Every mastermind group must have rules and guidelines for participation and behavior. Without them, your group will flounder and ultimately fail.
Here’s a nine-point checklist of what to include in your mastermind group rules:
Attendance requirements – It’s up to you, the Facilitator, to decide what the rules are around attendance. Must the member attend 100% of meetings, or will 80% do?
Attention – Members should be completely focused on what’s happening in meetings. No cell phones or email. No side conversations.
Participation – There are two places where participation is crucial: in brainstorming/peer advisory Hot Seats, and in action planning/accountability. Mastermind groups ask members to step up to the plate; if they aren’t willing to participate fully and give it everything they’ve got, they have no place in your mastermind group.
Participation level – Let’s face it, we’ve all met people who talk too much, and those who are quiet. The rule is that conversation should be balanced. Members should pay attention to when someone is dominating the conversation and when someone is verbally withdrawn (it’s up to the Facilitator to manage this behavior).
Accountability – If a member makes a promise to complete a task, they should be held accountable to do so. Regular check-ins during meetings keep members on track. Each Facilitator must decide, for their groups, how rigid the accountability needs to be. (It helps to ask each member: How do you want me to hold you accountable?) Consider creating some sort of shared document or message forum where members can report promised actions and results.
Connection – Mastermind groups can yield networking opportunities, but they are organic rather than structured. Most mastermind groups have rules about members marketing to each other. Members want to feel safe in the group, not the recipient of an onslaught of marketing messages.
Confidentiality – Mastermind groups are intentional safe spaces where members can bring their problems, challenges and concerns. Nothing that’s said inside the mastermind group can be shared outside it. If you must, create a Non-disclosure Agreement that members sign. Additionally, do not allow gossip inside your mastermind group meeting. A simple definition of gossip: talking about someone when they’re not in the room or part of the conversation.
Honesty – If members are not willing to be honest about what’s going on in their lives, and if they’re not honest in their conversations among group members, the group will crumble. Remind members that they’re here to grow – which means they must be vulnerable and ask for help. And remind members that giving someone “honest feedback” means clear, simple, productive feedback, not brutal or demeaning feedback.
Membership – Typically, the Facilitator decides who can join the group, whether a new member can join an existing group, and how people exit a group. Put this rule in writing so that everyone is aware.
Having clear, well-written rules and guidelines for your mastermind group puts the group on the right track to success. Once you’ve written all the rules, discuss them with your group. If necessary, have everyone sign them so there’s more commitment to live by the rules of the group.
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