Mastermind groups are nothing new. In fact, Napoleon Hill writes about them in his classic, “Think and Grow Rich”, in which he defines “Master Mind” as the “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose.” He further adds, “No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.” He believed that a group of like-minded, achievement-oriented people could dramatically leverage each other’s success.
As you think about your group, you need to determine the goal of the group, what you want to accomplish, and how you operate.
1. Ensure all participants have similar interests and goals. For example, a group could consist only of those who have been in business for at least three years as a self-employed online service-based business. I like to include a diversity of industries in a group. The fact that group members don’t know a great deal about each other’s industries will enable them to bring great new perspectives to the table, as they will force each other to “think outside the box”, as they won’t be constrained by preconceived notions of what will or won’t work in each industry. Another option is to have members from the same industry but who serve different segments of the same industry, like insurance agents, or bring people together who all serve the same type of client, like a first-time home buyer.
2. Screen your applicants. Make a list of characteristics you’re seeking in group members, like:
3. Limit your number of participants. I think the ideal group size is 6-10. A smaller number of members will ensure that all get to be heard in the group and that all get to participate.
4. Establish guidelines for how the group operates. You’ll need to determine the date, time, length, and location for the meeting. You may have someone to volunteer to host the meeting each month, rotate hosts, or meet in a restaurant or coffee shop. Your group will also want to discuss some “rules of the road”, like issues of confidentiality, respect, how or if you share info about colleagues or other businesses, etc. Keep the rules short, simple, and clear to maximize the effectiveness of your group. Your mastermind group could also be virtual, meeting via an online conference system like Zoom.
5. Set a general agenda for the group meetings. You may want to pick a topic or focus for each meeting, from discussing tax strategies to valuable resources you use to evaluating each other’s marketing materials. I find it more effective to give each member “hot seat” time of thirty to forty-five minutes to talk about three or four challenges they are having in their business. The whole group participates in making suggestions, brainstorming ideas, or fleshing out concepts related to the challenges under discussion.
6. Establish group leadership guidelines. There should be some consensus as to whether or not the group will have a facilitator or leader, and what role that person will play. I think groups have a better survival rate if there is a facilitator in charge to move the meeting along. Your group needs to decide if that role will be permanent for a defined length of time, or will rotate among group members from meeting to meeting.
7. If at first it doesn’t work, try something different! Your first stab at establishing how your group operates may not work. If some aspect of the group isn’t working, be flexible enough to try something different until you find the right combination of factors that works well for your group.
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