Unleashing the Power of a Mastermind: Transforming Legal Practices


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Join us at the next Guild Mastermind in Minneapolis on April 18th and 19th! Click here for event details.

Are you an attorney who is interested in joining a supportive group of fellow attorneys? In this podcast episode, Jim and Tyson explore the impact of their mastermind group for lawyers. 

Jim and Tyson discuss the great things that have happened since beginning the quarterly mastermind sessions. One of these things is the ability to learn different ways of doing things from lawyers of all backgrounds. There are multiple ways to succeed and many people tend to not realize that. But, sharing perspective in the mastermind has created this notion for members. Working in law can be stressful and competitive, but Jim and Tyson share how participants are able to network, share ideas, overcome struggles and get validation from their fellow attorneys. The mastermind sessions are all about fostering a supportive environment for attorneys to grow and learn.

Jim and Tyson share their methods for preparing for mastermind sessions. Starting off the mastermind sessions with a few questions help set the tone for the day and get people thinking about their work habits, business decisions and how they interact with clients. Mastermind sessions are all about digging deep with members, helping them understand their problems and receive positive feedback from others.

Take a listen to learn more!

Jim’s Hack: If you find yourself in a rut doing the same thing over and over, just do one little thing differently to be disruptive.

Tyson’s Hack: If you think that you may have hired too many people, go through an exercise of picking your top 6 people that you can’t work without to narrow it down.

Episode Highlights:

  • 5:23 Exploring the benefits of running a mastermind
  • 7:30 The dynamics and perspectives of participants in the mastermind
  • 9:22 Planning and setting the tone for mastermind sessions
  • 23:04 Discussion on the importance of making small changes 


Transcripts: Unleashing the Power of a Mastermind: Transforming Legal Practices

Jim Hacking (00:00.938)
Welcome back to the Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.

Tyson (00:04.384)
And I'm Tyson Mutrix. What's up, Jimmy.

Jim Hacking (00:08.514)
Well, my friend, today on recording day, we always record on the first Thursday of the month. Today is the first day of February. It's hard to believe how fast January went by, and of course, I still think it's 2002. So things are moving very quickly.

Tyson (00:27.092)
in the army. That's when I was in the… Dude, man, as we're talking, I feel jacked. I lived through the day from my fingertips all the way up to my shoulders. I'm just like, my arms are about to just explode. I was going to tell you something before, just like, I know it was funny because I went to go give the kids hugs this morning when I got back from the gym. I couldn't even squeeze my hands. It was like…

Jim Hacking (00:47.362)
That's a strange thing to say.

Tyson (00:56.156)
I couldn't even pick something up if I wanted to. But I was going to tell you something before we started. I wanted to make sure we recorded it. So I got off the phone this morning with a friend of ours. She's also a Gildian. But a client had called. I don't know if I should say this, but I'm going to anyways. One of my clients has been calling around. And yeah, like asking for a.

Jim Hacking (01:20.25)

Jim Hacking (01:25.602)
Second opinion?

Tyson (01:26.672)
Yeah, like, yeah, trying to get his basic second opinion and maybe like hire another lawyer. Well, I think it's funny is like it is a it's a client that I have told given the exact same advice now less than five times and she won't take my advice. And I told her exactly what was going to happen if she didn't take my advice. That has happened. And now she's not happy about it. And if you juxtapose that with this other client that I got the phone with where the current offer is $400,000.

Jim Hacking (01:29.846)
Better deal.

Tyson (01:55.14)
We're probably going to end up around 500,000. They're like, Tyson, we trust you, whatever you want, let us know. It's just like, it's so many, so many of these truths that are so true. It's like this other case, not worth near as much, won't listen to me. It's a pain in the butt client. And then you get this other one. It's just like, Hey Tyson, we trust you. Like whatever, like whatever you recommend. It's, it's just so.

I'm going to take pride, actually, I'm going to fire the client because it's something we had been talking about in the office for a while, like this particular client, she's a real pain in the butt. I'm just going to, I'm sick of dealing with her. I'm just going to send her on her way. So this is just advice to anyone that's dealing with that. Just send those people on their way. They're just not worth your time. The low value clients are just usually not worth it. That's it. That's all my mind this morning. So I want to get off my chest. How about that? This is my counseling session.

