They were both in a business round table.  The modern day round table is synonymous with the first mastermind group, called the Big 6, which Andrew Carnegie, William Wrigley, Jr. and four other Chicago business executives began in the 1920’s. The combined income of these six executives was estimated at $25 million dollars in 1920.[1] In 2015 dollars, that would be about $310 million dollars per year! Forbes magazine says “Masterminds are incredible and can do wonders for your business as well as for you”.[2] An important key to the success of a business round table is establishing an ongoing format and starting the first meeting with details of what is to come. Well run business round tables have a very successful history.

Prior to the first meeting it’s important for all participants to have an understanding of what the group is about and what expectations they should have of the group. At the first meeting and anytime a new member joins the group; they should give a little information about themselves and that of their company. Each member should come prepared to discuss three things:

  1. Where do you need help?
  2. Bring a resource to share.
  3. Share an idea that is currently working for you and your company.

The question of where you need help is up to the member. Business issues at times intertwine with personal issues so members should be free to choose the topic for their time to speak. It’s important to remember that this is not a time to solicit other members. An acceptable exception is if the member wants to go over a sales presentation and get members’ feedback. Examples of topics to bring up to the round table are new product ideas, marketing campaigns, technical issues, legal questions, accounting questions, web design or any other issue that will help the members be more successful in running their business. Sharing a resource could be as simple as sharing with the group a new Smartphone app that helps them in their business. Sharing an idea that is currently working could be anything that your company is doing that is particularly successful.  The time each member has will be determined prior to the meeting and depend on the number of members in the meeting. The time to speak could be anywhere in-between 8 and 20 minutes. Each participant should conclude their time to talk with a short summary on what they are hoping to accomplish by the next meeting and be prepared to let the group know how those plans went at the next meeting.

Expect email communication in between meetings. The members should arrange to acquire a summary of the topics discussed and the goals for the next meeting for each member. They should also expect to be contacted prior to the next meeting to check in.

Establishing ground rules from the outset is important to the continued success of the group. Meetings must start on time, have specific time limits for each member to speak and end on time. One member should be responsible for keeping time. Where, when and how long each meeting is should be a consensus of the group.  Keeping the format and rules simple will help the meetings to run smoothly. The most important rules of the group are no negativity and all information discussed within the group is confidential.

Business round tables may have a lifecycle; they have a purpose and will not last forever. Keep these steps in mind for continued success:

  1. The group is a democracy.
  2. Know your role and don’t dominate the group.
  3. Keep good meeting manners.
  4. Maintain a repeatable structure.
  5. Respect time.
  6. Stay focused.
  7. Keep goals.
  8. Be disciplined.
  9. Know when the group’s usefulness has been fulfilled.

For more information about the CyFair Executive Round Table send an email to van@cyfairexecutiveroundtable.com

[1] Vitale, Joe, and Bill Hibbler. “Getting Started.” Meet & Grow Rich. Hoboken: John Wiley& Sons, 2006. 39. Print.

[2] Burns, Stephanie. “7 Reasons To Join A Mastermind Group.” Forbes 21 Oct. 2013. Web

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