, you have to become a great communicator. Look for our next blog post on being a great communicator — communicating from the HIP (Human Interaction Process). Sign up to our newsletter below to receive posts directly in to your mailbox.

How to find a business mentor!

How to find a  business mentor online and in your community and plan for your mentor sessions.

How do I find a business mentor? Many people are looking for business and career mentors. Career mentor categories are the most popular at Http://FindAMentor.com .

When you need to expand your mentor network beyond your community for any reason, the internet is the next best place to look. Having at least four mentors for each aspect of life that is important to you is a very good idea. We’ll give you tips for finding a business mentor in your community or on the internet in this blog. We’ll tell you how to plan your request for mentor and your mentoring conversations to build your confidence.

We suggest starting by trying to find a mentor in your community or city. Mentor relationships are best with face to face communication when possible. Four key aspects of effective communication are present. (Facial expression, body language, voice tone, and word selection.) Each time we remove one of the four key aspects of communication from the interaction, the effectiveness can decrease.

The first thing to do in order to find a business mentor is to identify your first choices for mentors in your community or city. Who do you admire in your field of business? Do some research. Try going to industry events like lunches, seminars, talks and conferences. Join community groups — your local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. Chambers of commerce often host networking events and meetings that bring beginning entrepreneurs and successful businesspeople together. Talk to people, listen to their stories and pursue further meetings with those whom you can learn from.

Be sure that you choose someone who has experience and connections within your area and level of business. If you’re a budding entrepreneur in, say, the building and home repair industry, you shouldn’t waste your time trying to court a senior executive at a multinational engineering company. Focus on finding someone who has started a venture that’s similar to yours, and who understands the trials and tribulations of building a business in that area.

Keep in mind that an adviser who offers his time in return for compensation is not the same thing as a mentor. While advisers and consultants can be very helpful, true mentors are effective partly because they are only interested in helping others succeed.

Now Begin your lists.

  • Write or type all the names down of people you’ve identified as potential mentors.
  • Beside their names, write down what you admire about each of them and how you think each can help you.

Make a list of requirements for a mentor you want to find online that you don’t know yet.

  • What type of experience do you expect them to have?
  • Are they working now, or are they retired? Does it matter?
  • How much experience do they need to have to be your mentor?
  • How old should they be?
  • What do you want to learn from them?
  • Which positive emotions do you want to learn to invoke? Confidence, patience, persistence, gratitude, humor, belief and perseverance? Positive emotion is critical to achieving goals.

This is like goal writing and writing down goals is the most important first step to achieving any objective. Do what works best for you. Write your goals and lists on paper or type them in a document you can save. When you write down what you admire about your potential mentors, you identify personality aspect and intellectual goals for you. You have now written goals for what, and who you, want to become.

Now that you have your list, prepare your request for a mentor—plan your introduction conversation with them, or their assistant, and plan your email. Look at your list.

  • Write down the good things you want to tell them, about them, first.
  • Then write down what you want to tell them about why you want them to mentor you.
  • Tell them why you would be a good mentee.
  • Decide how long you want your first mentor session to be. I suggest asking for 15 minutes of their time for the first session.
  • If there is something you can offer them, do so.
  • Write out your introduction conversation and your introduction email. Keep it short and simple.
  • Practice the introduction conversation a few times. (Practicing with other people is good too)
  • Have someone edit your introduction email and read it before you begin sending it out. Make it right.
  • List contacts you have, that might know the mentors you want to connect with.
  • Research, on the internet, how you might contact your potential mentors.

Begin to connect. Warm contacts or introductions are best. Call and ask your friend to introduce you if the option is available. If you don’t have a common acquaintance, you can try phoning them, or their assistant, and asking for a short mentor session using your preplanned introduction conversation. If you don’t reach them on the phone, send your pre-planned letter or email to them.

If you don’t find a mentor in your community, don’t give up. Try the 100s of online mentor sites. Begin at http://FindAMentor.com. Join the site; build a profile in the career category you are looking for a mentor in. Search the database for mentors in that category. If you don’t find one right away, check back every month or so to see if a mentor is joined in that category.

