In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill described his concept of a mastermind group as, “A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one another to follow through with both plan and purpose.” Today, like-minded professionals come together through a plethora of available mastermind programs to help each other achieve success, thanks in part to Napoleon Hill’s original idea.
Note: This two-part article is intended to offer some valuable tips, suggestions and observations for those readers who are planning to start a mastermind group, or seeking to become an active member of a mastermind group in the near future.
Before starting a mastermind group, do your homework. Carefully select the topic(s), and solicit the advice of others who have started similar mastermind programs, so you know what to expect. Attend several group meetings to learn about the differing formats, content, membership requirements, etc. This will assist you in determining the appropriate structure for your mastermind group before proceeding.
Get help with start-up. Karyn Greenstreet, the owner of Passion for Business and The Success Alliance http://thesuccessalliance.com/, is someone you should schedule time with before you start or join a mastermind group. Karyn currently offers a variety of teleclasses and valuable resources on how to start and manage a mastermind group, including a free e-Book, to help you research and successfully start your mastermind program.
Mastermind programs, if properly constructed, require a serious commitment in terms of preparation and planning, personal and professional growth, and active participation. As a group leader, it’s important to set aside the time necessary to develop the group’s charter, format and content, and the outline for planned meetings, programs and events, well in advance. For the group to be successful, members must also share this same level of commitment through regular attendance at meetings, self-study, professional development and growth, and their support of other members.
The group charter and guidelines should clearly define the purpose of the group, information about scheduled meetings, attendance expectations, group etiquette, member additions and removal, communication and membership fees. Members should know as much as possible about the group’s plans and requirements in advance, and what they will gain through their active participation. This clarity, in turn, will help new member candidates make informed decisions as to whether the group is the right fit for their specific need.
Whether you choose an open or closed group format, diversity and the group’s dynamics are critical aspects to consider to ensure a rich mastermind experience. You want to create a “buzz” by recruiting business leaders with differing perspectives, business backgrounds, experience levels, and industry profiles. Above all, select business professionals who are passionate about their personal growth and success, and are equally dedicated to helping other group members achieve the same goals.
Prepare for growth and attrition. In the early stages, you should expect a certain amount of attrition to occur for various reasons including time and workload requirements, schedule conflicts, family and health issues, and business changes. Your recruiting efforts, therefore, should be ongoing so you have a backlog of candidates in the event that you lose group members. Also, have a transition plan to help new members quickly get introduced to the selected topics, recommended readings, homework and group exercises, to enable them to contribute from day one, and not feel left out.
Part 2 of this two-part article will focus on several additional areas you will want to emphasize when starting your mastermind group including Communications and Confidentiality, Programs, Activities and Events, and Accountability. In the meantime, please share your thoughts, ideas and experiences on this subject with me.
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