Mastermind groups were first described in Napoleon Hill’s 1937 book Think and Grow Rich.
Hill provided a definition for it, but it’s pretty convoluted and dense. A much simpler definition was provided by Wikipedia as:
“A small club of like-minded advanced talents who meet periodically for mutual brainstorming/accountability sessions.”
A great and simple definition! But to fully understand the power in this simple sentence, we need to take it apart.
Small: One of the keys for making a group work, since if the group is too large, you can’t really keep track of who is truly contributing — and active contribution should be a requirement for the group, or why bother having them there?
Club: Simply, a dedication to be part of a group and work together under a set of agreed-upon “rules” or guidelines.
Like-minded: The group should have something in common. They might be estate agents in a particular town. They might be small business entrepreneurs. There should be a common direction.
Advanced talents: Success is a fairly nebulous concept, and can be measured by fame, income, market share, or many other factors. But frankly, a truly useful group could also include ambitious beginners who band together to learn and encourage each other toward success, and that could well be your motivation for wanting to start one, and it’s a fabulous reason to do so. In that case, though, the group’s charter will likely need to evolve over time, and have a way to deal with stragglers: those who don’t advance with the rest of the group. Do the more advanced members help them advance? Or are they left behind if they fail (with or without that help)?
Meet periodically: The key here is some level of communication. In 1937, this pretty much demanded that members live in the same geographic region so they could get together in person. The Internet has changed all that greatly — for the better.
More likely, there will be thousands of people who will qualify for your group, even if you specify very tight membership requirements, but they may still be spread across the country, or several countries — and that’s OK, since Skype or other VoIP system will provide the closeness needed.
Even with Internet-based groups, it may still be good to meet on occasion.
Mutual: Groups work best if everyone participates, putting in ideas and help and support, not just getting it.
Brainstorming: The key to actual interaction. The whole idea is to give each other ideas and, most importantly, get synergy by combining ideas.
Accountability: When you make a commitment to someone else, rather than just think to yourself “someday”, you’re more likely to actually complete the task. Tasks like “launch the new web site” or “develop the new product” or “quit my job and finally work for myself.” If you miss too many commitments, the group will call you on it (and they should!)
Key Concept: Once you understand the elements, Wikipedia’s summary definition is the key concept behind a successful mastermind group: “A small club of like-minded advanced talents who meet periodically for mutual brainstorming/accountability sessions.”
So when are we starting? Please contact me if interested.