If FindAmentor.com doesn’t have the mentor you are looking for, check their Mentor Resources and Website page. Look in your geographic area and then for sites that have mentors in your field of interest. If you don’t find the right website there, then search in Google the specific type of mentor you want. For example search the words ‘business mentor’ or ‘engineering mentor’ or ‘carpenter mentor’, etc. There are many business mentor programs available online and/or through professional and trade organizations. Some unions may offer them as well. Look for sector– or industry-specific events and groups on Facebook; subscribe to useful newsletters; follow interesting or relevant individuals from your region on Twitter or LinkedIn; then get in touch and ask questions.

Now that you’ve found your mentor it’s time to plan for your first session.

  • What do you want to accomplish and learn about? Write it down.
  • What questions are most critical to ask? Write them down. (2 max — you want to keep within time limit of 15 minutes).
  • Agree on an action item or items for you, the mentee. Write them down during the meeting so you can report back the next meeting.
  • Watch the clock. Close the session on time or ask to talk longer if it’s going well.
  • Decide if you will have another mentor session with this mentor and set the time and time limit.
  • Thank your mentor.

All this shows professionalism and respect for your mentor. It’s a good thing.

Begin to do what you said you would in your mentor session. Every time we cross an item off our list, we gain confidence and feel better about ourselves. Use lists, cross items off and build your confidence. It’s up to you. Just do it.

If you are in a position to share the skills you have learned, you should give back by becoming a mentor yourself. Finding success is hard work, and entrepreneurs could use a little help along the way.

As the American businessman Zig Ziglar once said: “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.” So get out there and find the right mentor to help you along the path to success.

In closing, remember to make your list of potential mentors and what you like about them, write out what you want to learn from them, plan your introduction conversation, and begin to connect. Try warm contacts first, and then try phoning and then emailing. If you don’t find a mentor in your community, try online at different websites.

Plan your first mentor session; key questions you want to ask and what you want to learn from the session. Watch the clock, keep the session to the time limit you agreed on, and ask for an extension of time if it is going well. Agree on an action item for you to complete, and report back on in the next session, if you agree to a next session.

Just do it. Your confidence will build as you succeed. Never give up. Perseverance,  persistence, patience, gratitude and belief are all key ingredients to success. Build the positive emotion and you will succeed. Your mentor will help you.

Good luck with your new connections. Thank you for reading.

Mike.

FindAMentor.com

January is National Mentor Month. Be a Mentor!

Be a Mentor! January is National Mentoring Month.

Millions of people around the world and in your community are looking for a mentor. Be a mentor to someone new this January either online or in your community. “Mentoring Transforms Adversity into Achievement.” The Mentor News.

President Barack Obama issued a proclamation designating January as National Mentoring Month in 2014. He stated, “In every corner of our Nation, mentors push our next generation to shape their ambitions, set a positive course, and achieve their boundless potential. During National Mentoring Month, we celebrate everyone who teaches, inspires, and guides young Americans as they reach for their dreams.”

Around the world people rely on mentoring to maintain and grow their families, communities and businesses. It’s our duty to give back. Thought and emotional processes that are critical to success cannot be taught and learned in a classroom alone. Real life experience is needed to teach our new generations the success tools required to succeed in families, communities and businesses.  Benjamin Franklin said: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and show me and I learn.”

I take on one new mentor each year from FindAMentor.com and then I hide my profile so I’m not flooded with requests. Most of us mentor many people and we have many informal mentors. I mentor my sons, their friends, my nieces and nephews, business colleagues, spirituality friends, etc.  Some people I mentor once a month, others once a quarter or once a year. The mentoring relationship differs with each mentee and usually shifts over time in each relationship. Some of my mentors I only see once a year now. As a mentor, we can set the time frames for a mentee relationship. I allow 1 hour per month of time for new mentees. Often, after the first session, time requirements diminish.

Mentoring is a lifelong natural process we all do to different degrees as mentors and mentees. Remember, mentors often learn as much as their mentees in a mentoring relationship. They feel rewarded.