Jim Hacking (02:45.579)
We could do it.

We could do a whole podcast just on that. I mean, you know, when you have, you know, it's always the clients with the $50,000 case versus the clients with the half a million dollar case that are so much harder to deal with. I mean, not always, but so often is it's, you know, that whole 80-20 rule that 80% of your headaches come from 20% of your clients. It's, I think, you know, one of my favorite things to do is to fire clients. I haven't gotten good and worked up and fired a client in a while, but I probably need to do that. It's…

It's cathartic. It lets your team know that you're standing up for them. It's gonna free you up to work on more high value cases. And most importantly, it's gonna free you up from the mental gyrations of dealing with this fool.

Tyson (03:32.036)
Yeah, well, and the thing that made me the angriest was that she said that she thought that I was going to sabotage the case if, uh, if, uh, if she fired me. And I'm like, what? It just, it just, things like that just drive me through the roof. It's like, that is, it just, it's like, whenever they try to, they try to tack you whenever it comes to just, uh,

your character. That's when it's like, OK, now you're getting me mad. But yeah.

Jim Hacking (04:06.074)
Just know that is how that person walks through life. Right, like that's a hard way to live. That's how they're choosing to, that's their worldview. That's how they approach everything. They think everybody's their enemy, even their own lawyer. And you know, those are the worst when people, oh, nice product placement there for the Guild water bottle.

Tyson (04:22.609)
Oh, nice.

Um, quick timeout. Is my, is my video glitchy?

Jim Hacking (04:30.795)

Tyson (04:31.564)
Okay, because I got a notification that it wasn't getting it because I've got I'm using my bluetooth

Jim Hacking (04:34.442)
Every now and then it's fine. The audio for sure is fine. The video, they'll catch all the video up.

Tyson (04:41.432)
Okay, cool. All right, so do we want to, with that nice segue Jimbo, do we want to talk about today's topic?

Jim Hacking (04:48.642)
So, back in 2018, when we were having our annual conference, for the first time we had a mastermind the day before, I think, yeah. And we really, really enjoyed it. It was time set aside for people in the guild. It was time where we got to hear from people about what was going on in their lives, and everyone liked it so much that our friend Paul Yoko Baita suggested that we do that quarterly.

And we have pretty much done that quarterly ever since. And it's an interesting thing running a mastermind as opposed to attending a mastermind. So we were talking about what a good topic for the podcast might be. And I think that sharing the things that we observe, obviously with anonymity preserved, would be a good topic for us to talk about sort of the mindsets that we see, the…

changes that we've seen people make in the shifts.

Tyson (05:50.204)
Yeah. It is interesting because when you go to these, sometimes there are, it's weird. I feel like each one is different. At least I don't see the same things in the room. Sometimes you'll see a common thread. I will say this too. It is important how you start the day. It's important who you start with. There are certain things that you do have to sort of do it just.

You have to tweak things just a little bit. I think you and I have, and Beck have kind of learned this a little bit. But I think one of the most important lessons is that sometimes we think there is a way and there's one right way and this is the way and you've got to do it that way. And I think that there's there, we have that thought because there are several people and companies out there that tell you that there's a way. But the reality is, is there's.

I was sitting in a room in Scottsdale a couple weeks ago with some really successful lawyers, all doing it different ways. And so I think that's an important thing that people need to know. There's not just a way of doing things that's the right way. There are several different ways that you can achieve success. There's several different ways of being happy. And so it's not just like you do this one thing.

and this is how you do it and you become successful. There's a lot of one things.

Jim Hacking (07:21.226)
One of the great things that I really enjoy is the fact that we'll have people in there running seven figure firms and we'll have people who have just started out and are just sort of scratching the surface of their greatness. And so to see the interplay between those types of people is really, really powerful. That goes to your point about people doing things differently.

