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!