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.
In these guidelines (sometimes called a “manifesto”), include the following:
- Information about meetings (are they live or remote, when will they be, how long will they last)
- Attendance expectations, including being late to meetings and the level of commitment required
- The purpose of the group
- If every member gets to be in the Hot Seat every meeting
- Group etiquette guidelines and the nature of proper behavior in the meetings
- How new members will be added to the group
- How and why someone will be removed from the group
- If there is a message board for between-meeting discussions, and what are the rules for using it
- 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!