How To Lead A Mastermind Group

By Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

Posted: March 17, 2014

Mastermind Group
Read more about running a Mastermind Group in Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich. You can choose the parts of this book that serve you, and let go of the rest. I find the chapter on the “Master Mind” to be very helpful.

Once a week I get together with three other business owners for a Mastermind Group. During the hour and a half meeting we help each other answer our biggest business questions, define our goals and offer much-needed friendship and support. The people in the group are entrepreneurs just like myself, who know that it is better to work smarter them work harder.

I have always had “business friends,” those people who would listen to me vent or offer advice. I like to think I have done the same in return. The Mastermind group serves a different purpose. Rather than serving as crisis management, we have a formal structure that keeps us on track and on target. Because we meet once a week, we all know we are always less than seven days away from wise counsel. We have a private Google + community where we can post questions, resources, inspiration and concerns throughout the week.

Napoleon Hill & The Mastermind Group

I was first introduced to the idea of the Mastermind group in Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and Grow Rich. As with many books, I picked out what works for me and let go of the rest. The author defines the “Master Mind” as the “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.”  There is an element of mysticism here: Napoleon Hill suggests that by bringing two minds together, you tap into a “third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” I have found this to be true time and again.

It isn’t that any one of us is a psychic or guru – in fact expert status is not required to run a successful mastermind group. That is a relief, because none of us answer to “The Donald” or star in  Shark Tank. None of us are considered a captain of industry. And none of us have the slightest desire to exploit others to get ahead.

The quality that makes our group special is that each person is willing to listen with compassion. When advice is offered, it is freely given. Egos are left at the door. Ultimately, I believe that each of us recognize that we already know what we need to do next to move our business forward, but are simply too close to our own experience to see clearly.

Our group is made up of four people with similar goals. We all want to be happy. We all want to own our own business so we can enjoy quality time with those we love. We share the desire to gain financial freedom so we can support ourselves, our family and contribute to those in need. Each of us has a personal “definite chief aim,” and this keeps us on track.

How To Run A Mastermind Group

Agenda & MC: A successful group will follow a formal agenda, which I have shared below. The person in the role of MC for the week is in charge of keeping the meaning on time, on topic and note taking.

Weekly Check-in: Each member of the group has time to share a victory from the week, set a goal for the next week, and review their prior week’s commitment to ensure accountability.  A few months ago I realized that the structure of our group was allowing unmet commitments to slip through the cracks. Our initial agenda placed the “commitment review” at the beginning of our meeting, but since we did not set new commitments until after the “hot seat” unmet commitments were often forgotten and fell through the cracks. I restructured our agenda, and now none of us get off the hook. Not even me!

Hot Seat: Each week one lucky person is in the “hot seat.” 45 minutes to one hour of each meeting is dedicated to this person’s specific query. Questions range from “how to hire my first employee,” “how do I sell more books,” and “how to make my website a resource for my customers and gain more qualified traffic.” Sometimes the question might be more personal, such as “How do I grow my business and keep my spouse happy.” The only rule for the “hot seat topic” is that you believe your query will move your business forward.

Organize Your Mastermind Group

There are countless ways to organize and manage a mastermind group. The agenda below is one I created, and I invite you to try it out and let me know what you think.

I recommend keeping your group small so each person gets a “hot seat” each month. The “hot seat” person should email or post their topic to the group 24-48 hours before the meeting so everyone can give their subconscious a chance to figure things out. This also allows members to gather resources to share that may help the “hot seat” person work through their query.

The location of your group should be private. Many people freely share personal and financial information. I highly recommend having access to a big white board, which you can photograph at the end of the meeting and upload to your Community or email to the group. Confidentiality is non-negotiable.

While we do not fine people or make them feel bad for not missing a group, we do ask that each person commit to showing up weekly except for illness or vacation. Attendance has not been an issue in our group. I believe this is because the reward has been so much greater than the commitment. If each person is treated with respect, and has the chance to speak honestly, chances are they will show up and shine.

Mastermind Group Agenda

Date: ___
MC: ___
Hot Seat: ___

6:00-6:10 Share this week’s victory(ies)

6:10-7:00 Hotseat Topic: ___

7:00 – 7:20 Accountability Review (5 minutes per person)

What was your commitment:

Did You Do It?

a.     If no:  Why not? Will you be committing to the same action step or creating a new action step for this week?

b.     If yes, did this action move you forward towards your Definite Chief Aim?

What is your new/continued/revised commitment? Begin with “The next most important step in my business is _______.”

 7:20-7:25 Housekeeping – Who is in the Hot Seat and who is MC Next Week?

7:25-7:30 Wiggle Room & Goodbye for now…

Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT

About the author

Heather Stang, M.A. is the author of Living with Grief and the guided journal, From Grief To Peace. She is the creator of the Mindfulness & Grief System that is featured in the Handbook of Grief Therapies (2023) and is the founder of Awaken, a mindfulness-based online grief support group. Heather also hosts the Mindfulness & Grief Podcast, and offers mindfulness-based grief support online through her organization, the Mindfulness & Grief Institute. She holds a Masters degree in Thanatology (Death, Dying, and Bereavement) from Hood College in Maryland, and is a certified Yoga Therapist. She currently lives in Falling Waters, WV.

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