There’s a lot of interest in mastermind groups and I’m getting more requests about what a mastermind group actually is (and what it’s not). I have facilitated mastermind groups since 1994. They have profoundly shaped members’ lives and many successfully navigate their professional and personal lives because of their participation in mastermind groups.
Mastermind groups offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support to sharpen your business and personal skills. A mastermind group helps you and your mastermind group members achieve success. Members challenge each other to set strong goals, and more importantly, to accomplish them.
Mastermind group facilitators start and run these groups. They help the group to dive deeply into fruitful discussions, and work with members to create success — as each member defines it. Facilitators are the secret to thriving mastermind groups. (I’ve seen plenty of groups fail because of poor leadership.)
Through the mastermind group process, first you create a goal, then design a plan to achieve it. The group helps you with creative ideas and wise decisions-making. Then, as you begin to implement your plan, you bring both success stories and problems to the group. Success stories are applauded (loudly!), and problem are solved through peer brainstorming and collective, creative thinking.
The group requires commitment, confidentiality, willingness to both give and receive advice and ideas. The group members support each other with total honesty, respect and compassion. Mastermind group members act as catalysts for growth, devil’s advocates and supportive colleagues. This is the essence and value of mastermind groups.
Each meeting has a mastermind group agenda so that conversations stay on course. The facilitator is tasked with making sure that conversations are deep and balanced, and that all mastermind group meeting agenda items are covered in the time allotted.
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These days, many people call their event a “mastermind group,” or a “master class,” or simply a “mastermind event.” But it can be confusing when these terms are tossed around interchangeably because they’re not the same thing! Let’s clear up the confusion once and for all. Here’s my list of what a mastermind group is not.
You’ll see lots of people running big group mentoring programs and calling them “mastermind groups.” But are they really?
Here’s a four-part test to see if it’s really a true mastermind group, or if it’s simply a mentoring group:
I have seen mega mastermind groups (200-500 members) that are true mastermind groups. They’re designed so that individuals can get personal attention and the brainstorming, problem-solving, and accountability power of the group. But it takes a lot of smart logistics (not to mention quite a few facilitators to run the Hot Seats), so not every large group program can call itself a true mastermind group.
The concept of the “master mind alliance” was introduced by Napoleon Hill in his book from the 1920s, The Law of Success, and expanded upon in his 1930s book, Think And Grow Rich. While Napoleon Hill called it a “master mind alliance,” it’s been shortened and modernized to “mastermind group.” Mastermind groups have been around since the beginning of time. Even Benjamin Franklin belonged to such a group, which he called a Junto. But it was Napoleon Hill who explained it clearly and encouraged people to gather together in a structured, repeatable environment for the success of all. Napoleon Hill wrote about the mastermind group principle as:
“The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.”
“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind [the master mind].”
In a mastermind group, the agenda belongs to the group and each person’s participation is crucial to the success of the group as a whole. Your mastermind partners give you feedback, help you brainstorm new possibilities, and solutions to tricky problems. The facilitator sets up accountability structures that keep you focused and on track. You create a community of supportive colleagues who brainstorm together to move the members to new heights. You’ll gain tremendous insights that improve your business and personal life. Being a good mastermind group member creates massive value for you and everyone in your group.
Your mastermind group is like having an objective board of directors, a success team, and a peer advisory group — all rolled into one. Whether you find an existing mastermind group to join, or start a group of your own, you’ll love what this group process can help you accomplish. Learn about our classes at the Mastermind Group Academy, or sign up for my free video tutorial below.
The popularity of mastermind groups is growing worldwide, as people like you are creating success through brainstorming with your peers, solving problems, generating creative ideas, designing strong action plans, and holding each other accountable.
Learn how starting a mastermind group enhances your personal and professional life, leveraging your time and expanding your impact.
And remember: You can facilitate mastermind groups for your clients as an added value to them and a revenue stream for you.