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Join an Online IT Leader Mastermind to Learn From and Grow with Your Peers from Other Mid-Sized Businesses 

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The Benefits of Joining an IT Leader Mastermind

Managing IT for a mid-sized business is a daunting task that gets harder and harder as the business dependency on technology seems to spiral out of control. Back in the old days you could be the hero and study whatever new requirement came up but unfortunately those times are now solidly in the past and most IT leaders tread water as best they can without ever really getting in front.

Entrepreneurs (who in many cases are similar to modern IT leaders) have known about similar challenges for years and have figured out a very effective way of coping: The Mastermind Group.

And since they were so successful, we adopted the concept and a little more than two years ago formed our first online Mastermind Groups specifically focused on the needs of the mid-market IT leader.

And the results simply blew us away.  

Below are the 12 most significant benefits we keep on hearing again and again (for the full lists, read 27 Benefits of Joining a Mastermind Group)

Sense of Belonging

Even though you have to work with others outside of IT all day long, there is usually very little understanding of what it really means to lead IT in a mid-sized business. The value of being understood and amongst peers is therefore often cited as the single biggest benefit of joining an IT leader Mastermind Group.

Valuable Support Network

Doesn't matter how advanced your IT function is, you do occasionally require quick support or validation of an idea from people you know well and that understand your situation. The Mastermind Group and supporting collaboration platforms are well-suited for enabling this quick exchange of best practices.

Obtain a 2nd Opinion

Making good, long-term decisions in our increasingly chaotic work environment is becoming more and more difficult. And the complexity of IT makes this even more true for the IT leader. In a Mastermind, you bounce off your thinking before you have to commit to a real decision... and we have seen many IT leaders come to totally different conclusions after having been in the spot light at a group session.

Expect to Be Challenged

We all need a kick in the back-side occasionally to stay at peak performance. You may be able to tell your business colleagues anything and since they often lack the technical insights they just have to accept your explanation.  You can't bull-shit your peers, they will call you on it.  Knowing this creates an environment where everyone can learn at their optimal speed.

Considering that 80% of all IT management challenges are similar across mid-sized businesses, it is completely ridiculous that we don't find more opportunities to learn from each other

Mark Geschke - CEO and Co-Founder of Xuviate

Professional and Personal Growth

At the core, Mastermind Groups are all about achieving professional and personal growth. IT leaders in mid-sized businesses have an extraordinary opportunity for creating massive value in their organisations as digital disruption all around us creates momentum for doing things differently. Expect to be challenged to think bigger and bolder than you ever thought possible.

Get to Know Your Blind-Spots

We all have them. Cognitive biases that make us see what we want to see and do what we want to do. And this often leads to disaster! Just think back how often specific staff members cause problems for you and your IT team ... and now consider that you may be part of the problem. How liberating, because if you are, the solution may also lie within your control. Your Mastermind peers will be super helpful to pin-point your short-comings and figure out a way to mitigate them.

Increase Productivity

IT leaders in mid-sized businesses pretty much have the same responsibilities as their peers in large organisations. Unfortunately they only have a fraction of the budget and a very small number of staff members that have to deliver a mammoth task in keeping the engine running. Mastermind Group members are really focused on sharing experience, insights and tools with each other, thereby creating an opportunity for each member to be an expert in a few areas while providing access to experts in all the other areas.

Escape and Gain Energy

Sometimes the routine of our work and the constant fire-fighting just gets us under. In such instances a 2h Mastermind session where all you do is interact with your peers can put a lot of energy back into the tank. After all, you are not alone with your challenges and being reminded about this and often seeing others with even worse problems can release a lot of tension.

Talk Through Problems

IT leaders are problem solvers by nature. Some problems, however, are very complex and may require skills you currently don't have. Talking through such a problem with your peers creates an opportunity to leverage expert knowledge and hard-won insights and experience from others in your field. The eventual solution that emerges is usually much more comprehensive than any individual participant could have found on their own.

Leverage the Explainer Effect

When given the opportunity to explain your specific situation or challenge to somebody else you are forced to distil everything down to the elements that really matter. This simplification and prioritisation of thoughts is in many cases sufficient to find the obvious answer that has all along been hiding in plain sight. We often have scenarios where a Mastermind participant tells us the mere act of preparing for a session was enough to make significant progress on solving the challenge.

Follow-Through and Accountability

When you set an expectation in front of your peers, you are far more likely to follow through on them because you don't want to disappoint people in your trusted circle. A Mastermind is a wonderful tool to create this dynamic and we have seen it play out again and again. Finally there is a tool for getting things done and ticking of your yearly list of priorities (whether it be new years resolutions or professional goals).

Learn Important New Habits

They say we are "Creatures of Habit" and it turns out that the most successful people have a routine that helps them do more of the important stuff. Actively participating in a Mastermind Group creates a solid rhythm in your work-life that benefits you more and more as you get better at it. The mere act of regularly forcing yourself to think at a higher, more holistic level than your daily IT management challenges creates space to focus on the important instead of just the urgent.

What Is This IT Leader Mastermind?

A private and structured peer-coaching community for like-minded IT leaders

As the name already implies, our private Mastermind peer coaching groups are specifically focused on the needs of the extremely busy IT leader in a mid-sized businesses who wants to grow and deliver more business value.

New to the Mastermind Group concept itself?  Get a quick refresher by reading our blog article What Is a Mastermind Group?

