I first came across a "Mastermind Group" concept in Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich”. The title did not compel me to want to read it, but it had been recommended, so I dove in, and I am glad I did. It was what I had been looking for, how to create a group that used collective mind power to achieve our goals.
These days we have many group collectives, tribes, and communities, but a mastermind is different.
“A mastermind is a harmonious alliance of two or more individuals who come together in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation to achieve a common goal.” - Napoleon Hill
What does this mean?
It means a mastermind is not just a group of people working together but a unique and powerful force that transcends individual abilities.
Mastermind Groups for Over a Decade
I first started to use this concept after my MBA was completed over a decade ago.
In part because I wanted to keep in touch with a core collective of MBA colleagues who had become friends and in part because a few of us were struggling to identify our next steps, and I thought the mastermind might help us over the post-MBA hump. (If you know, you know!)
We followed the recommendations–
no more than eight people; we had six
equal times to each of the members; timekeeping ensured this
meet regularly; we met once every month
Let me tell you, this was no small feat!
We lived in different countries and cities and had very diverse roles, careers and personal lives….but it worked precisely for that reason.
In the mastermind group, we were able to address family dynamics, career progression, business entrepreneurship and more. Without that mastermind group, I am certain I would not have made my way through my career shifts as powerfully as I did.
We shared experiences and knowledge.
We shared contacts and networks.
We shared our empathy and support.
Now a decade and many masterminds later, I have introduced this concept from an entrepreneurship group in London to my LinkedIn Mastermind group in recent years.
My sincere pleasure has been introducing this concept to many people and inspiring them through participation in my masterminds to create their own mastermind groups!
I now deliver a powerful mastermind session on my retreats on the last day, and the impact has been as astounding as always.
We have had members change jobs, quit jobs to start businesses, overcome relationship challenges, be introduced to new business partners, source investment and more.
The Power of a Mastermind Group
Hill believed that a "third mind" or a collective consciousness is created when two or more minds come together in harmony.
Seems a bit woo-woo, I know, but we often refer to this collective mind these days. We use colloquialisms like “two minds are better than one” right?
In this context, this collective mind is greater than the sum of its parts and can tap into infinite intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving abilities.
The combined knowledge, experience, skills, and perspectives of the group can generate new ideas, insights, and solutions that would not be possible for any individual member.
Through open and constructive discussions, sharing of ideas, and collaborative brainstorming, the group can uncover hidden opportunities and overcome challenges more effectively.
Because the mastermind provides mutual support, encouragement, and accountability to each member, fostering personal growth and increasing the likelihood of success.
Masterminds are a source of inspiration, motivation, and guidance, a safe space to unlock each member's full potential.
Five Reasons Masterminds Work
1. Synergy and Collective Intelligence
Masterminds bring together individuals with diverse skills, expertise, and perspectives. This diversity fosters a rich environment for collaboration and problem-solving.
Through sharing their knowledge and experiences, mastermind members can generate innovative ideas and solutions that would be difficult to achieve individually. The collective intelligence of the group can surpass the capabilities of any individual member.
2. Accountability and Motivation
Masterminds provide a structure of accountability and motivation. Individuals committing to a group are more likely to follow through on their commitments and goals.
The support, encouragement, and constructive feedback from other members keep them focused and motivated. The shared sense of accountability helps members stay on track, overcome obstacles, and achieve their objectives.
3. Networking and Collaboration Opportunities
Masterminds create an environment for networking and collaboration. Members can leverage each other's networks, connections, and resources, expanding their reach and opportunities.
Collaborative projects and partnerships within the mastermind can lead to synergistic outcomes and mutual growth. The connections made within the group can open doors to new ventures, partnerships, and collaborations beyond the mastermind itself.
4. Learning and Personal Growth
Masterminds offer an invaluable platform for learning and personal growth. Members can benefit from the collective wisdom and experiences of others in the group. They can gain new insights, knowledge, and skills through discussions, presentations, and feedback.
The mastermind becomes a supportive and nurturing environment where individuals can continuously develop and improve themselves.
5. Emotional Support and Encouragement
Masterminds provide emotional support and encouragement. The journey towards success can be challenging, and setbacks are inevitable. However, within a mastermind, members can find a safe space to share their struggles, seek advice, and receive empathy from like-minded individuals who understand their journey.
The emotional support and encouragement from the group can help members overcome obstacles, maintain resilience, and persist in their pursuits.
Accelerate Your Success–Start a Mastermind Today
When starting a mastermind group, it's important to establish rules and structure.
This will ensure you have effective communication, productivity, and increased accountability amongst the mastermind members.
Here are some key considerations for setting up the rules and structure for a mastermind group:
1. Define the Purpose and Goals
Clearly articulate the purpose and goals of the mastermind group. What is the group aiming to achieve? What are the specific objectives and outcomes?
My initial mastermind was broad by design to address the diversity of members, but I have also created some as specific as LinkedIn-specific masterminds as well.
