How to Run a Mastermind So Everyone Gets Value and People Look Forward to Coming Back.

After being in and running a mastermind and all the members coming out with achievements they never thought possible I feel my input is better than what you will find on google and actionable in achieving the results.

There are three things that you need to do and follow to succeed in your mastermind. You need to find like-minded people who want to achieve similar goals, you need to structure every meeting the same, and lastly define what success looks like for the group and individually. 

The rest of this article is going to go in detail on what you need to know if you're thinking about starting a mastermind or attending one. By following this you set yourself up for success in the future.

 

What Is A Mastermind Group?

At its core, a mastermind group is a group of people who all want the same or similar goal. Many times its industry leaders, like-minded individuals, or business partners. In many ways, there are many mastermind groups out there that aren't officially labeled as a mastermind. Think about the BAR to become a lawyer or local business owners who want to see the town succeed. In this case, we will define a mastermind of a small group of people who want to achieve similar goals. For example, my mastermind group meets every Sunday at 7 pm and we discuss how we can grow our businesses online. We all bring our own problems to the meeting and as a group discuss how to resolve the issues or how that person can go about fixing their own issues. 

Ultimately the goal is for everyone to achieve their own goal but to leverage other members in the group for advice or expertise in an area you may be struggling with. The best phrase to describe a mastermind was written by  Aristotle, a philosopher in Ancient Greece, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts". In essence, the group being together as one mind is more valuable than each person functioning and struggling on their own. 

What Are The Benefits of Mastermind Groups?

The main benefit of a mastermind is overcoming problems and issues you couldn't resolve or figure out alone. Ultimately the benefits are what you decide it to be. Many people look at masterminds as an opportunity to overcome issues either personally or in business. Others look at masterminds as an opportunity to meet with other leaders in similar industries. The only one who can determine the benefits is you and what you're looking to resolve. The best masterminds have all of its groups working together to resolve each person's issues and meeting regularly it gives you time to take action and discover new issues you may need help with. 

Most benefits people see from joining a mastermind group is, personal growth, business growth, or a combination of those. It allows for people to improve their professional life or their personal life in areas they struggle with. 

What Are the Kinds of Mastermind Groups?

Every mastermind can fall into two main categories. Those categories are personal and business. Now you don't need to own a business for the group to be business-related. When people join they are either looking to become a better person this could be spiritual, in their relationship with their partner or kids or it could be for any other reason in their personal life. Their goal is to be a better person in one way or another and by being clear on what you're looking for it will help you find a mastermind of similar individuals who may have more and less experience in areas you need help in. With a business mastermind those people are either looking to be better at what they do for work or business, they are looking to help grow local businesses, or are looking for any number of ways to improve their business life. The goal is to surround yourself with other successful people who have knowledge in areas you're struggling with and for you to provide insight into areas others are struggling with. This creates a group where everyone can succeed and contribute. There is a give-and-take environment in a mastermind and everyone wants each other to succeed.

How Do I Start a Mastermind Group?

The first and hardest part of starting a mastermind is finding like-minded people who are all around a similar skill level. In many cases, you can join a mastermind with people who you would consider more successful than you however if you struggle to bring information that helps anyone else the group structure will fall apart quickly. In an ideal mastermind group, everyone has experience in several areas that others are struggling in. In many cases, there may be members who share similar experiences and knowledge and that's a good thing. This can lend two different opinions and thoughts to the person seeking information. 

Once you find a group of people who would be a good fit for a mastermind you will need to take the necessary steps to keep it alive and growing. People are the hardest part of forming a mastermind. 

After that, it's about rules, structure, and outcomes. All of this will be covered in this article in later parts. 

Should a Mastermind Have Rules and Why?

The simple answer is yes. Time is our most valuable resource and setting clear rules and goals it allows for meetings to be beneficial to everyone. Goal setting and clearly defining what success looks like for you is the most important part of masterminding. Rules can be staying on topic, limiting how much time each person gets to speak and keeping a routine. Being successful at what you want to accomplish is hard enough. Without rules and guidelines conversations can stray far away from the topic at hand. Its important to stay clear on what everyone is their to do and make sure whatever rules and guidelines you set are followed.

Mastermind Meeting Group Structure

Many groups meet for 1-2 hours weekly and are structured in this fashion.

5 minutes for a greeting

2-3 minutes per person to discuss a big win and an issue they are currently having.

5-10 minutes per person addressing the issue holding them up and the action items they need to overcome it.

5 minutes for last-minute questions on action items or getting clarity on what someone may need to do

5 minutes for a close and goodbyes till the next meeting

 

In many cases, someone will need more than 5-10 minutes to address their issues or what they are struggling with. It's also not uncommon for members to be moving at different speeds and they didn't make the headway or run into issues since the last meeting. Those people will be faster then the allotted 5-10 minutes and will afford someone else more time on issues they are struggling with.

 

Decide How Big You Want Your Mastermind to Be.

There is a sweet spot for every mastermind. Some groups can be fairly large being 15+ people and other groups can be intimate with 4-5 people. In my personal experience, the sweet spot seems to be 5-7 people. When you have more than that it can be harder to stay on track and when it's smaller than that you may not get the information you're looking for in the group. That has been my experience but there are also other ways you can run a mastermind where if you have 20 people in a group you can have 5 people go each month. This shrinks the amount of time you have to ask questions in the group but gives you the ability to get 19 other people's inputs and experiences that may be valuable with action items that may take you weeks to complete. Each group will have a sweet spot and by slowly adding members you can always suggest to the rest of the group that you think the group is at a good spot and you shouldn't bring in more people.

