Being Bruce -: Notes on Mastermind Groups

Monday, August 29, 2011

Notes on Mastermind Groups

I currently belong to two Mastermind Groups.

While there is no single definition of what a Mastermind Group is or how it should function, but all Mastermind Groups are based on the expectation that two or more people focusing on a common purpose will result in greater understanding, insight, or progress than the individuals can achieve separately or in smaller groups or pairs.

The two Mastermind Groups to which I belong have different purposes. One focuses on personal purpose and philosophy and each individual's state of "being". The second group was formed to assist its members in achieving specific life goals. So the former is highly subjective and the latter group is objective. There is overlap in the groups in the sense that the members of the first group know of the occupations, people, and activities of the others but focus on being true to oneself while the members of the second group have a sense of the various members' life purpose and philosophy but focus on getting things done. I personally find this a nice mix.

Here are a few other notes about the Mastermind Groups in which I'm proud to participate:
  • Each group is comprised of members with common background or experience. For example, the members of my  first group went  through the full Klemmer & Associates ( leadership and personal development training - each of us is a Compassionate Samurai, complete with ceremonial sword. This group has been going since 2006. The members of my second group, only a few months in duration, are all active members of Brian and Alexandra Johnson's en*theos Oasis for Goddesses and Philosophers ( Because we have those experiences in common we can speak from shared ground and understanding (it saves a lot of time and tends to engender trust). 
  • Trust is a huge factor in Mastermind Groups. When you're sharing your life purpose or your career plans with others it sure helps to know that they will 1. be on your side and 2. keep your information confidential. "What happens in Mastermind Groups stays in Mastermind Groups." Trite, but important in this context.
  • Size matters. Three is too few, more than eight is too many. Four through six is the optimal group size. Too few and there's not enough shared energy - plus if people miss the meetings the dynamic change is significant. With more than eight people, individual focus is too diluted for significant benefit for all.  
Logistics (notes on when, where, how, etc.):

  • The Mastermind Groups I'm in meet by phone on a conference line. That way members aren't restricted by location or transportation (as long as time zone issues are worked out for the calls). Both of my Mastermind Groups have members from different countries. I was for two years in a group that focused on Internet Marketing and that group, too, had international membership.
  • One hour per week is optimal. It's regular enough to keep everyone on focus and up to date but isn't an immense time burden. If there's a mix of employees and self-employed people (meaning folks who may or may not have control of their time) the scheduling can work but be more difficult. 
  • Leadership - it's best that once everyone understands how the group operates that the responsibilities shift on a regular basis, perhaps weekly. 
  • Meeting Structure - it is imperative to have an agreed upon structure. With structure you can drift a bit but still be able to get back to insure that everyone gets her or his share of the time and that the group focus is kept. Without structure it's much too easy to get social or to have one  or a few people dominate the time and attention of  the group. 
I've not experienced a live Mastermind Group. Because my personal experience and benefit of telephony-based Mastermind Groups has been so positive and beneficial, I've not felt any loss.

Mastermind Groups are best when they serve to multiply the mind power, meaning the insights, knowledge, intuition, and creativity of the individual members by working in shared  purpose with like-minded people.