February 9, 2018
What are a MasterMind Groups? How Can I Start a Mastermind Group? How Can I Join a MasterMind Group? These Are Just Some of the MasterMind Questions I Get Asked.
For example, Ludmilla recently contacted me via LinkedIn and said she’s like to know more about mastermind groups. She wanted to know things like How does a mastermind group work? How many people does a mastermind group need? What prompted the mastermind group to come together? How successful has the mastermind been?
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a Mastermind Group?
There are many definitions of mastermind groups. Wikipedia talks about mastermind groups being peer to peer mentoring groups that help members to solve problems with input and advice from other members. It also says that research has shown that small groups, of up to ten people, work best.
I disagree with much of that and will explain why later. But before I do that let me explain the origin of the term mastermind. It apparently comes from a term used by Napolean Hill in 1925. He expanded on it in his 1937 book, Think and Grow Rich.
Hill talks about groups being of two or more people.
So popular wisdom has it that mastermind groups should be between 2-10 people. That’s probably right for most groups but I’ve experience of groups consisting of several hundred people that work exceptionally well.
Mastermind Group Structure
With regards size, it probably depends more on the leadership and structure of the group than actual numbers.
Some people suggest a revolving chair makes for a good group. But my experience is that a group needs strong leadership and preferably the same person in the chair throughout. That might be the leader or someone else but consistency is important to my mind.
As for group size, most groups start with a few people and grow their membership over time. One group I know well started with just an idea by the founder who invited another to join him in sharing ideas, business opportunities etc. They then found another person to join, and another and another … and the group is now hundreds of people lead by the founder. Its an invite only group and each new person is “interviewed” by the founder to see if they are a good fit. The group has rules and the founder upholds the rules.
Invite only groups good from the point of view of bringing in like-minded people already known to some of the group, but that could be said to be their weakness as well; new blood could be restricted.
Mastermind Group Meetings
It might be that until now you’ve assumed that mastermind groups need to physically meet on a regular basis. Yes and no. The regular part is correct in my view but it need not be a physical meeting. Meeting online can work very well. In fact, it is the only way forward if the group is international.
Online meetings work well if everyone joins a conference call, video link or whatever technology suits the group. For this to work well it needs an agenda and a strong chair. In many cases the agenda is set by topics being shared and agreed well in advance and there being someone to lead that part of the meeting. It might be they present on something they have achieved or that didn’t work so well. Or maybe on something they are planning or need advice on.
In a single meeting it might be that 2-3 topics are on the agenda. Or it might be just one. It depends on the depth you want to delve and how much time the meeting lasts. Another consideration is the time of day, and day, you meet. If its an international group this is further complicated by time zones. Meeting times need to vary a bit from time to time to suit people on the other side of the world.
Then there’s holidays, holy days and other things that inhibit attendance on any given date or time.
That brings me to attendance. Does the group insist everyone attends or not? Large groups win here as people choose to attend when they wish and a viable group size for each meeting is easily maintained The large group I’m in has never had problems with getting enough people on each call. Sometimes workloads mean some people don’t attend in months, but when things quieten down they can just pick up the threads again.
One thing often talked about is that members need to contribute to each meeting. Contributing without having much to say seems wrong to me so I’m in favour of people not speaking unless they have something of value to add. It also means that there is nothing wrong in recording the event and circulating to those that couldn’t attend .. or as a reference to those that didn’t take notes!
Another consideration is other modes of communication. Ideally as well as a regular meeting, a forum of some sort is ideal. It can be as simple as an email group. Some of the discussions I’ve seen in groups can consist of hundreds of comments and replies. So a group that can be indexed in some way makes sense.
Then there’s face to face meetings on top of the rest. The large group I’m involved in has country meetings from time to time. Organised by someone in that country, or who is travelling to that country, people are invited to an informal coffee or to a formal meeting with an agenda. Meeting people face to face is great and I’ve formed many long-term business relationships this way. Plus I’ve made some good friends this way as well.
How Can I Start a Mastermind Group?
Unless you have personal experience of a group I would be wary of starting one from scratch. Learn about groups by being a member of a group first. Then start small and build from there.
How Can I Join a MasterMind Group?
So if you need to join a mastermind group, where do you start?
Try Googling “mastermind group in [your town]”. I did and thousands of pages came back. Some were for businesses generally, some for specific business types. Some were free, some required a (hefty) membership fee.
And if you want to join an “invite only” group there are ways to get invited.
If you know someone in a group ask them to recommend you. Or if you know the leader/owner of a group you could try the same thing, or impress them with your abilities by ensuring you publish articles, questions or replies to questions in the media they use. If you stand out as being someone their group would benefit from they could well invite you.
Vetting Prospective MasterMind Group Members
It might be that you let people self-select to join your group and accept everyone.
Or you might be very selective and screen applicants .. or even only invite those you know or your members have recommended.
If you are going to be selective you need to think about your criteria. And that probably means you need to have some sort of group rules as well. Here are some possible questions you might use as templates for selecting members.
Why do you want to join?
What would you like to get out of membership?
What can you contribute?
How will you contribute?
What are your values?
What drives you?
Who are your typical clients?
What are your client’s top five problems?
What are your strengths?
What are your goals?
What is holding you back?
Who in the group could help you with this?
Who do you most admire in your market?
What’s your greatest achievement?
Will you be committed to the group?
Of course, the questions you ask will depend a lot on the nature and structure of your mastermind group.
Questions to ask yourself about mastermind group applicants
Do I like, trust and respect this person?
Would I do business with them?
Would I recommend them to others?
If you can’t give a categorical YES to each of the above questions you probably need to examine why, and if this is a person you want in the group.