Mastermind groups are a very old idea and the definition of a mastermind group is sometimes debated. Many of today’s mastermind groups are based on the definition by Napoleon Hill, who wrote about them in his book, the still-popular “Think and Grow Rich”. Hill defined mastermind groups as “a coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.” The debatable part seems to be that Hill believed that Mastermind groups could be formed to support the individual goals of its members. Some think that makes it a support group and that a true mastermind group works on a common goal such as growing a company or winning a ballgame or planning a fundraising event. Many professional groups who meet to discuss their individual personal or business goals “Mastermind Groups” follow Hill’s definition.
Being part of a mastermind group gives you a supportive network and helps keep you accountable. The positive reinforcement from the group can be a great rewards system. Knowing you have to report can help motivate you to take the action steps you need to take. Being able to bounce ideas off others can help you avoid some pitfalls or learn new ways of doing things. Plus, you get a chance to help others achieve their goals with your feedback and input.
You can form a Mastermind group on your own, or ask around to see if there’s one already in progress that you can join. Many business coaches and consultants run mastermind groups as part of their business. These facilitated groups might have some cost involved. A group that helps its members succeed faster can be well worth the money. Sometimes, paying for a group is another incentive to “do the work” and attend the meetings, too.
Many Mastermind groups meet in person, either weekly or monthly. However, it’s possible to have meetings via conference calls, online meetings, and even chat rooms.
Typically, everyone is expected to report on their own goals and progress. The group may have formal “discussion points”, or questions to help you prepare, such as:
“What were your successes since we last met?”
“What are you working on now?”
What do you need help with?”
Most groups set a time limit so that everyone has an equal chance to be “heard” and get feedback. Meetings may end with everyone taking turns either wrapping up their personal “take-aways” from the meeting or committing to doing something that was discussed in the meeting (such as taking a new action step).
Frequently, Mastermind groups get started with a bang then fizzle out. It happens. People get busy doing other things or lose interest or maybe they find that they just don’t like being held accountable. Hill said that as long as there are two or more people, you can have a successful Mastermind group, and five or six is often suggested as the “ideal” size for a group, (although many are bigger). So, focus more on the quality of the members instead of the quantity. One or two committed, helpful and inspiring group members can be more helpful to you than fifty mediocre members.
Recommended Resources to learn more about Mastermind Groups: