How to Create a Mastermind Group

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq.

Nina L. Kaufman, Esq., owner of Ask The Business Lawyer, is an award-winning business attorney, speaker, and Entrepreneur Magazine online contributor. She saves consulting and professional services companies time, money, and aggravation by serving as their outsourced legal counsel.

Posted on November 30, 2010 in Planning & Advisors

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Mastermind group dynamics are like baking bread: while the process may be straightforward, it takes a delicate touch to make sure that all of the ingredients are in the right proportion and that the dough is kneaded properly.

What’s needed to get started?  A group of people who are willing to make a regular commitment to each other. Sounds simple, but the experience can very quickly turn into a Goldilocks-type exercise.

  • Time commitment. How often should you meet? For some, every week is too frequent; every month is too distant. What’s “just right” can depend on the person.
  • Number of members. Eight may be too many; four may be too few. In her post, “what is a mastermind group?” Iulia Mihai says that 5-6 is “just right.” (She also provides a link to Jack Canfield’s free Mastermind Planning Guide)
  • Meeting agenda. How tight you make it? Do you make allowances if someone has a crisis and requires more than their allotted time?
  • Accountability. Here, especially, there’s a need for a delicate balance. On the one hand, group members need to be accountable to themselves and to the other members of the group for the steps they say they will be taking to further their business from one meeting to the next. On the other hand, situations can throw a monkey wrench in the works. How we draw the line between legitimate reasons for not meeting goals and “dog ate my homework” type of excuses?

And finally, there is that elusive element (as in most relationships) of “chemistry.” I’ve been part of mastermind groups in the past.  Over time, those groups had difficulty sustaining the passion with which they started. Perhaps it was that we didn’t have sufficiently similar interests and goals. Yes, we were all women business owners who want to grow our businesses and increase our revenues while providing valuable service. In the end, though, that wasn’t enough to keep these particular groups alive.

I’d love to hear your feedback about what has made your mastermind group work. What were the common bonds? Or was it your diversity that provided the magic ingredient?

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