What is a mastermind group? A mastermind group is simply an alliance of two or more individuals dedicating themselves to a specific goal. It is a way to get all the knowledge, expertise, and connections one needs to achieve their goal.
It is believed that Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich”, first defined the term mastermind. Hill said it is a “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”
Andrew Carnegie, the wealthy steel magnate, inspired Hill’s concept of the “Master Mind.” According to Hill: “Mr. Carnegie’s Master Mind group consisted of a staff of approximately 50 men, with whom he surrounded himself, for the definite purpose of manufacturing and marketing steel. He attributed his entire fortune to the power he accumulated through this “Master Mind.’”
Over the past 75 years, the idea of mastermind groups has grown and evolved to become a valuable tool of successful individuals.
Participants bring to an effective mastermind group a synergy of energy, commitment and excitement. The group together will raise the bar by challenging each other to create and implement goals, brainstorm ideas, and support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion. Mastermind participants act as a catalyst for growth, by playing the roles of the devil’s advocate as well as the supportive colleague.
The mastermind group belongs to the participants. So, it is key for each person to participate, contribute and follow the guidelines. Fellow members in the group are there to provide feedback, brainstorm new possibilities, and set up accountability structures that keeps each member focused and on track. It is a collection of supportive peers who work together to move each individual of the group to the next level.
Things grow at an exponential level when people are in groups. 1+1+1+1 equals 5, or 6 or even 10! Napoleon Hill believed there was a mystical quality created when a mastermind group was formed. He said: “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”
In other words, the sum of the ability of individuals to create things in the world is multiplied when individuals operate as a group.
Types of Masterminds
There are two basic types of mastermind groups: One that is focused on the success and vision of one individual, and one that is focused on helping everyone in the group.
The mastermind group that Carnegie created was solely directed at his personal vision. The 50 men in the group were not there to discuss their own projects. Instead, they focused on one main goal: the building of a steel empire. The originator of the group is the driving force behind the goal. He/she gathers together a group of people who have the knowledge, expertise and connections he or she lacks.
Consider this a personal board of directors. It can be a formal board that meets periodically at one place. Or, it can be informal, where one meets with their advisors individually on the phone or in person to go over issues and ideas.
This type of personal board of advisors could and should include the management team, a CPA, attorney, business consultant, friendly peers, vendors, customers, HR experts and fellow business owners in other industries.
The second type of mastermind group is one where all members of the group are meeting to support one another in achieving a goal. The people in this kind of a group are not totally focused on one person’s project/goal all the time. Instead, the members help each other brainstorm and strategize, and introduce leads or other people and resources that might help a member with their goal.
A mastermind group solves the problem of how to get the expertise, experience, resources, and specialized knowledge one does not have. To get these resources, guess what — there is a price to pay. The creator of the group needs to make sure that the other members are generously compensated in one way or another. This is usually in the form of idea sharing and support of one another. Some groups are run by a paid facilitator that can also offer other services.
It is a good idea not to have family and close friends as members of your mastermind group. The dynamics of the relationship will interfere with the openness of advice and opinion.
Today’s economic and social landscape has shifted so radically in the last few years. Business owners need to learn to think differently just to maintain the status quo. With the current trends, things look as if they’re going to get a lot more confusing in the months ahead. A mastermind group is a way to share ideas, opinions and experience to keep a business owner up-to-date with today’s rapidly changing environment.
Elements of a Mastermind Group
The basic foundations of a great mastermind group starts with a clear and definite purpose. For the second kind of group, where people with different goals come together to help each other, the purpose is that when one person is discussing their goal, everyone else must be focused in that moment on helping that person get what they want, to the best of their ability.
The second crucial element in a mastermind group is harmony. There must be a complete meeting of the minds, without reservation on the part of any member. For a successful alliance, each member subordinates personal needs to the needs of the overall goal. If at any time the harmony of the group is damaged, it must immediately do something to restore it, including eliminating a member, if that becomes necessary. Never try to operate a mastermind alliance that includes negative people. A general positive attitude is required.
Other key elements to a successful mastermind group include:
- Establish guidelines for how the group is to operate.
- Create an agenda for each meeting prior to the meeting.
- Start out sharing a success or breakthrough.
- Everyone must participate in some way at each meeting.
- Commitment to the group and each other.
- Maintain a balance of attention and sharing by each member.
- There should not be any direct competitors in the group.
- Members should have similar success and experience levels.
- Members should also have a diversity of skills and abilities.
A mastermind is about moving one forward and helping one achieve a dream or a goal. The mastermind is a very effective way to share resources, skills and experience, so that the goal can be achieved much faster than if one operated on their own.