Category Archives: Starting Your Mastermind Group

Listen to the Interview on Mastermind Groups

I was interviewed last week on the radio, all about the power of mastermind groups for small business owners.

You can listen to the free recording here on the Blog Talk Radio website.

And on iTunes here.

The interview is about 25 minutes long. Enjoy!

Creating Mastermind Group Guidelines

As the mastermind group facilitator, it is important that you set some guidelines about how the group will run and what the rules are for the members.

This helps establish the nature of the relationship among members and builds rapport and trust — two crucial ingredients for a successful mastermind group.

Basic Guidelines

In these guidelines (sometimes called a “manifesto”), include the following:

  1. Information about meetings (are they live or remote, when will they be, how long will they last)
  2. Attendance expectations, including being late to meetings and the level of commitment required of the members
  3. The purpose of the group
  4. If every member gets to be in the Hot Seat every meeting
  5. Group etiquette guidelines and the nature of proper behavior in the meetings
  6. How new members will be added to the group
  7. How and why someone will be removed from the group
  8. If there is a message board for between-meeting discussions, and what are the rules for using it
  9. If the group will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement


It’s also help to establish some guidlines around communication. Talk to them about deep listening and not interrupting each other. Talk to them about asking questions to find clarity and about brainstorming to produce a huge quantity of possible solutions to problems.

The way group members communicate with each other, both during Hot Seats and outside of Hot Seats sets the tone and nature of the group. Your goal is to create harmony, respect and trust among the members. By guiding them about what good communication and listening sounds like, you ensure that they’ve got the skills they will need to be successful in the group.

Dealing With Problems

Whenever a group of people get together for a long time, there is likely to be problems, even small ones. Decide in advance how problems will be brought to the surface and resolved. (Ask your group to brainstorm around this and let them decide what is a problem and how they want to communicate about it.) In this way, you and your group will have a conscious process for dealing with interpresonal challenges which will free everyone to get on with the best brainstorming ever!

Why Mastermind Group Guidelines Matter

When starting your own mastermind group, it’s imperative that you and your mastermind members come up with some rules about the purpose of the group and how members are expected to behave. These rules are often compiled into a document called Group Guidelines and each member signs it to show they agree to follow these rules and principles.

Here’s why rules and guidelines matter: initially, your group is getting a feel for each other, connecting (or not connecting) based on personality, goals and communication style.

Then comes the rocky part of any mastermind group (sort of like the “seven year itch” in marriage) where things can fall apart. Group members don’t honor each other’s boundaries, people don’t show up for meetings, and the energy of the group falls flat.

Group Guidelines help the Group Facilitator to bring the group back into alignment. Breaking the discussion pattern for one session and focusing on the group’s goals and purpose helps to solidify a group that’s faltering. It gets people to re-commit to the group process, and gives people who have been looking for an escape from the group the perfect opportunity to leave in a healthy way.

Facilitators can also use the Group Guidelines when speaking with a difficult member, one that the group hopes to retain, but only if he/she modifies their behavior to conform to the Guidelines.

Harmony and respect are the keywords to any successful mastermind group. Written Group Guidelines will help you keep harmony and respect flowing smoothly.