From my own experience, 7 people was perfect and as soon as an 8th person came into the group it threw off the group dynamic, and that person's goals weren't completely in line with each member's goals. They treated it as more like a networking group instead of a mastermind. Being clear on who you let in, the rules they have to follow and the expectations will drastically increase the likelihood of success for the group. This is the time to vet potential new members and voice concerns and expectations to other members and groups.

I know this sounds like a cult and in some ways it is. Time is our most valuable resource and by bringing in someone who isn't as serious as someone else may result in less time you get to spend with your family or loved ones or not growing your business in a way you wish you would. Its incredibly important to be clear on who you want and who you don't want and why. Protect your time and the value of your group. In a mastermind, one slightly sour apple can ruin it for the bunch.

How Frequent Should Your Mastermind Be?

This is all depending on what your goals of the group are and realistic expectations on how long it takes to fulfill your action items. Some groups may need to meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Either way, make sure whatever you pick is consistent. The key to growing in any area of your life is consistency. We all don't get ripped from going to the gym once and we don't get fat eating thanksgiving dinner. Whatever schedule you pick everyone in the group should be expected to adhere to it like it's the law. You get out what you put in and if everyone puts in the time, energy and commitment together then everyone will achieve their goals faster. Trial and error is a great way to see how often you need to meet. If you're meeting every week and most members aren't getting their action items done you may need to move it to bi-weekly meetings. Do what works for you and your group and once you figure it out stick to what is working.

Do you need a group leader or guide?

While you don't need a group leader it does help to have someone in charge. There seem to be two main ways people like masterminds to be run. Like a board of directors that rotates every couple of weeks or months or a round-robin style. Either works. Sometimes there will be natural leaders who rise to the occasion who happen to do a better job leading or guiding the group and the rest of the group appoints them to run the meeting. As long as they get the same time in the spotlight and don't feel an additional burden of running the group then let them shine in what they excel at. Round Robin is great because it gives people who struggle with confidence or leadership skills the opportunity to grow in the group without the judgment of their peers. In many paid or professionally organized groups, there will usually be a leader or guide who sits out on their own personal or business struggles and their sole purpose is to guide the group so it's successful for everyone else. These groups are great because it removes the guessing and there is someone who is there specifically to make everyone else succeed. Once again these are either paid employees or the person who may be selling or organizing the group for the benefit of others and not themselves.

Personally, I have been a part of all three styles. When everyone is there to help each other succeed and there isn't someone organizing it the board of directors style where everyone elects that person to run the next several meetings works great. Roud robin is fun but if you arent feeling up to running a meeting it can be a struggle to pass the torch to someone else. The benefit of it is great to bring you outside your comfort zone in a judgment-free zone. Lastly having someone there to run it removes all the stress and keeps a consistent group and meeting structure and can help keep the group on topic and meetings moving in the right direction. This is personal preference and you need to do whatever you think feels right.

What Technology Do You Need to Run Your Mastermind?

We have covered what's important in a mastermind and I can't stress consistency enough. Setting up a quick Doodle can get everyone's schedule in line. From there it's figuring out if something like Google Hangouts is the right solution or meeting in person. Both are great options but the key is to meet on a regular basis. You can use google docs to track everyone's weekly goals or monthly goals. This also helps open the meeting up with a quick recap of what everyone was supposed to work on last week. The common goal is for everyone to succeed and leveraging technology such as google hangouts or zoom can make meetings easier. To have a successful mastermind you want everyone to be on the same page and everyone to share a common goal. Try different software that works for you but many masterminds can be as simple as a phone call or a meeting in person.

How to Find an Existing Mastermind Group.

The easiest way is to ask around. I have realized most people never talk about their mastermind group. Unless it comes up in conversation it's not something everyone mentions casually in conversation like CrossFit or being a vegan. (I'm joking) But seriously if you want to join one start letting people know that's what you're looking for or start one. Go to peers in similar industries and mention you are looking to join one or start one. Make sure you make it clear you know this will be a regularly planned meeting and you won't let anything get in the way. Members are hesitant to bring new members in because they tend to flake or be consistent. Another great way to find a mastermind is to start with social circles. I found mine in a forum with other people who all followed one specific person. Someone mentioned starting it and we came up with a schedule and times we would meet and let others know. After a meeting or two, we found our core 7 people and it's been the same way for over two years. 

How to Get People to Consistently Show Up for Your Mastermind Group.

The answer is much more simple than you think. Clear expectations. Time is our most important resource. Everyone should respect each other's time. Clearly laying out what is expected if you join from attendance to structure should be enough to make someone show up consistently. In a paid group people don't have to show up although they should if they are spending their money on it. Pack the meeting with great people who share one common goal and you will have a successful team even a fortune 500 company would be proud of. Once the expectations are laid out and the schedule is agreed upon there should be rarely missed meetings. Everyone understands we are human and things happen from time to time but if the information being exchanged is so good and can't be found elsewhere members feel compelled to come back. It comes back to the people in the group who are the secret sauce. Get a room full of like-minded people together and the magic will happen. Keep simple rules that are easy to follow and dedicate a little time per week and everyone wins.

Final Thoughts

As the popularity of mastermind groups is ever-increasing it's becoming easier and easier to start and find a group. These aren't permanent things and many of them may last a few weeks to a few years. Try to attract people with varying experience levels and try to attract individuals you would consider successful people. After that, it's all about setting up your in-person or online mastermind and sticking to a consistent schedule. Make sure you cultivate a supportive community and accountability structures that afford everyone the ability to succeed. This will help the group as a whole or master mind grow and benefit everyone.

What Are the Kinds of Mastermind Groups?