I think that a lot of the value of the mastermind comes from hearing the things that you say to other people or the things that other people say to you. I think…

your time on the hot seat is probably the least valuable just because it's hard to take it all in and really where you get the insights are from the side conversations, the observations that you make, the things you put in your notebook. I think that in our group, we had, like you said, different people coming at it from different perspectives and also we had some people that were being pretty hard on themselves and I think that another great thing.

about taking a day every quarter away from your life and your schedule is that you get validation, that you're on the right track, that you're doing the right things, that you have the right mindset. And I think that that's just another benefit of the mastermind.

Tyson (08:40.416)
I was looking up something, Jim, and there's this principle, and I had to look up what the principle was called. I couldn't remember the name of it. So Occam's razor. I always forget the name of it, but it's the rule that the simplest solution is almost always the best. And it's funny is because when you get people sometimes on the hot seat and they're talking about this very complex thing, right? And it's…

They've really in their head, it's they've over complicated it. It's way more complicated And then the answer is like so simple like such a simple solution and then they kind of like it's that moment where you see them and like someone has told them like Quit over complicating like this is like do this thing instead and they're like you can't you kind of see like the stress just fall off of them like

Oh, it's like, wow, you're so right. Like, I love those moments.

Jim Hacking (09:42.25)
Yeah, and those moments were, we had a lot of those moments in our group. Um, we had people who were struggling, people who were, um, honest and vulnerable. And, you know, you said that, you know, we've sort of gotten to a point where we sort of structure the day a little bit, cause we know, uh, who's who we might want to lead off, how that's important to sort of set the tone. I, I spent.

my time before we started. I mean, one funny thing was we had a video set up with a laptop, which we don't usually do. So I put on like serene scenes on YouTube and just ran it all day. So that was just sort of setting the tone in the room. And I did it a little bit more organically. I just sort of talked about how masterminds had helped me before, the kinds of things that I'd learned during masterminds. And I sort of start off the mastermind with two questions, which…

I always like to remind people of. And number one is from Dan Sullivan, which is, if we were sitting here a quarter from now or a year from now, what would have to have happened for you to feel like you made progress to where you wanted to be? And the other from Jerry Colona, which is, how have I been complicit in creating the conditions that I say that I don't want? So that sort of gave people something to riff off of. And then I did something very different this time. I let people share when they were ready. So I went off script. I kept everyone on the timetable,

I just, and I thought, oh, we might have some really awkward silences. Not one, not one awkward silence where people were, everyone was ready. The, usually by the time that the person was ending, the next person was ready to go. So it really worked out well.

Tyson (11:20.576)
Interesting. I'll have to try that sometime. The, what I, and I do wonder if this, I mean, it seems like people like it whenever I tell them, I'll give them the order. I'll say, hey, like, okay, the next three people are going to be this, and then we'll go into the break and then I'll tell them, okay, after the break, it's going to be these three. I usually don't tell them the full day. I don't know, maybe, because there are sometimes people are ready, they're jumping at the bit to get going. Like, they've got a big issue that they really want to talk about.

Jim Hacking (11:23.498)

Tyson (11:49.508)
that is pressing. And so I have switched it up before. I've never done what you just said, but I do like that. That's a cool idea. Have you had the moment where the solution comes in the first couple of minutes? I'm talking really, really quick to the point where you have to move on to a new topic.

Jim Hacking (12:13.246)
Yeah, sure, sure. But, you know, oftentimes that's a superficial kind of a thing. So that's when I would sort of encourage them to go deeper and do something a little bit more personal. Yeah, but that is, that can be painful, especially if people are fast talkers or if they, you know, sometimes people know what they need to do and they just need to hear it from other people.

Tyson (12:32.888)
Yeah, I'm not gonna say who the person is, but there was a person that I did have, not this year, or not this quarter, but a previous quarter where the person was like, all right, here's the answer, let's move on to the next thing. And it was interesting because you do have the different dynamics at play where we did solve many, many problems with that person because they were like, all right, we've solved that problem, now let's get on to the next one. But sometimes where it does take some time, like we…

Tyson (13:04.29)
This one we had, I posted a little bit about it in the guild about there was some role playing and I'm not going to get into what.