Although the below video was recorded more than a year ago it still does an excellent job of introducing the Mastermind concept and how some of our customers experience the sessions (apologies for the poor sound quality).

Over the last two years we have refined our process a lot:

  • Every group is completely private from any other group and consists of up to 15 IT leaders from mid-sized businesses from all around the globe.
  • We follow a formal application process (click here to join our waiting list) and, once we have identified the perfect group for an individual, the group decides whether they want to admit the new member or not.
  • Every group meets every two weeks for an online, 2h long video session.The total monthly time investment is only 5 hours and includes preparation time.
  • Every session is structured around one or more Hotseats or "Show and Tell" opportunities. This deep-dive into a specific topic is what results in many of the previously listed benefits.
  • Every Mastermind session is led by an experienced facilitator whose IT and digital transformation coaching background adds another, incredibly valuable dimension to the experience.
  • For more urgent interactions or quick questions every group also has their own private Slack group. This is also where we post recordings of sessions you may have missed.

7 Simple Steps to Accelerate Growth

Even when knowing about all the great benefits, joining a Mastermind Group for the first time can be a daunting proposition. To make it as simple as possible and allow many more IT leaders to gain from this incredibly effective growth tool, we have broken the entire process down into seven simple steps:

1. Find the Perfect Group

Getting started is very easy and requires no financial or other commitment from you. Simply click the button and let us know that you might be interested in signing up for a Mastermind. We will then ask you to fill out a short profile so that we can start the search for an appropriate group. If we don't find such a group, we will keep you on our waiting list until we find such a group.

2. Make a Commitment

Once we have found the perfect group it is time for you to really reflect on your needs. If you believe belonging to a Mastermind Group could help you, the next step would be to formally commit to a 3 month trial period and sign up for the program. As part of this commitment you will also block of some time every two weeks for preparation and the actual session.

3. Understand the Session and Tools

With all the preliminaries out of the way, joining an actual session and introducing yourself to the rest of the group comes next. Initially you will mostly observe how others interact during a Hotseat and also get comfortable with the overall structure and tools used to interact. We use Zoom for session management, Slack for general communication and have a few standard documents and templates to make the process run smoothly.

4. Add Your Voice To the Discussion

As soon as you feel you have something to add to a discussion you can start weighing in. For many this already happens during the first session while others prefer to wait one or more sessions. Up to you. Important is that you do take part at some stage and add your unique perspective and experience to the group.

5. Prepare Your First Hotseat

After a few sessions you will be asked whether you are ready to prepare for your first Hotseat. By now you have a good feeling for the group and the types of questions that are usually asked. This makes preparing for a Hotseat as simple as taking some time off to reflect on a particular situation you are battling with and then completing the provided Hotseat template. Once finished, you upload it to Slack and thereby give everybody else a chance to grapple with the topic a bit before the next Mastermind session.

6. Have Your First Hotseat

Once we have found the perfect group it is time for you to really reflect on your needs. If you believe belonging to a Mastermind Group could help you, the next step would be to formally commit to a 3 month trial period and sign up for the program. As part of this commitment you will also block of some time every two weeks for preparation and the actual session.

7. Do What You Said You Would Do

The final step in the process usually comes at a much later stage when you are ready to use the Mastermind Group to hold yourself accountable for achieving what you set out to do. Even though the facilitator supports this process by asking about specific goals for the next two weeks, there is no formal process to follow up on your commitments. You alone can make that commitment and you now have an entire group to keep you on the "narrow path".

The Relevant IT Mastermind Group is an opportunity for me to connect with other high-performance IT leaders in order to question the fundamental premises on how we manage technology. These sessions are invaluable in assisting me to play an effective role in shaping the digital transformation journey in our business.

Hendré Claassen  //  Group IT Manager at Fruitways

I have been part of the Mastermind Group alongside other ICT Managers for a while now and it is refreshing to know that there are other people out there that have the same problems I do. The sharing of information and the regular online discussions have been beneficial for me not only on a personal level but also a professional one. I strongly recommend this for other IT leaders.

Philip Mason  //  I.C.T. Manager at Spier

A few months into Masterminds it became clear that I was not only receiving ideas to resolve my immediate challenges but we actually work on a methodical approach to proactively prevent and overcome a lot of the stumbling blocks we face as IT professionals.

For me it paves the way to raise Information Technology from little understood money pit to Business Technology partner. The Business Technology approach divides IT into functional Value Propositions which promotes focusing of energies into delivering outcomes and clearly defining IT roles into business language. Think of this as the Business version of Finance for non-financial managers course.

Ralph Hendricks  //  IT Manager at WWF South Africa

I initially thought that the Mastermind Group will be all pie-in-the-sky stuff that I would not be able to use or implement in some way. I can honestly sit here and tell you that the information/guidance I received thus far has been relevant and small changes can be made.

Word of caution: be willing to accept when you are being challenged and take criticism to heart. Mathias and Mark are only trying to help you and are in a position to tell you the brutal honest truth, even though it might hurt your ego at times.

Now this is relevant IT. It is not up-in-the-sky stuff, but real issues.

Branden Patience  //  Senior IT Manager at Mazars South Africa

Every Journey Starts with a Single Step

And by adding your details to our Mastermind waiting list you will take the first significant step towards enormous personal and professional growth.

What are you waiting for?

Some Other Common Questions

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I would love to join, but am just too busy. Can you wait?

Can I still join even if IT is not considered that important in my company?

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