Either way having a shared understanding of the purpose and goals will help align the efforts of the members.
2. Determine Group Size
Decide on the ideal size for the group. A mastermind group can typically consist of 3-8 members, depending on the desired level of interaction and intimacy. A smaller group allows for more in-depth discussions, while a larger group can provide broader perspectives.
We wanted each person to have time to report their progress and then state their current challenge, allowing time for feedback, so we gave each member an hour each.
As we were travelling anyway and met once a month, a 6-hour meeting with a lunch break was reasonable.
3. Establish Meeting Frequency and Duration
Determine how often the group will meet and for how long. Set a regular meeting schedule that works for all members. Common frequencies include weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings.
Because we met once a month and had to travel to meet, we were able to ensure we had focused and productive discussions.
Once a week for my LinkedIn group only required one hour a week as we were speaking more often.
4. Create Guidelines for Participation
Establish guidelines for participation to ensure everyone has a chance to contribute and be heard. This can include encouraging active listening, respecting each other's opinions, and promoting an open and non-judgmental environment.
To encourage members to come prepared and be actively engaged in the discussions, we allowed presentations periodically to ensure quick updates.
We once had the member present their problem and then we spoke as though they were not present to allow ideation that the member did not influence. There are many tools and methods to use.
5. Set Confidentiality Expectations
Establish a culture of trust and confidentiality within the mastermind group. Members should feel comfortable sharing their ideas, challenges, and goals without the fear of judgment or information being shared outside the group. Emphasise the importance of respecting the confidentiality of all discussions.
We went as far as to sign an NDA for our mastermind session, it was clear that nothing, personal or professional, was to be discussed with anyone outside of our core mastermind group.
We found this mere act of signing a piece of paper brought fantastic results as we were clear and committed.
6. Establish Roles and Responsibilities
Determine the roles and responsibilities within the mastermind group. This may include designating a facilitator or rotating the role among members for each meeting. The facilitator ensures the smooth flow of discussions, timekeeping, and adherence to the agenda.
Our first mastermind did not require a facilitator as I took on the role for our 2-3 yers together. However if you are all busy it is a good idea to establish a facilitator for each meeting and rotate the role.
7. Create an Agenda
Develop a structured agenda for each meeting to keep the discussions focused and productive. Allocate time for individual updates, goal setting, problem-solving, and any other relevant topics. Share the agenda with the members prior to the meeting to allow for preparation.
An agenda was shared a week before the meeting took place, and each member rotated to start, so the same person was not always starting the meeting.
We also made sure to schedule a lovely place for lunch so that we had a break in the middle, bringing energy for the rest of the day.
You do need a timekeeper, one who is willing to interrupt the flow of conversation if necessary as we all get so excited and the conversation continues to flow endlessly when we are aiming to help each other!
8. Encourage Accountability and Commitment
Emphasize the importance of accountability within the mastermind group. Members
should commit to actively participating, following through on their commitments, and supporting each other's goals. Set expectations for tracking progress and providing updates on individual goals and actions.
We are all busy these days, and I know it is tough to envision committing this much time to a group external to work or family. However, therein lies the beauty of the mastermind. By committing to the group, you are accelerating your progress in life. No, that is not an overstatement.
We often do not have time to think outside of the roles we are currently embroiled and the mastermind allows us to bring dreaming and commitment back to our lives.
Important Note: If you cannot commit the time, then please do not join the mastermind group, as it is through respect and trust that we will show up for each other that the value is realised.
9. Establish Communication Channels
Determine the preferred communication channels for the mastermind group. This can include in-person meetings, virtual meetings through video conferencing, or a combination of both. Additionally, establish a means of communication between meetings, such as a dedicated online platform or email, to facilitate ongoing discussions and support.
My first mastermind was conducted in person, and it does make a difference when meeting in person to build trust and transparency.
However, during the pandemic, we had to meet virtually, and there was no choice, but knowing each other even marginally beforehand and signing the NDA as well as setting our structure helped us to stay on track and build a trusting group.
10. Evaluate and Adjust
Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of the mastermind group and be open to making adjustments. Gather feedback from the members to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes to enhance the group's dynamics and outcomes.
What’s working? What’s not working? Don’t just follow blindly but rather make it a democratic approach to continuous improvement!
We started with bi-weekly meetings for one of my masterminds but quickly realised that for our goals this was too infrequent and difficult to remember which week was on and off! So we moved to weekly meetings to maximise our outcomes.
By implementing rules and structures, you can create a well-organised and productive mastermind group that fosters collaboration, accountability, and personal growth among its members.
Remember, masterminds work because they harness the power of collective intelligence, accountability, collaboration, learning, and emotional support.
They create a dynamic, empowering environment that accelerates individual and collective growth, success, and fulfilment.
If you have a dream or are struggling to reach the next level, then start or join a mastermind, and you will quickly uncover the power of the mastermind.
If you are looking for direction or a mastermind group to join, feel free to DM me, and I can let you know when the next TinyBox cohort will begin.