Make a list of the characteristics you are looking for in a mentee and what questions you want to ask them, so you can determine how to help now or if they can be helped:

  • What type of experience do you expect them to have, if any?
  • Are they involved in the field of interest of career now, or just wanting to be?
  • How much experience do they need to have to be my mentee, if any?
  • How old should they be?
  • Should they be male or female?
  • Ask the mentee questions to determine if they are a good communicator. What does a good communicator look like?
  • Ask questions to determine what emotional process habits they have and if they are the right ones to succeed.
  • Can you help them with confidence, patience, persistence and perseverance?
  • Ask questions to determine what knowledge they have in your field right now.
  • What do they need to know that they don’t now?

Peer mentoring or masterminding is a great option if you want to have far reaching affect. Masterminding is simply a group of people working together and meeting regularly to achieve common objectives. Napoleon Hill identified Masterminding as one of the common denominators required in achieving success of any magnitude after he interviewed thousands of the world’s most successful people.  Any executive team is a mastermind. Sales teams, accounting teams or production teams, etc., are all mastermind groups. When a mastermind group is active, “a third invisible intangible force is created likened to a third mind’, writes Napoleon Hill. Hill devoted an entire chapter to masterminding in each of the many success tool books he wrote.

As a mentor, if you want to have a greater effect on more people, try leading a peer mentoring or masterminding group as a senior mentor. By leading a mastermind group you mentor more than one person at once and dramatically increase the learning curve in each of your mentees. Here’s how it can work best:

  • Have 4 to 6 people in the mastermind group.
  • The group identifies objectives each member, and the group, wants to achieve. Minutes are taken in each session by one of the members. Often the minute responsibilities are shared from session to session. Minutes are typed and forwarded to each member.
  • The senior mentor shares the knowledge and emotional traits necessary to achieve objectives the group has identified.
  • The mentees discuss how to utilize the knowledge and invoke the emotional traits determined necessary to succeed.
  • In each session, each mentee identifies goals to be achieved and practical actions they are committing to accomplishing before the next session.
  • In each session the mentees discuss their actions and goals achieved, or not, since the last session. Wins and challenges are discussed in detail by each mentee or mastermind member. Learning curves are increased dramatically when each person’s daily, weekly or monthly activities are shared and listened too. When there are two people sharing we learn twice as much, twice as fast. When four people share we learn four times as fast and four times as much.

The most successful masterminds I’ve witnessed in a business environment meet every week day. I’ve seen sales teams increase sales 30% year over year in a tough economy as a result of meeting daily. I’ve witnessed customer service teams increase product knowledge and improve customer service dramatically when the team meets daily. Meeting schedules are more demanding in a business team environment. Peer mentoring type masterminding with different purposes require much less time. I meet with a spirituality group once a week.

Common mentoring is a type of masterminding as well. When I meet with one mentor I am masterminding my development. When I call four different mentors and ask for an opinion on a challenge, I’m still masterminding using a different format.  I take what fits for me from each mentor and discard the rest.

Having at least 4 mentors for every aspect of life that is important to you is a great idea. I personally have four or more business mentors and the same for spirituality mentors. I have 4 communications mentors. I have mentors for hobbies like construction or renovations. We can and do have mentors for many aspects of life. It’s a good idea to continue growing our mentor network. I meet new people every year that I use as mentors.

Be a mentor to one more person this year. Millions of people are in need of guidance and searching it out. If you find a new mentee on-line at FindAMentor.com or another website utilize the ‘Tools and Tips’ pages (top menu on home page) at FindAMentor.com. There are mentee and mentor questionnaire forms that you can use to help you verify the authenticity of someone you meet on-line as a prospective mentee or mentor. There are tips for being a good mentee and mentor. There are tips for the different types of mentoring you might be interested in utilizing for your company or organization.

If you need a daily inspirational email from us, join the emailing list. We won’t send you spam, we will just inspire you every morning with some inspirational quotes from a different mastermind group each day. We want to motivate you to achieve your goals. Go out and make it a great day. Thank you for reading.

Please tell your friends to mentor someone. Millions of people are looking for mentors. And we can all be a mentor to someone in at least one field of interest.