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Advisor Study Groups: 4 Best Practices
Thursday, November 21, 2013
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When two people get together to brainstorm solutions to problems, it creates a “third mind” that can think of solutions and come up with ideas that wouldn’t happen with an individual on his or her own, writes Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich. 

Many people call this a study group. Regardless of what you call it, do you have one? And is it bringing you the results you set out to achieve?

My mastermind study group has been meeting quarterly for about 10 years. If I wasn’t getting value from the meetings and the relationships, I would have stopped long ago.

If you do not yet have a MasterMind group, I strongly urge you to form one. Here are a few lessons learned and best practices that may be of help to advisors:

1. Who is in the group?  Your group can be made up of people just like you, in your same line of work, or it can be made up of other business people as well.  My group of 6 contains two other people who have similar businesses to mine and three others in businesses that are indirectly related. By having people from other businesses, we all get fresh ideas that don’t confirm the “industry speak.” 

2. How many are in the group? I’ve been in groups like this for over 20 years. I’ve found 5-6 to be an ideal number. (I know others like slightly smaller or slightly larger groups). Since we almost never meet unless everyone can attend (because we value everyone’s unique perspective), we want to have plenty of energy and creativity, and still be able to “go deep” with each person’s situation. 

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3. What do you talk about?  Most of our meetings consist of the following items: 

  • Share recent wins and challenges and what we learned from them. 
  • Share revenue goals and other important numerical measurements 
  • Brainstorm solutions to problems. 
  • Set goals for the year. 
  • Set goals to be accomplished between meetings. 

4. What else do you dot? From time to time, we have brought in “guest experts” or created a special theme for the meeting that dominates a good portion of the meeting. Bringing in a guest or creating a theme can bring out ideas and perspectives we might not normal tap into. 

Do you have a study group? How has it helped your practice?

Bill Cates is the author of Get More Referrals Now!, Don’t Keep Me a Secret! and Beyond Referrals. To receive Bill’s complimentary newsletter and to learn more about how he might help you acquire more and better clients through referrals, go to www.ReferralCoach.com.

(3) Comments
In most professions study groups are necessary since you cannot live in information silos. Unless you share information, you cannot be part of the big picture. Everybody has their own set of skills, even if they are in the same profession and a different view point brings more perspective. Certain times, the group just acts as a sounding board for your way of thinking. It is an extension of the fact that man is a social animal and this extends not only to his personal life but also his professional one.
Posted by tasha123 s | Monday, November 25 2013 at 12:13PM ET
Forming a study group is an excellent idea to think and create something new. Decide who would be a good fit for your study group before approaching them to join. For the best results, meet with your group frequently.
Posted by STEVE B | Sunday, December 01 2013 at 12:55PM ET
Two heads are better than one. This is the underlying logic of forming a study group. It may be an inter-disciplinary group or an intra-disciplinary group. As long as the group is cohesive, you will witness an exponential increase in the input and the quality of solutions put forth by the group. Open and frank communication is a cornerstone for the think tank to achieve its goal- enriching each member.
Posted by KIMMY B | Sunday, December 01 2013 at 1:19PM ET
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