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How (and Why) to Get a Mastermind Group | By: Multiple Speaker(s)

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How (and Why) to Get a Mastermind Group
By Vena Jones-Cox

This article is an amalgam of 2 other articles I’ve published in the past, both written by students. Thanks to Una Elliott from Atlanta and Jim Shapiro from Cincinnati for the source material.

Do you believe that when a group of people focus their efforts together, they can produce bigger results than individuals operating independently?
Do you sometimes have things you plan to do and you end up putting them off longer than you wanted? And when you finally do them do you find they were really easy and you wonder why you put them off?
Do you like the idea of have a team whose purpose is to share ideas and also to share motivation and accountability – someone to say “you said you were going to do X – did you do it?”

If your answer to all of these questions was “yes”, you’re looking for a mastermind group.

Masterminding is all about the principle that 1+1=3 – that when you get more contribution for people, the potential increases more than one would expect. At a minimum, a great mastermind group should:
Inject broader insight and experience into your business practices
Provide a tool for focus, accountability, motivation and support
Provide service and support to others
Create business opportunity for everyone
Tap into the woo-woo powers …. Those powers that some of the writers mentioned that seem to result from the merging of ideas and energy
According to the classic book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone were all members of a Mastermind Group called the Wayfarers .

This group of Leaders knew something many of us do not. They knew they couldn't create in a vacuum, and relied on each other for feedback, ideas and accountability. They met several times a year and believed that a group of like-minded, achievement-oriented individuals could dramatically leverage each other's success.

And guess what? They also controlled much of the industry in our country for many years—so maybe there’s something to this that we should pay attention to!

Mastermind groups are small groups of people who are dedicated to developing their businesses through structure, suggestions, and moral support to each member to further her success in business. They meet regularly to share ideas and critique plans in a supportive, confidential environment.

To be clear, these are not study groups or learning groups: strategy how-tos may be discussed as an aside to the real purpose of the group, which is to work on growth and problem-solving.

Although each group establishes and agrees to its own parameters and procedures, successful groups are generally based on the following principles.

Size: The maximum size for a successful Mastermind Group is 8 members. More is unwieldy and doesn’t give everyone time to share during a reasonable 90 minute-2 hour meeting

Regularity of meetings: In order to get and keep momentum, meetings should be held at least twice a month.

Makeup of members: In a classic mastermind group, members come from different industries. In a real estate mastermind group, members are typically all in real estate, but it’s important that members be:
Non-competing as to strategy and geographic area. In other words, 2 wholesalers could be members of the same mastermind group, but only if they work in different counties. A wholesaler and a retailer could be members of the same mastermind group even if they work in the same county, because they exercise different strategies. Head-to-head competitors are much less likely to be willing to truly open up and share in a mastermind meeting
At approximately the same level of knowledge and experience. Everyone wants to be in a mastermind group with people who know more and do more than they do; the problem is, of course, that a beginner can’t truly mastermind with an advanced investor—he can only learn from him. And don’t worry that a group of newbies won’t be valuable to you: if yu focus on the true purpose of the group—to give you a sounding board and hold you accountable—a group comprised entirely of beginners can be as good as one of old pros. I’ve seen many such group move through the process of building successful businesses together over the course of years.
Positive and devoted to the purpose of the group. Members who are consistently negative about their own abilities, critical of those of others, or not invested in sharing and helping are useless to the group and, in fact, make it an unpleasant place to be.

One other thing to consider: will spouses and/or partners be allowed to join the same group? There are pros and cons to this: the main downside is that people who work together on a day to day basis may be less willing to share the issues they’re having WITH EACH OTHER if both are members of the group.

Recruitment of members: Generally, membership (both at the beginning and in adding members as necessary or desirable) should be by invitation only. Members should be asked to join not because they’re nice people or people you get along with, but because they’re like-minded in the sense that they’re truly devoted to a positive, no-excuses path to success.

Expectations of members: In order for a group to be successful, the members must set certain expectations for one another and hold each other accountable. So at your very first meeting, members need to commit to ALL of the following. Anyone who can’t should withdraw from the group immediately:
1. Commitment to attend ALL meetings, with obvious occasional exceptions for illness, vacation, etc.
2. Commitment to setting and making progress toward personal goals, and to share those goals and their outcomes freely.
3. Confidentiality. Things are said at mastermind meetings, both in the personal and business realms, that would damage the members should they be later shared with non-members.
Agenda. Mastermind meetings are not for chit chat. They should have an agenda which should be carefully followed at each meeting—and someone needs to be the “sergeant at arms” for this. You’ll choose your own agenda, but a typical one might include:

Reporting on prior meet’s goals
Success stories
Challenges and Masterminding/Brainstorming
Goals for the upcoming month
Resources you’d like to share with the group

How to be a good Mastermind group member. Mastermind groups powerful when their members are truly, on a high level, committed to their own success and that of their members. Therefore, there’s a certain “etiquette” to mastermind meetings that will assure that everyone gets what they came for, and that the group will serve the intended function.
Give as much as you receive and as much as you want to grow with the help of all involved. Be willing to absorb and received as much knowledge, advice and help as the group members give.
When stating your goals, state them clearly (as clearly as you can) with a definite deadline attached to each goal. If your goal is large and far ranging, also state intermediate “milestone” goals and the deadline for those smaller goals. This will help the group to understand what you’re hoping to achieve, as well as help the group to hold you accountable to your goals and deadlines. As the saying goes, “A goal without a deadline is called a Dream”.
Authenticity: Inquire from a genuine desire to know and understand the other person. Inquire from a place where the other person’s answers can help him to gain clarity and insight into his own situation.
Listen fully, with the intent to truly hear.
Speak your truth, from the heart, without attempting to make someone wrong.
Respect: Avoid discussion controversial topics such as politics, religion, or any other subjects that is touchy. Never introduce ANY subject that will weaken the cordial and cooperative spirit of the group.
In order to maintain trust and confidence between members of the group, all discussions must be treated as confidential.
Avoid arguing over points of view, respect that different people see things in different ways.
Avoid attempting to change someone else’s point of view.
Do not put down other members.
Thoughtfulness: Speak only when moved to speak. Take time to reflect before speaking. Avoid knee-jerk reactions.
Openness: Suspend assumptions. It is sometimes the person who knows the least about your industry who can give you the best insights, because they come to the idea fresh with no pre-conceived ideas about how things “should” be.
Some Final Thoughts:
Mastermind groups have, over the years, been a real source of inspiration and secret of my success. However, it’s unlikely that you’re going to simply stumble across an existing group that both has open membership and “fits” you, which means you’ll have to create your own.
Don’t be shy about approaching people you barely know and suggesting the formation of a group. Find the right folks to put around you, and start meeting as soon as possible. Your business and your psyche will benefit, I promise.

Reprinted with permission of Vena Jones-Cox. To get more free articles and tips, subscribe at

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