The mastermind concept isn’t new. The term “mastermind” dates back to Napoleon Hill’s 1925 book, “The Law of Success.” Hill describes groups of peers helping one another solve their most challenging problems. While a peer group can be informal, the more successful groups have a structure to help ensure all members are committed to the group and achieve the desired results from participation.
Mastermind groups are made up of individuals seeking to leverage the knowledge, experience and resources of like-minded business professionals. They are not referral or networking groups. Most commonly, the owner, CEO or president of a company participates in a mastermind group. However, there also are mastermind groups for middle managers and up-and-coming leaders within an organization. These might be a subgroup of a larger peer group the company is a member of or exclusively for specific job holders, such as operations managers, estimating managers or project managers.
Typically, mastermind groups are formed around companies of a similar size in a particular industry, and have a common goal of improving their business’ operations. Speaking from experience, a well-formed mastermind group can have a massive impact on a company’s growth. As the saying goes, “It is lonely at the top.” Through collaboration with members of the mastermind group, your challenges are shared, and you benefit from the others’ ideas and suggestions. A smaller company can benefit from using other leaders as a sounding board. Another advantage is bringing in new ideas from outside the company.
Masterminds aren’t for everyone. The discussions will often challenge you in ways you may not have been before. It isn’t uncommon to feel like you are standing naked in front of your peers with no place to hide.
Of course, this isn’t always the case, but to address complex issues, sometimes we have to put it all out there for group members to help us find a solution. Some of the best advice I have received from my mastermind group was a hard pill to swallow. Having built a relationship of trust and honesty among the group, I know the other members have my best interest in mind. The best part is that there are often multiple solutions that I would have never thought of on my own.
Participation and commitment are a necessary part of the mastermind group’s collective successes and your personal development. Just as you rely on the others for their input, they will depend on you for the same. If you are at a point where you are considering joining a mastermind group, you will need to answer the following questions.
What is my desired outcome from participation in the mastermind group? Knowing exactly what you want from the group will help you measure the return on investment of your time and money. Being part of a mastermind shouldn’t just be something to brag about in your circle of friends.
Am I willing to commit fully to the group? This could be a commitment of your time, and of finances if there is a paid membership. Yes, that is right, many masterminds have an associated fee. While a self-run group can be beneficial, having a dedicated facilitator ensures the group stays on schedule and everyone has a chance to participate. Most masterminds require a commitment of time and will ask members to leave the group if they cannot attend regularly.
Do I want to be part of a group that meets in person or virtually? Both options exist, as do some hybrid versions that meet monthly on Zoom and one to four times a year in person. Of course, depending on how geographically diverse your group is, the in-person meeting can be costly.
A quick Google search for mastermind groups results in articles from business leaders such as Hill, Dave Ramsey and Tony Robbins. If you’re willing to commit and put forth the effort, the return on your investment can be exponential. Your participation in the mastermind and the group’s makeup affects the outcome. When you choose to join a mastermind, make sure you seek out a group of similar-sized businesses and individuals who want success as much as you do.