Where does the term Mastermind come from?
Napoleon Hill, in his book Think and Grow Rich published in 1937, coined the term ‘Master Mind’. It may be defined as:
"Coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony."
He continues ...
“No individual may have great power without availing himself of the “Master Mind”.
So, in today’s terms what is a Mastermind Group? Here are the things that need to apply:
The group needs to have a common purpose. From the start the group needs to define what the purpose of the group is. Each member of the group needs to identify with this purpose and ensure that this maps against their own personal objectives for being in the group and be committed to the overall success of the group.
The members of the group should see themselves as a peer group. Although they might (and should) have different skills and expertise they should each bring something from their skills or expertise to the group that is valued by the others.
It is important that members get to know and trust each other. This takes time (usually 3-4 meetings) before the quality of issues and feedback increases. For this reason having a closed group of members is key. They should see themselves as peers.
Guidelines & Facilitation
There has to be a leader and clear guidelines that everyone buys into. My experience is that unless someone is clearly in charge the group will get easily distracted. Similarly unless there are clear ‘rules of engagement’ the group can easily become a talking shop.
There needs to be a clear agenda which the groups sticks to.
However it is not enough to have someone in charge of running the group. The mark of a successful mastermind group is the quality of facilitation. Having a process that you go through is essential so that issues can be raised rather than symptoms, clear feedback given by all the group members and relevant actions agreed to.
Having regular meetings is important. We tend to run meetings on a monthly basis on the same day of the month just because it makes life easier for the members.
Commitment & Accountability
Having a common purpose is key but each group member has to be committed to the success of the whole group. Members have to commit to coming to each meeting, agreeing to behave as agreed, be prepared to help other members. In short they need to ‘show up’ each time.
In addition each group member must feel and be accountable to the group for any actions they commit to. It is not enough to have members go away with action lists – it is vital that progress against these actions is reviewed in subsequent meetings.
The Benefits of a Mastermind group
I have seen mastermind groups develop and solve issues over the last seven years.
The key benefits that come from a successful mastermind group are:
- Access to different skills and experience from other group members.
- Access to an intimate support group.
- Being able to address the ‘right’ issues. Because the group is apart from your day to day activities it gives you the opportunity to focus on strategic issues
- Clarity. A well facilitated group will ensure that the real issues that are behind the symptons are addressed.
- Personal development. As part of the mastermind process you get to understand more clearly how you work as a person.
- Developing actions plans that are more likely to produce the right results due to group accountability.
Is it for you?
Well, the results can be astonishing. I have seen business owners struggling to move their businesses forward do extraordinary things as a result of participating in the right mastermind group. There are two things that are key to success:
- Quality of the people. Having a group of like minded people committed to the success of the group is essential.
- Quality of facilitation. It is key to have someone who can lead the group, who has a process that works and ensures it is followed.
Have these and success is virtually guaranteed!