Keep Your Team in the Game

Michele Peterson here to wrap up our mastermind week in The Writer’s Life.

Now that you know how to form and run your own mastermind group, let’s talk about keeping that group going over the long haul.

But first, a quick story …

Two college football teams started the year with high hopes of a winning season. The coaches had recruited strong teams. The players had a shared vision of success. Nothing stood in the way of either team winning the championship at the end of the year.

But then on one team, players started missing practices. They were busy with their lives outside the team. Soon, some weren’t even showing up to games. They thought, “The rest of the team can do it without me this time. They’ll understand that I’m busy.”

Of course, their absence hurt the team.

On the other team, the players conscientiously made every practice. More than that, they prepared beforehand. And they gave 110% during every game.

They made it to the championship game … and won!

So which players would you want on your mastermind team?

The 5 Ps of a Good Team Player

A good mastermind group member is:

1 – Present

Be committed to showing up and being present. Everybody brings a unique perspective to the group, and the group dynamic and energy is definitely diminished when someone is missing. Don’t sell yourself short and think you don’t matter to your group … you do!

2 – Punctual

Be on time to group meetings (or, as is the case with our group, conference calls). This is a simple matter of showing respect for your teammates.

3 – Prepared

If the meeting is going to be about goals and accountability, think about your goals ahead of time and be prepared to discuss them. Likewise, if the meeting centers on another topic – do your homework, and be prepared to participate in the discussion.

4 – Participative

A good mastermind member is an active participant who both gets and gives back to the group. Don’t assume that someone else will respond to a request for a copy critique in your place or that everyone else will rally around the member who needs support. In other words, don’t just enjoy the benefits of the group for yourself without returning the favor for others.

5 – Positive

At all times. There is absolutely no room for negativity in a successful mastermind group.

It’s a good idea to do a regular self-check to make sure that you’re fulfilling your commitment to the group and being a good team player.

But what happens when a group member is falling short of these five Ps? There’s no referee who will call a penalty. It’s up to you as a fellow team member to help find a solution.

That’s when you call your team into a huddle …

Calling a Time-Out

When you notice a recurring problem with a member of your mastermind group, the first step is to find out what’s really going on.

It’s important to be nonjudgmental and non-threatening. The purpose isn’t to lay blame, but rather to get the member back on track.

Feelings can get hurt in this process if you’re not careful. Groups can fall apart instead of growing stronger, so you need to proceed with sensitivity and respect for everyone involved.

Sometimes, just a gentle reminder of the commitment expected from members of the group is enough. Other times, a little extra mentoring is needed.

And sometimes, the conversation needs to be about whether the member should consider opting out of the group.

When everybody in your mastermind is a good team player, your group has a better chance of sustained success. And so do you.

It’s not always going to be easy. But it IS worth it!

Thank you for visiting our village this week. On behalf of all of my fellow Copy Stars, here’s to your success …

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Published: September 28, 2012

4 Responses to “Keep Your Team in the Game”

  1. Michele, I've enjoyed mastermind week! Well written helpful guidelines, observations, & suggestions. Much of it can be applied to working relationships. In fact, I'm forwarding your 5Ps to a colleague struggling with her team. I'm fortunate in that I'm part of a "little engine that could" group that I value very much. And now recent participation in the Cause Marketing course has led me to another group that is active, supportive and positive, too. I know how lucky I am! Thank you!

    JudyB-RaleighSeptember 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm

  2. Thanks for writing this gem of a piece: I really enjoyed reading it.

    However, teams can also fall apart despite fulfilling the conditions or prerequisites that you have mentioned.

    Please let me bring to your attention the social phenomenon called groupthink.

    Groupthink occurs when the group thinks and supersedes the original thought of a single individual within that group.

    The individual with an unique idea is silenced due to peer pressure and social conformity.

    Thus, the wrong decision is taken, which leads to all sorts of dysfunctions in any organization.

    Archan MehtaSeptember 29, 2012 at 12:58 pm

  3. Michele, thank you for this article. Reading it has refreshed my commitment to my own mastermind group, and provided me a mirror of my own lapses in responsibility to my team. Family and personal difficulties can certainly interfere with our professional responsibilities, but as you pointed out, when it happens, everyone pays. Thank you for reminding us all that we need the support we have with our mastermind mind teams and that each of us plays a vital role that benefits everyone.

    CyndeeSeptember 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm

  4. Thanks for the great articles, Michele. I thoroughly enjoyed them!

    If I had to put my finger on one overarching point, it would be that Mastermind Group members are interdependent. When strong, independent people willfully come together and commit to something much bigger than themselves, they accomplish much more collectively than they ever would individually. It's not about drowning out one person's voice. It's about taking everyone in the group to places that they can't reach on their own.

    RNin2013October 1, 2012 at 8:47 pm


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