What a Mastermind Alliance is and why you should join one
The Mastermind Alliance was the brainchild of Napoleon Hill, who coined the term in his 1937 book “Think and grow rich.” He defined it as “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
This idea is not a 20th century invention, but was explained by Christ to his followers in the Gospel of Matthew, 18:20, in which Jesus said that ‘wherever two or more are gathered in my name, I am present.’
It is this greater sense of an ephemeral presence, a mastermind, that amplifies the focus on the accomplishment of goals and plans set out by each member. The magic of accountability shared in common by the group, diverse viewpoints, pooled resources and mutual support are embodied in the spirit of the mastermind. Members benefit substantially from regular meetings with their groups and often claim that it is the biggest reason for their successes. Personal accountability becomes a motivating force behind this success as one strives to come back to the group with a report of at least an attempt to follow through on plans made during the previous meeting. Tim Ferriss, the author of “The 4 Hour Work Week”, stated that ‘people don’t need more motivation, just more accountability and feedback.’
Unlike in a sports team, members in a group are not necessarily aligned to the same goal, but goals are not significantly diverse. Members of a study group, for example, may be taking different courses, but if the goal is for maximum academic achievement, then the common goal could be said to be aligned. Although the majority of mastermind groups are based on entrepreneurial objectives, they can be just as effective for health and fitness, artistic endeavors or scholastic achievement. Each member arrives at the group meeting with an action plan, which is a list of objectives that he or she wishes to discuss.
The running of the meetings is said to be loosely organized, sometimes without a formal agenda, however, ground rules are typically set out and agreed to before joining. Groups typically number between 3 and 5 members. Members are selected carefully and some have an interview process to join.
The ground rules are simple in that each member has equal time during the meeting to discuss his or her action plan without interruption. There may be consequences for missing meetings, such as being dropped from the group.
Some groups have specific topics to be considered ahead of time with details provided by a facilitator in the group. These are agreed upon when the group forms and may evolve as needed over time. Meetings are regularly scheduled and for a set amount of time. Weekly one hour meetings are common, but this depends on the nature of goals of the group.
The Hot Seat
When an individual is talking about their plans, they are said to be on the ‘hot seat.’ A hot seat discussion would include details of what work the person is currently doing towards their goal, what they have learned along the way, what challenges they face and any help they may need. It is also important for them to discuss what is working well for them and what resources they find useful. Members provide feedback, suggest courses of action and offer any useful resources. Finally, new actions are discussed as it relates to the ones already taken.
How to find a mastermind group
There are many websites that facilitate setting up mastermind groups and a quick Google search will provide you with many suggestions. Venues for meetings on the internet can be a little more difficult to set up. Some use Skype or Google Hangouts. Once you move up a little on the learning curve, you will find that virtual meetings are more convenient and allow for a greater choice in participants who could be located anywhere on the globe.
The New Schoolhouse
It is the scholastic mastermind groups that I am focused on and with the app I am currently developing, a safe and effective virtual venue is provided to assist academic achievement. As a teacher, I am encouraged when I see students form study groups, but I fully recognize that these students are in the minority. Due to logistical issues, it isn’t always possible for all to sit in and benefit when a physical location is required. My app, jetScholar.com, solves this problem by providing a virtual face to face venue that can be accessed from the comfort of home. All that is required is a PC with a webcam and an internet connection.
Students are not limited to selecting members for their mastermind from their own institutions, but can choose people from the broader community. Students who reside in remote communities can now access peers in the city. A mentor can also be brought in as needed or even act as the group facilitator.
It is important to note, however, that mastermind groups are not classes, group coaching or networking meetings, but rather peers committed to accelerate their goals. It is for this reason that mastermind groups are so effective.