By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Coaches have assistants, CEOs have executive committees and presidents have cabinets. Regardless of the title, the function is the same – a sounding board of trusted, knowledgeable colleagues that can provide insight, help with decision making, and idealistically lead to a successful course of action. Delivering on the business model of health and wellness at retail is still a challenge and many retail RDs work alone or in a small group of dietitians making a mastermind group an ideal solution for creating of your own sounding board.
A mastermind group is designed to help you navigate through situations and challenges using the collective intelligence of others. The group dedicates themselves to each other’s success, and for the retail RD, can leverage experience with similar challenges, identify partnership opportunities amongst non-competing retailers, determine pricing, help manage HR and leadership obstacles, and set priorities in professional and personal lives. Sometimes you just need an outside opinion from someone who understands your world, and a Mastermind can fill this void, with roles ranging from being catalysts for growth to devil’s advocates to supportive colleagues.
The first step in establishing a Mastermind Group is considering who to invite. Consider those who understand the retail landscape, but also have diverse experience, have a broad viewpoint, and can commit time to the group. Independent thinkers will be honest and can provide varying perspectives. Individuals from non-competing retailers is essential for candid dialogue, and all members must understand the need for confidentiality. While groups like this can sometimes digress into a “pity party,” it’s essential to have members who will pull the group out of this mode to be solution-minded. Most Mastermind Groups include six to ten people, which allows for open participation from all.
Once your Mastermind Group is established, set group rule such as how often the group will meet, the types of topics to be discussed, how to manage flow of dialogue and assurance that all members have the opportunity to be heard. Be clear in the focus of the group, whether it is designed to address business issues or career development, for example. Consider roles within the group, too, such as a discussion facilitator, a scheduler, and a time keeper. In this way, no one person will be overburdened with managing the group.
Once up and running, you’ll be surprised by what you gain from your Mastermind Group. From brainstorming solutions and ideas to a current challenge to reviewing a decision you’re about to make to getting insights on a five-year program strategy, you can reap many benefits from this trusted sounding board.