What follows are some of the questions I’m asked most often by someone wanting to start or join a mastermind group.
1. What is a Mastermind Group?
A mastermind is a group of people, usually five or six in number, that meet to help each other achieve their goals. If it’s a business group, the members are usually in non-competing businesses.
On one level, a mastermind is a support group. Each member brings their own particular skills, experience and background to the group. Everyone benefits from the other members’ perspective.
On another level, when a group like this comes together, they tap into a “third mind” that’s larger than the sum of its parts.
2. Where Can I find Mastermind Partners?
If your goal is to form a mastermind group for personal goals like getting in shape, spiritual growth or a hobby, it’s easy to find members. Start with your friends and neighbors. If you only find one or two candidates, ask them to help you fill out the group by contacting their friends and so on.
For a mastermind group focused on business, start with the same process. Who do you know that’s already achieving the same or higher level of success you are? Think about people from your work, school, church, gym or any business organizations you belong to.
If you can’t think of anyone, don’t fret.
Today, thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to find potential members for your business-based group.
For example, you can:
- Run an ad on Craigslist.org seeking members
- Check social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter.
- Advertise in the classifieds of your local paper, entertainment weekly or business journal.
- Attend local networking groups like those found on Meetup.com
- Do a Google search entering your topic (real estate, marketing, business, etc.) followed by the words “forum” or “group.” Usually you will find several online discussion sites this way which you can use to search for members.
3. How Often Should a Mastermind Group Meet?
Most groups meet either on a weekly, bi-monthly or monthly basis but there is no hard and fast rule.
I recommend you meet at least once a month, though. You want to be able to help keep the group focused and accountable and its hard to do that if you only see each other every 2-3 months.
There are also groups that meet more than once a week. That usually works best for a team that’s all working together on a single project or within the same organization. Groups like that might even meet on a daily basis.
4. Is it Better to Meet Face-to-Face Or Remotely By Phone?
I prefer face-to-face mastermind groups but with the plethora of teleconferencing and webinar services available, remote meetings are nearly as effective as everyone being in the same room.
If you do choose to meet remotely, I recommend getting together in-person periodically. If it’s a long-distance group, consider all flying in to a single location once a year like a resort property or a seminar that’s of interest to the entire group.
5. Should I Choose People From the Same or Different Industries?
There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Same Industry Mastermind
If you meet with people within your industry, obviously there’s a better understanding of what it is you do. There are also more opportunities to share contacts, resources and form alliances and strategic partnerships.
The downside to same industry masterminds is there may be trust issues if a member of your group is a potential competitor. You may feel uncomfortable sharing ideas that could be taken or exposing weaknesses.
Diverse Industry Mastermind
Forming a group with members from different industries means you can comfortably share freely without fear of losing your ideas or having your problems or weaknesses exposed to a competitor.
Another benefit to this type of group is unique perspectives. There’s a tendency among people in a particular industry to all do things a certain way when sometimes a new approach is needed. Mastermind partners from other industries bring a different set of skills and experiences to the table and, quite often, will come up with an idea or a solution to a problem that you’re unlikely to find within your industry.
The downside to a diverse group like this is that, if you’re in a fairly technical industry, you might have to spend more valuable time explaining to outsiders how your industry works and your particular challenges.
You’re better off going with either a diverse industry group or a same industry group where the members are non-competing either due to different roles, niches or non-competing regions within that industry.
6. How Long Does a Typical Meeting Last?
It depends on how many members are in your mastermind group. The way my groups work is each member gets a turn lasting anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the format decided at the outset.
During each members turn, the entire group focuses on whatever idea, goal or challenge that member needs help with.
If you plan on a one-hour meeting by phone and have six members, then 10 minutes per person would work. You probably want to set aside an extra 5-10 minutes for opening and closing remarks, announcements and any other group business.
My last local group met in a private room at a restaurant every Thursday for lunch. We’d arrive at Noon and allow 30 minutes for ordering lunch and socializing. Then each of the six members got 20 minutes each. After each member had their turn, the meeting was adjourned. Everyone was welcome to stay afterwards and socialize or continue to brainstorm.
In larger groups, it may not be practical to allow each member a turn so a ‘hot seat’ method can be employed where 1-3 members get a turn and the focus is one them for that particular meeting. Next time the group meets, different members are on the hot seat on a rotational basis.
7. How Do You Choose a Leader For Your Mastermind Group?
Frequently, the leader is the person that formed the group. Although a mastermind group is usually a democracy, there definitely needs to be a leader. Frequently, the leader is the person that formed the group.
Being the leader while also being a member of the group can be a burden over the long haul because it’s the leader’s responsibility to ensure the group follows the rules and guidelines the group agrees to.
The leader is responsible for things like keeping everyone focused, being the timekeeper, and dealing with conflicts within the group.
One way to handle this is to rotate leadership periodically so everyone shares the load.
Another alternative is to use a facilitator to be the leader. The facilitator usually isn’t a member of the group. Their role is to keep the group focused, call on the individual members in turn and, in some cases, keep track of each member’s goals for the next meeting to help create accountability.
In some groups, the facilitator doesn’t get a turn or provide feedback. In others, the facilitator may provide feedback occasionally but usually only after everyone else in the group has had their say.
So, what are your questions about forming a mastermind group? Enter them in the comment section below.Tweet