- KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Do you understand the people in your mastermind?
Do you know their DiSC or other personality profile? Specific needs or wants? What are their desires? What keeps them up at night? What are the common frustrations, problems and worries that they have and that a mastermind can help them with?
Then there’s your perspective; what expectations have YOU set for YOUR mastermind and what type of habits do you want to encourage, nurture or instigate?
Take the time to know your audience, regardless of whether you’re the one setting it up, or just a participant. Taking the time to learn more about your audience will set you up to be able to create deep connections before, during and after your mastermind sessions.
- HIGH ENERGY (AND POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT)
Excitement! Fun! Energy!
This is a key factor that is often ignored, leaving everyone, including you, feeling drained.
If you are spending 60-90 minutes in a Mastermind (or for that matter, anything!), you want to leave energized, motivated and ready to tackle the real challenges!
We feed off each other’s energy and excitement – so look for people that are going to bring all these attributes into the group. Ignoring energy levels is like hoping you’ll never have to refuel your car – sooner or later you’ll need to get out and push. Or walk.
The BEST masterminds are the ones that have great energy levels and leave your Tribe feeling inspired. Have a few creative triggers to increase the energy – sales seminars do this really well, getting people to stand up, clap or some other kind of activity to stimulate the blood. If you run a mastermind group for longer than 90 minutes you should incorporate some kind of mini-break into the structure.
- HOW TO STRUCTURE IT
We all crave it.
Without structure there is often little benefit from most meetings you attend. They drift, have a lack of purpose or outcome and can even make people anxious if there is no defined purpose.
Stating the structure in advance also allows everyone to prepare questions and ideas that they think will be relevant, thus making the meeting more productive. People need to feel comfortable with what is expected of them and what they may be asked to do. Often, it’s harder to get things done on the fly during a meeting and this again creates uncertainty and confusion. All of this leads to the perception that a mastermind group without structure provides far less value than it actually would if you had an agreed, consistent formula in place.
Find your flow and stay there.
It’s called flow for a reason. In just the same way as a river continues on no matter what, so too should a mastermind meeting.
We all work at a different pace and learning speeds, but a mastermind meeting needs to be succinct and move at a reasonable pace. One of the best ways to do this is to prepare the basics in advance and then refer to the structure before and during the meeting and keep a close eye on the timing of each section. Ideally allocating a dedicated time-keeper will ensure maximum flow as every small delay compounds and also impacts every single participant.
Staying in flow means everyone need to be ready (and sometimes brave) to pull the meeting back on track when it begins to veer.
Daniel Goleman, in The Meditative Mind:
The key elements of flow are:
- the merging of action and awareness in sustained concentration on the task at hand,
- the focusing of attention in a pure involvement without concern for outcome,
- self-forgetfulness with heightened awareness of the activity,
- skills adequate to meet the environmental demand, and
- clarity regarding situational cues and appropriate response.
Flow is critical to getting the most out of any activity.
- THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF TIME
Too short or too long?
Like Goldilocks, you’re looking for just right, and this depends on the frequency and the needs of each mastermind group. If you are meeting weekly then around 60 minutes per week is usually ideal. If your mastermind only meets fortnightly, you may want to increase the run time to between 60-90 minutes. If you are meeting monthly then 90-180 minutes is likely to be better.
When the gap between masterminds is longer, increasing the time allocated will compensate for the time since you were last in contact with each other. Therefore you need more time to find the rhythm, get back into flow and most likely you will have more information to share and discuss as you catch up on all the news from the past month.
6. KISS PRINCIPAL (Keep It Simple Stupid)
Don’t overwhelm them.
Outcomes need to be specific, measurable, and actionable – similar to smart goals. Don’t overwhelm your group with too much information too soon, or too many things to say or actions to take.
When you run a mastermind group for the first time it’s best to start with just the basics, as tempting as your enthusiasm can make it to jump in with everything you’ve got!
After a few sessions, when you have built-up the habit of attendance, trust and understanding, slowly add additional layers or complexity into your mastermind. When everyone is comfortable with the structure and flow, you can get more creative and add new actions, challenges or goals.
7. THE RIGHT PEOPLE
Who are the right people to be in a mastermind group?
We assume that the best way to solve our problems would be to find one right person who will have all the answers. However the simple process of creating a diverse group has been proven to be a far better way to solve our problems. You need each person in the mastermind to think and act as independently as possible.
Grouping similarly intelligent people together also doesn’t always work out, because similar people often resemble each other too closely in how they think and act, paradoxically making the group less smart. Allowing members who know less, but have a different skill set, has been scientifically proven to improve any group’s performance. Groups that are too much alike find it harder to keep learning, because each member is bringing less and less to the table. They spend too much time exploiting, and not enough time exploring.
Even if a member is biased and slightly irrational, as long as they’re independent, they won’t make the group any dumber.
So taking all this science into consideration remember to be open-minded about who you think may or may not be considered the “right” kind of person for your mastermind tribe, especially if you run one that is niche specific and are inviting people from similar industry. Adding that outlier or maverick that you may have originally dismissed outright, could be exactly what your group needs.
Some people get an education without going to college, the rest get it after they get out. Mark Twain”
We hope that this breakdown of the 7 key fundamentals has been useful in guiding you on how to run a mastermind group. If there is any aspect that you feel we have missed, glossed over, or could have expanded on further please let us know and we will be happy to update the information.