How to Start a Mastermind Group

It’s been said that you will become the composite of the books you read and the five people with whom you spend the most time. If you study the concept of memetics, the way ideas spread from person to person, you’ll find evidence to support this assertion. Even without any validation, anyone who has a mastermind group will tell you how important it has been to their growth, their development, and their success.

A good mastermind group will help you see how much potential you have, allow you to share best practices and strategies, provide a sense of camaraderie, and create a sense of personal accountability. I don’t want to extol the virtues here, but rather share with you how you start one.

The Who

It’s essential that you find people who are growth-oriented for a mastermind. The people in your mastermind must be driven to be more, do more, have more, and contribute more (my shorthand for striving to reach your full potential). It isn’t enough that they want the camaraderie alone. They need to bring something to the table. You can’t build an effective mastermind with people who aren’t striving, or who are merely drifting.

You also want to find people who have a powerful locus of control, people who believe that they are acting on the world, not allowing the world to work on them. You will be able to identify these people by the fact that they always have projects followed by more projects. A mastermind is a collection of people who are empowered, intrinsically motivated and driven.

The people you invite into a mastermind must also be willing to share and teach. There are some people possessed by a scarcity mindset. They are not willing to share because your success might diminish their success. You need people who are confident that sharing with you will help you improve, and your sharing with them will benefit them.

I have described myself as a scientist. I try things to see if I can make them work. It’s good to have people who try things and measure the results in your mastermind. The more experiments your mastermind members are running, the more insights you can share.

An excellent and effective mastermind requires the trust that you can share your successes and your failures, both of which provide lessons and feedback. You can’t share things like your financial results if you don’t trust the people in your mastermind group. You can’t share your strategies and tactics with people who won’t respect what you have shared in confidence. You have to be able to share and to be transparent, especially around your challenges.

The What

A good mastermind has frequent, but not too-frequent, meetings, always with an agenda. Like any useful meeting, you need to prepare your thoughts, ideas, challenges, opportunities, and questions. Starting the session with a primary question to answer is one way to get the most out of each meeting. You are going to leave with takeaways, and you’ll need time to gather feedback before the next meeting.

Your mastermind will invariably share strategies with which you are unfamiliar but equally important will be their network. They will know people who can help you, providing you with referrals for service providers you might need, or referrals and introductions to people who need your services. You will know people and have relationships that will benefit them as well.

What might be the most useful outcome of belonging to a mastermind group is being challenged by your peers. Your mastermind members will have different ideas and different opinions, all shaped by their different experiences, biases, and preferences. You will find the most value in being challenged to look at what you’re doing through a different lens.

Interview Potential Members

You are going to want to interview potential members for fit. You have to want to spend time with the members of your group. The more you like and respect the members of your mastermind group, the higher the odds of you helping everyone in the group to grow towards their full potential. Spend time together, and see if there is chemistry.

Explore what they are reading, as non-readers don’t often make the best members. Ask questions about the new things they are trying in their life and in their business to test for their desire to improve and determine their motivation. You also want people who spend time thinking. People who write—even if they write for themselves—often make good mastermind group members.

You don’t want more than six people in your group unless you are part of a moderated mastermind group. You need time to share, and larger groups tend to be more unwieldy.

“But wait,” you say. “I am a salesperson or sales manager, not an entrepreneur. Can I start a mastermind of salespeople or sales managers?” Not only is it true that you can start a mastermind, but you should also do so with great haste.

If you want to improve your performance, a group of people dedicated to doing so and sharing their experience will accelerate your growth. Start a mastermind.

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