Jim Hacking (13:10.974)
I really want to know about this because something unusual happened right, I think, right after lunch. And I know you can't talk the specifics, but I think the exercise itself I want to hear about.

Tyson (13:21.168)
Yeah, so one of the members who had been to the trial lawyers college, he kind of used, and I think the technique was from this, but he had another member stand up and basically they looked at each other and he had them say some things. And then he had another guild member pretend to be the person's spouse.

And then they kind of looked at each other and told each other certain things. And then he had them sit in this room. So they picked a part of the room that we were in. And like, OK, where is your happy place? Where's the place that you feel the most comfortable? And they chose the spouse as the person to do the role playing with, because this was the person that they were most comfortable with.

Okay, so comfortable place, comfortable person. And so they have this conversation, right? They have this conversation about what the issue is. And by the way, this is all unscripted. Like this was all just like, he looked, no, the guild member said, hey, do you mind if I try something? I was like, sure, let's do it, right? So like they do it. And I mean, it ended up with a.

Jim Hacking (14:31.842)
You didn't see it coming.

Tyson (14:43.88)
with a pretty big revelation and a pretty big solution to the issues. And it was really cool. But it was one of those things where it's not like a simple, like, here's the issue, let's deal with it. Because sometimes it takes some, you have to dig. Sometimes you have to dig and dig and dig and dig and dig. And there are times where you don't get to the solution until the very end. It takes some time to get there. But it was cool to see because we were all kind of like, it was like there was this like this aha moment. Like,

Ah, we get it. Okay, this makes sense. It was cool. And I mean, it forced, I mean, not forced, it led me to like share some things that I don't usually share with people. Like with like, I pulled him aside afterwards because we ran out of time. I would have said it during the actual hot seat, but I pulled him aside and told some things afterwards that, you know, I don't really tell people. And it was, it just kind of was one of those cool things where like he was very vulnerable. He was willing to participate in it.

It was cool. It was really, I'd never seen that before in a, in a, in a mastermind.

Jim Hacking (15:45.09)
That's really great. And speaking of digging deep, you know, sometimes you'll get people who've been to the mastermind over and over and, and sometimes talking about the same things. And that can be a little bit, uh, troubling, but it's also, uh, interesting to see what it actually takes for them to, uh, move. Right? So movement is what we're after. You know, it's one thing to know something.

We always sort of giggle and laugh that you know after the mastermind Somebody's getting fired somebody's getting hired and somebody's you know taking less time at work and that's all good stuff, right? So it's just interesting as a as a thought experiment and as a People watching experiment sort of like you said earlier that you know, the two different clients handling things differently It's really you know people are complex and people bring all their baggage and all their all their history and their experiences to

the running the law firm and how they interact with their team. And it's just really, really cool to see how that plays itself out.

Tyson (16:49.58)
Yeah, you were talking about the, um, the ones where people bring up the same thing. I love the moments because you and I are not in every single one, right? We're in up and we're in different rooms and we've had it where there's like three rooms before and four rooms before. And it's, it's funny because you'll have a member say, listen, Jim, like you said that two hots or two masterminds ago, like this is the same. Yeah. Like.

Jim Hacking (17:11.518)
Right, I remember when you said that in St. Louis.

Tyson (17:14.708)
like why having you take an action on that? And so people are getting called out and that's why I like it, that's why I love about it is because you're gonna get called out if you're sitting in that same room with someone that you were with before and you've not done the things you said you were gonna do. So that's part of it too, because it's not like you're in the room with a bunch of people that aren't willing to share their opinions, right? One, we're lawyers and two, they're guild members, they're usually pretty, like they're more than comfortable to speak their mind.

And so you're talking about successful people that are willing to share. And so I think that part's pretty cool too. And it's funny because it doesn't have to be you and me. There's other people that are gonna call them out for it. There's several people that are willing to do it.

Jim Hacking (18:00.194)
So some might say that after having done this for a couple of years now and doing this regularly, and obviously you and I do two hot seats a month in the guild itself, what sort of your approach to it or what value are you getting out of it by being a participant in the group? Because I have some thoughts, but I'd like to hear that from you.

