When you hear “Mastermind Group” you may immediately imagine monocle-adorned supervillians sitting around a dimly lit conference room table practicing their bored monologues or maniacal laughter while caressing their pet tabby.
Well, leave your laser at home. World domination aside, Mastermind Groups are created by a group of ambitious like-minded people who love to learn and are eager to help each other solve problems while achieving great success.
We assemble Mastermind groups to help leaders or prospective leaders learn best leadership practices to apply in their own business or their own career. While many Mastermind groups are focused on business practices, that doesn’t have to be the case. Austin, Texas networking expert Bill Hibbler, coauthor of Meet & Grow Rich: How to Easily Create and Operate Your Own Mastermind Group for Health, Wealth, and More, believes Mastermind groups can help you accomplish virtually any goal, getting healthy, publishing a book or even becoming a better parent.
To get the most out of your Mastermind group, we encourage you to insist on a few basic elements.
A Commitment to Help.
The entire group has to be committed to help each other learn and apply best practices, whether through brainstorming, experience sharing or expert speakers.
One of our clients joined a Mastermind group simply to learn how to create a company that he could sell. Our groups meet once a month, so for 14 months, the 8-member group provided real-life experiences, advice and contacts to help him build the infrastructure he needed to meet his goal.
In the meantime, he was often on what we call the Hot Seat to keep him accountable for standardizing employee engagement and customer experience processes that made his company more attractive to purchasers.
Recently, he sold his company for several million dollars, achieving the success he sought.
Clarity of Purpose
Like your business, it’s important your Mastermind group have a written purpose. In other words, what is your mission and vision for the group? Make sure it’s written to keep everyone focused.
Speaking of focused, a set of ground rules can enhance the value every member gets from the group. They can be hardline or more lax, but I recommend a couple of basic tenants:
Create a Format.
Our first groups still meet in person, while our newer groups will use a videoconferencing format combined with conference calls. This provides members with access to members who are across the country or even other parts of the world.
Every meeting follows a similar agenda. Our Mastermind groups:
We’ve all been there. We’ve heard a fantastic corporate speaker or attended a seminar where we learned new and exciting practices. We’re committed to implementing this new learning or tactic. Then life gets in the way. We get busy and revert to our old way of doing things rather than championing best practices in our organization.
The Mastermind format encourages accountability. At the end of every meeting, each member commits to an action and the group holds them accountable from month to month. Anything less is a waste of everyone’s time.
One of our Mastermind members joined the group when she inherited her company from her parents. The company was barely making payroll each month and had never been profitable. One year later, her revenues are over $10 million and the company is profitable for the first time in its 26-year history. She was able to strengthen the disciplines she had weaknesses and focus on what she did well. Because her group held her accountable.
Make sure you have diverse backgrounds for your Mastermind group. This diversity ensures you have members with different perspectives and accomplishments in order to be more useful to broaden each member’s creative thinking.
For example, for our Mastermind groups, we make sure there are no competitors in the same group. We provide a moderator and processes for things like making decisions and settling conflicts. Because of our ground rules, our groups tend to bond quickly, share confidences and trust each other. Many end up working with each other outside the group or networking new business opportunities for each other.
You can achieve business success on your own. Your Mastermind group simply gets you there faster––without the capital investment in a death ray.