3 steps you need to know before starting a mastermind

Figure 1: Lions planning out how they can best attack their prey

I n the book “Think and grow rich” written by Napoleon Hill, the concept of a mastermind group is explained as:

“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”

he continues..

“No two minds ever come together without without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

A mastermind group in its essence, is a group where members cooperate with each other to achieve their goals and hold each other accountable. It can help people form new friendships, and strengthen existing ones, all while making measurable progress towards each of their goals.

In this article I’ll explain the basics of mastermind groups and how you can go about setting up one of your own.

What are the benefits of a mastermind group?

First, let’s start with the benefits of a mastermind group, and why its worth investing your time and energy into setting up and maintaining one.

A mastermind group provides, amongst other benefits, the following:

Accountability

Members of a mastermind group will hold each other accountable to each of their goals. Knowing that you have regularly scheduled meetings and don’t want to be the one showing up without achieving your goal will motivate you to make progress towards attaining it.

Perspective

The different views of each member will broaden your perspective and allow you to see issues you wouldn’t otherwise consider. Thus it is important to select members that will offer this perspective.

Support

Despite having different goals, you’ll be able to lean on your group for support. Since the group is comprised of individuals who are committed to the purpose of the group, they will be able to support you through periods of slow progress. They might be some of the few people who will understand what has been going on behind the scenes, and give you support in spite of failure.

Access

All group members will have access to different resources. When you ask for help, their access will help you progress in ways you never could alone.

How do you set up a mastermind group?

Setting up a mastermind group is simple if the purpose of the group is clearly defined. The members don’t necessarily have to be your friends. However, they do have to be people who are working towards similar goals and outcomes.

Step 1: Define the purpose of the group

Before creating or joining a group, you have to make sure that your reasons for doing so are clear. The more specific the group, the more likely you will achieve any goals you set out accomplish.

E.g.

If you are a small business owner, and are forming a mastermind group, creating a specific group that focuses on overcoming issues faced by small business owners is more likely to attract people who are searching for similar support. You will be surrounded by individuals working towards similar outcomes but may not necessarily have businesses like yours.

A bakery owner, a laundromat owner, and an arcade owner could possibly join you, a bar owner. Despite the different industries, all of you might face similar issues. The different perspectives of each member will spark new ideas, and members will be able to relate to each others problems.

Exercise: The purpose of my mastermind group is ____________________

Step 2: Invite members

There are a few important factors to consider when inviting potential members to be a part of your mastermind group.

Commitment

Everyone in the group should be similarly committed to the purpose of the group. The commitment of each member can be determined by:

  • attending every meeting without excuse
  • participating and improving the mastermind process

Mutual benefit

The key to a successful mastermind group is every member asking and offering help for challenges, problems or decisions. If some members are ‘hogging the spotlight’, or not contributing enough to the group discussion, then the group is doomed to fail. Balance is vital and members should strive to contribute equally and help the group as much as they ask for help from the group.

No competitors

It is important that members of a mastermind group aren’t in direct competition with each other. Though it may work in rare circumstances, it makes it extremely difficult to be open and build trust with direct competitors.

Problem solvers

Problem solvers are great members of mastermind groups due to their talent for listening and offering potential solutions and feedback. This will also contribute towards broadening perspective and improving the overall flow of the group.

*Relatively small groups of 4–6 people work best. With too many members, meetings might be too long and there might not be enough time for people to get an equal opportunity to share and get value from the mastermind group.

Click here for a sample invitation letter that you can use to invite potential members.

Step 3: Hold regular meetings

Meetings should be held on a regular basis either weekly, biweekly or monthly. In my experience, I find monthly works best as it allows members to reflect through out the month. Anything shorter than a month feels too much and anything longer feels infrequent.

Meeting face-to-face is great, however, mastermind groups can transcend the physical reality of space and be held over Skype, Google Hangouts and other platforms. Whatever the platform, ensure that each member is given equal time to speak. Make sure one person speaks at a time and people aren’t interrupting each other.

Create a facebook secret group, whatsapp group, or dropbox folder which will contain any notes or recordings from the meetings. At the very minimum, each meeting should conclude with next steps for each member with a goal to be accomplished by the next meeting. This will help members move forward and work towards making their dreams a reality.

When starting off, follow an agreed upon structure until a flow develops as time passes.

What do you talk about?

As the group matures, this will become a moot point, however to start off the discussion, here are a few questions that can help:

  • What is the current state (What are you working on?)?
  • What did you learn?
  • What is the future state (What is your ideal state?)?
  • How can we help?

What do you think? I’d like to hear your thoughts and experiences about mastermind groups. Are there any additional tips, or common issues to avoid?

let me know in the comments below!

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