Helping Clients and Members Make Decisions
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Helping Clients and Members Make Decisions

By Karyn Greenstreet

In the best mastermind groups and consulting relationships, the generation of ideas leads to a decision. This, in turn, leads to action steps. The entire process encourages progress and accountability.

But sometimes your client gets stuck.

Perhaps your client doesn’t know how to analyze all the options and make a good decision. Or, they don’t know how to create an action plan once they’ve made a decision.

Let’s talk about those two situations and I’ll share two exercises to help your clients and members get into action and make good decisions.

Exercise: Decision making 101

When a client needs to make decisions that are either complicated or expose a conflict of values, the decision-making wheels grind to a halt.

For example, in a recent mastermind group meeting, Joan needed to make a decision about which target audience she wanted to market to. She could either work with seasoned women entrepreneurs or she could work with business owners in the startup phase.

Joan has a passion for both audiences. She was a seasoned entrepreneur herself and loves the idea of supporting her peers. But she remembered the struggles of the startup phase and knew she had knowledge and experiences to share with this audience, too. From a marketing standpoint, it’s a lot of work to market to two audiences simultaneously, so she needs to choose one audience to market to first.

To help Joan make a decision, we used a simple “T” chart:

  • Draw a line vertically down a piece of paper.
  • On the left, list your goals and values.
  • On the right, list your choices.
  • Next, draw a line between the left column items and the right column items: which choice will help you achieve the most goals and aligns most with your values?

(You can use this exercise in your mastermind group meetings as a group exercise. Use a whiteboard or flipchart, and let everyone jump into the written brainstorming!)

In Joan’s case, she decided to work first with seasoned women entrepreneurs. Here’s why:

  • This group was likely to have enough income to be able (and willing!) to pay her fees.
  • Working with seasoned entrepreneurs would challenge Joan to step up and be seen as a high-level expert. It was good for her branding.
  • There was less competition for this audience compared to the “all small business startups” audience.
  • There were places where her audience congregated, like at conferences, so she could network with them easily.

Because this choice aligned with both her goals and values, it was the perfect choice for her.

Exercise: Action planning 101

It can be daunting to choose a course of action and write up a plan. Mastermind groups help each member to design a smart action plan, whether to do tasks themselves or delegate the tasks, figure out what resources are necessary to complete the task, and assign reasonable deadlines to each project.

Now that she had chosen her target audience, Joan had to write a marketing action plan. There were dozens of tasks and projects to consider — and she started to feel anxious and overwhelmed. In the next mastermind group meeting, Joan asked her co-members to brainstorm a To Do list so that she was sure of several pieces:

  • Which tasks to do and the order to do them in
  • The goal of each task or project
  • How much time each would take
  • Where she could delegate some tasks to reduce her workload
  • What was her deadline to get all this work done

We put all the ideas for tasks onto Post-It notes and stuck them on a whiteboard. This allowed us to rearrange the order of tasks, and add sub-tasks as needed. Then Joan took a photo of the whiteboard so she could transcribe the finished results into her marketing plan.

With these two simple tools, you can help your clients and mastermind group members move forward!

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8 thoughts on “Helping Clients and Members Make Decisions”

  1. Gerrit Cloete says:

    Awesome piece of advice. Really pactical which adds so much more value to it. Excited to go and try it out in my next MM!

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      Let me know how it goes, Gerrit!

  2. Brenda Bomgardner says:

    Pragmatic step by step adds up to actionable and manageable goal setting. I like to values piece. I have used 3 x 5 index cards and laid them out on the floor to illustrate the path to the overarching goal. The cards can be rearranged to fit the journey.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      I love this idea, Brenda! I sometimes use mindmaps for this sort of thinking and planning, especially electronic ones that let me move the pieces around easily.

  3. Gerrit Cloete says:

    We did it last night. The group liked the simplicity of it. One person felt that the approach ‘as is’ does not emphasize prioties of one goal over the other before doing the exercise.

    The way I see it is that doing the exercise helps one determine/understand the priority.

    Very useful, thanks Karyn.

    1. Karyn Greenstreet says:

      In the beginning, Gerrit, doing these simple exercises are best. No need to complicate it in an everyday mastermind group meeting. If members wanted it, you could always designate a “planning meeting” where the focus of each Hot Seat is strictly to help each member create and analyze their action plans.

  4. Philip Cohen says:

    Hi Karyn,
    I love the idea of asking about the goal of each task or project. Too often something is added to the list without thinking through whether or not it is truly necessary or useful.

    1. I’m finding that asking “Why?” to practically anything is valuable, Philip. Whether it’s in a client’s personal life or their professional one, thinking strategically help cut through the mental clutter.

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