Tyson (18:21.968)
I think there's two questions there. So that my approach, you know, I used to take a very direct approach. Like when we were, you and I started the guild, like we, I was the first person cried, I mean, like, I think the first two people cried. Uh, yeah. Um, I, we've learned a little bit. I, I've, I have learned to take more. It depends. I was, here's what I'd say. I have, it depends on the person on the hot seat. Sometimes I have to take a very, a very active role.

Jim Hacking (18:35.55)
Yeah, we had to back it off a little bit.

Tyson (18:50.916)
Sometimes I take a, I'd say the majority of the time I take a very hands-off role, because I tell people in my group, I don't want this to be this situation where I'm asking all the questions. Everyone needs to be jumping in, we all need to take part in this. And so I take that approach, and because there's sometimes where like, I mean I have things to add, but not as much as what someone else might have, because they may have been in that situation. So that's the approach. What I learn, I mean I,

I learned something off of every single hot seat. So I usually take, I've changed the way I take notes. I used to take very active notes on every single person and I've got, so I've got very detailed notes from the early hot seats. And then I would pick out pieces from each of those, but then it got very hard. So now what I do though, is I now just participate more like active listening where I'm just listening and not writing.

And so what I'll do is, because what I would do before is I would use that almost as like a cross-examination or I can go in, well, you said this and I'll pick, you know, we'll kind of pick it apart. Now I just do more active listening, but I now I listen and I'll just, if I hear something that I know I can implement, I'll just write it down and I'll, and so it's, I leave with far less notes. I usually with like one page of notes, it's as opposed to like dozens of pages of notes and I'll just, if it's something I want to implement, I'll implement it. But it's, um, that's how, that's my approach.

What about you?

Jim Hacking (20:17.726)
I take a lot less notes than I used to and I have developed this sort of strange little thing where I hear phrases and the phrase is what's important and the phrase is what I write down and then and even at the end of the mastermind we have everybody go around and talk about like what's your big takeaway or what's the one thing you're going to do. I'll list all of my takeaways and they're usually quotes or just slightly different takes on things. I love it when people say something a little bit wrong and dealing with immigrants on YouTube.

it's great because someone will say some little phrase and I'll grab it and I'll say, that would be a great video or that would be great content. And so with the mastermind, when I hear something, uh, that's just a little bit off or something I can play with, like, what can I play with or not necessarily that's something I could implement that would, that's, that's good stuff, but also like, what's the energy here? What's the phraseology? Why did they say it that way? How does that affect me hearing that? You know what, you know,

I spend a lot of time thinking about that rule from evidence. So what's the effect on the hearer? Like, I think about that a lot. Like, how is this affecting me? What I heard, how does it affect me? And so I'm much more organic than I used to be trying to stay present, like you said, active listening, and then trying to just suss out. You know, I have stuff written all over my notebook. I'm drawing, I'm doing all this stuff. And so when I pull it all out at the end, it would probably be total less than a page, yep.

Tyson (21:42.168)
Yeah. So it's, I'll give you an example. So we did the hot seat the other day and I texted you about this. You had this line that it, and so I've got to actually have it in front of me because I'm going to put it up here. Um, so it's, is that something, cause the, the person said something, uh, and you said, is that something you want to overcome or something you want to stick with? And, and I was like, Oh, that's freaking gold. It's just like a golden line. Like you can, you can use that to so many, like.

Jim Hacking (21:52.13)
Ha ha.

