Napoleon Hill coined the concept of the mastermind alliance in his classic book Think and Grow Rich. He believed that a group of like-minded, achievement-oriented individuals could dramatically leverage each other's success.
The old adages still hold true today, "the sum of the whole is greater than its parts" and "two heads are better than one". More and more today people in business are harnessing the power of mastermind groups to think bigger. Combining the power of several minds to solve problems, seek advice, different perspectives and achieve goals, simply creates greater results than "going it alone".
Mastermind groups commit to showing up and contributing to the success of each other. They become trusted confidants who rely on each other for priceless insights, candid feedback, valuable ideas, encouragement, inspiration and motivation.
Mastermind Group Types
Essentially, the types of groups are as endless as your imagination. Mastermind groups in large companies frequently consist of managers from different divisions, internal client groups who serve each other, or new leaders who want to further their development. Some mastermind groups are industry specific. They can be Financial Planners, Coaches, or Supply Chain Managers who commit to learning from each other. Small business owners often create mastermind groups to develop strategies, share lessons learned and resources.
The Planning Process
The first and most important step in forming a successful mastermind group is planning. Details can be fine-tuned once the group is formed, but having a clear picture up front will increase your chances of getting the right people the first time around. It will also help you communicate with potential members.
What will be the group's purpose and objectives? Be sure to think through both "what it is" and "what it is not". For example, a mastermind group is typically not a leads network.
What are the ground rules and boundaries? What's ok and not ok? And don't forget to plan for how the ground rules will be enforced.
How large will the group be? Groups typically have less than 10 members.
Where, how often, and how long will you meet? Some groups meet virtually through teleconference or the internet. The virtual groups usually meet more often. Other groups meet in person. They typically meet monthly or quarterly for a couple of hours.
How will meetings be structured? Some are structured with a facilitator and an agenda, some allot equal time to each member, some simply focus on the most pressing issues.
Who is the "ideal" member for your group? What are their characteristics? What is their expertise? What value will they add to the group?
Where To Find Members
Don't forget, finding the "ideal" member is the goal. Warm bodies do not equal "ideal" members. Some places to look for "ideal" members: Your existing network; Professional Associations; Chamber of Commerce; Your place of worship; Internet bulletin boards or networking groups; etc.
Everyone in the group needs to understand that there is a development curve in forming a mastermind group. While you're ramping up, members need to have open and honest conversations about group norms and expectations. These conversations solidify buy-in, begin to build bonds, and lay the foundation for trust.
Being a part of a successful mastermind group can be an invaluable and enriching experience, both personally and professionally. Some groups have literally shared the evolution of entire careers with each other. Wouldn't that be an amazing experience to look back on? Now that's what I call "power".