MasterMind Groups

I had my first experience with a Mastermind 3 years ago. It was just me and one other person. He was an operations leader and I was a marketing leader. His background was in healthcare and mine was in technology.

We talked weekly, Mondays at 6 am. It was exciting to gather his ideas to my problems. He was my coach in the corner giving me raw feedback that was hard to hear at times. But he helped me see my blind spots.

For years I have heard about the power of mentors. I’ve had a few but they’ve been so senior to me that our interactions were more superficial than substantive. But my Mastermind partner changed all of that. He was my mentor packaged as a peer. It was transformative.

Have you been in a mastermind and seen results? Drop a comment and tell us what was key to its success or lack thereof?

The Basics

Masterminds are small, two-four person groups of like-minded people that regularly meet to listen and give open feedback to help each person achieve their goals.

Since Napoleon Hill developed the Mastermind concept in 1925, groups have proliferated. Some are organized by life coaches who charge a membership fee, but most are created by individuals with common connections and cost nothing.

For a group to be successful, each member must be comfortable giving open and honest feedback without feeling constrained by social politeness that governs many personal relationships. Authenticity, vulnerability and respect should be core member characteristics and giving critical feedback is the value exchange. With it, mediocre ideas are refined and bad decisions are avoided.

The groups tend to work best with 3-5 people. While these meetings can be held in person, phone or video calls using screensharing software (e.g. Google Meet, Skype) are highly effective to create engagement.

Defining a system of note taking is important to measure progress and keep each person accountable. A shared document (e.g. Google doc) is a great way to give access to this file and share note taking responsibility.

Generally, each member splits the time to share details about his/her challenges. The other members ask questions and provide feedback. The people sharing may then volunteer what actions they plan to take between meetings.

This pattern continues with each person or until the time expires.

Getting Started

  1. Share the concept – Start by talking to 3-7 people that you trust where there is a symbiotic value exchange of skills and experiences. This must be about mutual benefit. Without it, the group will fail.Variety is the spice of life and productive differences are helpful but the challenges you face must be relatable. One in three may be interested. Don’t take the rejection personally. Be patient, persistent and optimistic. People are busy.
  2. Start small – And begin when you have one other person. Connect and give your best ideas without holding back. Plan out your first two meetings. Hold them. Be real about the value exchange. If it was there, continue. If not, keep looking. Here is one person’s template to starting a MasterMind. There are many others you’ll find with a simple search.
  3. Track progress – A MasterMind needs to track decisions, and hold each other accountable. So, be diligent in tracking progress or your group will fizzle. Use Todo Cloud to do this. Share lists and tasks and review the details as a part of your meetings.

Let us know how your Mastermind Group goes. There is no time like starting than the present.

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