Trying to do it all by yourself? Struggling to keep up your motivation? Need someone to bounce ideas off? Join a Mastermind Group!

Mastermind groups are small (6-8 people) groups of peers and colleagues on a similar path as you. By partnering with business owners in similar situations, everyone can exchange information and support.

Members must commit fully and meet regularly on phone, web, or Skype meetings. They must respect the privacy and confidentiality of all members. The first evidence of accountability is the commitment of all members to keep their respective meeting appointments.

When joining or forming a group, identify the Facilitator whose job it is to ensure conversation continues, stays focuses, and involves everyone. The group should make an effort to appoint a Facilitator trained in group dynamics or a facilitation track record.

It helps significantly when members share value systems. Political interests, religious beliefs, green interests, industry sector, and the like define some groups. Sharing the same values keeps those topics out of the conversation.

In addition, members should be equally experienced to keep everyone equally challenged. Typically, members are not local to avoid competitive issues and invite broader experience.

In early meetings, the Mastermind Group members should negotiate meeting behavior, setting up rules and agendas. Just because members are like-minded does not mean that egos are checked at the door. To make a 90-minute meeting productive, all members must agree on purpose and procedure.

Members, then, need to set individual and group goals. Goals should be actionable, measurable, and short-term. In each case, members need to identify the specific supports expected from specific members. After all, you are in the group to maximize the contribution of many minds. So, expect them to hold you accountable for delivery. You all should share an emotional and intellectual involvement.

Finding a Mastermind Group takes some deliberate and focused effort online. Starting a group may take upfront energy, but it will be one more valuable trick in your success toolbox!


by Steven Schlagel