For the last 5 weeks, we've been running our first ever Strategy Mastermind. We invited a group of like-minded leaders and business to join us as we developed our new business strategy, giving them the opportunity to work through our strategy process in a supportive group. The Brand by Me Mastermind finished last week so we thought we'd share some lessons from the process.
Oh, and before you ask, it TOTALLY worked for us. We now have our new 2-3 year strategy and a 2019/20 action plan to kick it off!
Here are our 6 big lessons from the Mastermind:
- Harness your initial enthusiasm
We had over 80 people sign up for the Mastermind - most of those within 3 days of launching it. There was a LOT of good intention and eagerness initially (maybe because it was January) but the majority of those who signed up dropped off pretty quickly. So make sure you take advantage of that initial burst of enthusiasm to start as you mean to go on - read a book, block your diary (see lesson 3), do an audit of past activity - anything that gets you into the right mindset and focuses you on the task ahead. I read 6 books in the run up to starting the Mastermind and they really helped me focus.
- Make yourself accountable
The people who joined our weekly Zoom calls were MUCH more likely to complete the weekly tasks and enjoy the experience of working on their strategy too. As one Masterminder said
'Time was a challenge but knowing we had a call forced me to get it done. The call makes me take action and complete the task!'
We all loved being part of a group and having the opportunity to share common experiences and challenges.
- Create space to think
This is really important. Doing the Mastermind made us all realise how often we use the excuse of "no time" to put off important but not urgent tasks. The Masterminders who completed the programme made time and space to focus on the weekly task - blocking their diaries, stepping away from the laptop and making sure they were giving the task their full attention, even if they only had half an hour to do it. As one of our group said
'Commit to business/project to create progress. We can all find 30 minutes plus an hour in a week to change your situation.'
- Time limit tasks
This was another biggie. Did you know it's actually possible to spend too much time on something? For us that was certainly true. And then you become unproductive. We found it useful to set a time limit for some of the tasks, like competitor analysis, so that we didn't overthink or obsess over it and so it didn't become a distraction from the main task (the actual strategy).
- Look outside for inspiration
It can be sooo easy to get trapped in your own head when working on a strategy (or heads if you're doing it with your team). Don't forget to look at the external environment and factors that will affect your strategy - like your market, trends and competitors. Here's a tip from one of our Masterminders on why competitive analysis is useful.
- Be visionary
Lots of people tackle strategy by looking at where they are today and identifying what they want to change. That's fine. But it means you only take small incremental steps. If you start with your vision and work backwards, it pulls you forward, encouraging you to be ambitious and make the big changes that will make a difference.
Finally, take action! All of the above lessons are meaningless and impossible without actually doing it versus saying stuff. That's what helped us get our strategy done and will help us move forward with our ambitious (and slightly scary) goals. Thank you to our AWESOME #BrandByMeMASTERMIND group for taking part and inspiring us so we can move forward into this new phase of our business and strategy.
And here's a video recap of our learnings
If you missed our Strategy Mastermind, don't worry. Sign up to our mailing list and we'll let you know when we're running the next one!