Tyson (22:10.308)
Like, cause like think about like how many things like throughout the day, like I bet every day you could use that line. You know, you know, Tyson, is that something, is that something I want to overcome? Or is it something, something I want to stick with? No, I want to overcome that. Like it's just like, like you said before, you're like, you know, the answer, but it's like, it's such a good line. Like, so yeah, there are several things. I, I did say this thing. I wrote down myself that I, I'm a, you know, this is gonna, I'm gonna pat my back for a second, but like, I said this line during, uh,

hot seat in Scottsdale. I said because they were talking about revenues and all that and then we were talking about like how their profits were like they weren't making any money and I said it's because revenue is an ego number like that's what it is like it's like you were talking about you and I were talking about before like the number of employees you have it's an ego number that's all those things are like so um like there are things we're like that we'll say we're like oh that's kind of that's kind of good we'll write that down uh but it's usually the other things that people say I agree I agree that's why like

Jim Hacking (22:56.528)

Tyson (23:08.624)
I will, like your line, I'll write things like that. Like those are my notes. Like with the way you're telling me. Like those lines that they think, like to them, I don't even think that they hear it coming out of their mouths. But to us, we're like, oh my gosh, that's crucial. But that's a big deal.

Jim Hacking (23:26.018)
Well, it's so great that you got so tickled by that quote and that you texted it to me because this morning, my wife and I were in a pretty intense conversation and I said, hold on, hold on, I'm gonna quote myself. And so, and it was the exact right phrase for the exact right moment. And she was like, blah, like.

Tyson (23:36.197)
Thank you.

Tyson (23:44.42)
That's fucking great. Oh, I guess I should, now we're gonna have to put an E on that or bleep that out. I don't think I've accustomed this podcast. That was good. All right, let's wrap things up Jimbo. We both have calls in four minutes, but I wanna wrap things up before I do. Wanna remind everyone to join us in the guild. We would love to have you go to maxlawguild.com. There's just a lot of great people there that are just always willing to share. If you've gotten something from this episode or from any of the other episodes.

We would love it if you'd give us a five star review so we can help share the love with everyone else. And if you're not quite ready for the guild, that's fine. Join us in the big Facebook group. Just search Maximum Lawyer and you should be able to find us. Jimmy, what's your hack of the week?

Jim Hacking (24:27.394)
Well, given the fact that we were talking about the mastermind, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the next mastermind, which is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 18th and 19th of 2024. Looking forward to that. One of the great things about having this little side gig with Tyson is we get to pick places we want to go. And my son is a freshman at the University of Minnesota, so I'll get to see him while we're up there and spend some time. That being said, for my hack of the week, it is this.

If you find yourself in a rut, doing the same thing over and over, in different parts of your day, and you're getting down in the doldrums and you're like, da da, time to make the donuts. If you just feel like you're doing the same thing every day, just do one little thing different. Or as my wife would say, differently. Just do one little thing differently. Brush your teeth with your left hand. Drive a different route to work.

Take a walk when you usually would have a snack. Just one little thing, and just keep track of that each day. Just try to do that one little thing, or one little thing. Just try to be disruptive to your spot where you are. Try to be, you know, just wiggling out of the tough spot that you're in, so that you can start making better gains. Because to me, change and recalibrating usually comes from taking a small little step.

Tyson (25:55.896)
Yeah, pattern interrupts. I completely agree with those. Perfect. All right, so let me tell this really quick story. We had an employee that was kind of having that. And I said, I had the person walk me through their morning. I said, okay, tomorrow morning, you're gonna not do those things. And I want you to just go to Starbucks. I want you to go to Starbucks. Like I said, where's the closest Starbucks? She told me. And so she went to the Starbucks instead. And she like, it was funny. She's like.

her routine had completely changed. But she said it made such a massive impact. So you're totally right. I think it's great. So my tip of the week is, I've given this advice to a couple people lately, so I'm gonna give this as the tip. If you think that you may have hired too many people, go through this exercise.

Pick your top six or 10 or whatever it may be. I like six, just make it forces you. It's a smaller number. Who are your, if you were to pick six people from your team to keep, and you couldn't keep anybody else, who would it be? And so like how like you're picking a basketball team. Go through that exercise. It could be 10 if you want, whatever it may be, but make it a small number and it'll tell you who your essential people are. And so it's an interesting exercise. It's a very difficult exercise, but something I recommend.

All right, Jimmy, that's a good one. I will talk to you more later. See you in a little bit. See you, buddy. See you, bud. Later, dude.

Jim Hacking (27:26.082)
Alright bro, thanks man. Later dude.

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