Extraordinary Team Blog

The Power of the Mastermind

Posted by Kristin Arnold on December 15, 2011

In his seminal book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill coined the concept of the mastermind alliance.  He believed that a group of like-minded, achievement oriented individuals could dramatically leverage each other’s success.  This Mastermind concept has proven itself over time as a valuable resource for people of every profession – including yours.

I was recently reminded of the power of the Mastermind with Randy Gage’s Prosperity TV posting.  He spent a few days at the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne, FL with a handful of peers to work “on” vs. “in” the business.  He talks about a “kitchen cabinet” – a circle of influence of those people you know and trust to bounce ideas off and give each other feedback.  In his video blog posting, he states three conditions for success for a more formal mastermind:

1)  Sacred.  People agree to the times you meet.

2) Confidentiality. Whatever is said in the group, stays in the group.

3) Size.  4-5 or 8 or max of 11, depending on how much “flavor” you want to have in the group!

I am not only a member of a Mastermind group (actually, we call ourselves the “MagicMind” because our group is where magic happens!), but I also facilitate executive mastermind sessions.   There are a few key ingredients you need to have to make sure the magic comes together:

1) Have the right chemistry.  The success of any mastermind group depends on the combined character of the group.  They can be from the same profession – although having people from various professions or industries gives the group more “outside” than “insider” thinking.  If from various professions, the people may be similarly structured,  facing similar business issues, share spheres of influence, have a common clientele and/or have similar ambitions.  Carefully select whom you invite.  They don’t even have to know each other initially, however the dynamics will need to shift into a trusting relationship.  BTW, They should NOT be competitors – it makes the dynamic go wonky!

2)  Agree on the objective.  A mastermind group inherently shares information, best practices and serves as business advisors and sounding boards in a non-competitive environment.  That’s pretty standard.  Then there are mastermind groups that hold each other accountable.  Entirely new objective – and I’ve seen some masterminds who embrace the notion of accountability and others who reject it.  It’s simply a choice.

3)  Make it intimate.  No, I am not talking about romantic.  Intimate.  So you can focus on the people, tailor the topics, and go deep into the solutions.  Randy’s group went to the Ritz-Carlton; you can have a mastermind in your living room.  It’s a conversation, not a presentation, so you want to limit the number of people you invite.  I agree with Randy on this.  Depending on your group, you may have only 4 or 5 – or as many as 12 or 13.  Anytime you go over a baker’s dozen, you’ll break into smaller groups to have more meaningful discussions – and the more time-consuming each session will be!

4)  Appoint a Facilitator.  Whether you identify one person from the group or you bring in an outside facilitator, somebody needs to set the agenda and keep them focused and on track.  Otherwise, it just turns into a bitch session – and we don’t want that!

How do you tap in to the potential synergy of a group?   Each member commits to maximizing each other’s success…through the power of the Mastermind!

  • Great post Kristin. Along with a friend of mine, we created an accountability group last winter. We have realized the same success you discuss here. I think we can all say that we have had a more successful year this year than we have ever had. We just finished reviewing our individual 2012 with each other and have all made improvements from feedback from the group. We don’t appoint a single facilitator but rather hold each other accountable to ensure we remain productive during each meeting. We also evaluate our meeting before we finish. Thanks again for a great post.

    • Thanks, and here’s to a FABULOUS new year, Chris! How many times does your group meet? And what a great tip to evaluate the meeting before you finish. We do an evaluation by email a few days later -after all the great ideas sink in!