The core principle of a mastermind group is trust.
One way to enhance that trust among members is to have everyone sign a non-disclosure agreement.
A non-disclosure agreement (also known as a confidentiality agreement) is a written agreement among the mastermind group members that all conversations, ideas and document shared among members will remain strictly private and will not be shared with anyone else, including spouses, co-workers, etc.
According to Wikipedia, a non-disclosure agreement has these elements:
1. It’s in writing
2. It’s signed by all parties
3. It outlines what can and cannot be discussed outside the group
4. It restricts what materials each party can use in public
5. Exclusions for what is not confidential, if any
6. Length of agreement
Privacy and Confidentiality: The Cornerstone of Mastermind Groups
For mastermind groups, a non-disclosure agreement goes a long way to ensuring that everything said and shared in meetings is kept private.
- In personal mastermind groups, it means that all your thoughts and feelings about your personal life will remain confidential.
- In business/professional mastermind groups, it means that any documents you share with the group members, any brainstorming you do around a new idea or project, and any discussions around particular problems or challenges will be kept confidential as well.
Some mastermind group facilitators feel that confidentiality agreements are too draconian. But most mastermind members I’ve queried say that they prefer to have it in writing, especially with a new group where the members don’t know each other well. It also helps members feel more secure should a member leave the group, that they are still bound by the same non-disclosure agreement.
Does an NDA Include Your Spouse, Business Partner, or Boss?
The non-disclosure agreement covers the private conversations that members have in meetings. There’s no reason why you can’t talk to your spouse, business partner, boss or team about what you brainstormed about in your own Hot Seat. But an NDA would prevent you from sharing what others talked about in their private Hot Seat, even with your spouse, business partner or closest friend.
When someone is in the Hot Seat, they are vulnerable. They’re going to talk about a problem they need to solve, or ideas they need to generate, or how to get into action. Each member needs to be assured that this conversation will be private. Otherwise, how can a member feel safe in disclosing a new business idea, talking about emotional or financial problems at home, dealing with difficult situations with employees, or even coming up with the title of their next book?
A secret that’s shared is no longer a secret. Once you talk about the private masterminding conversations, you lose control of privacy unless everyone agrees to keep it private and secret. Without this level of trust, safety saps from the group and eventually the group will dismantle.
So go ahead…create a written NDA for your group, get everyone to agree to it and sign it. Explain the importance of complete privacy and trust in your group discussions. You’ll be glad you did and your group will thank you for it!
Do you have non-disclosure agreements in your group? Are they written or verbal? Do you think they’re important to have? I’d love to hear your comments!