The Art of Change Skills for Life

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Putting Your Mastermind Group Together – Life Skills

September 25, 2009 Life Skills 1

I’m blogging about life by design partners and masterminding.  here are a few essential elements necessary to gain the maximum benefit from masterminding, and to keep your group from disintegrating prematurely.  And the most important element is getting the right people into your group.

The Gathering (there can’t be only one)
The people that you spend time with are a major influence in your life.  So you want to carefully choose the members of your Mastermind group to have the best possible influence.  They can be people who  differ from you in background and knowledge, but it is essential that they share values and have similar aspirations for their lives.

And it is imperative that they agree with you about the purpose of the group and the intent to mutually prosper from it.

Green And Growing (not ripe and rotten)

Good group members are in a growing phase in their lives, looking forward rather than backwards.  This isn’t about age, because some people are more motivated when they get older, others while quite young.  But if a person isn’t ‘into’ ongoing personal development, they probably aren’t a good match.

Would you want to be in a group with someone who complains a lot, or blames a lot?  With someone who thinks only in the fuzziest of terms?  Or has trouble imagining big ideas coming to fruition?  It’s important to choose wisely, and then observe people once they gather to make sure that a values conflict isn’t likely.  Some degree of success already in the area of interest for the group is the baseline.

Agree That All Of Us Are Smarter

It helps if everyone in the group agrees, or if you can get agreement through your persuasive communication, that there is a synergistic advantage of all of us being smarter than any of us.  Otherwise, the person who thinks they are smarter than everybody will constantly try to dominate the group.

On Purpose

It’s also important that the group members share a common purpose, whether it’s in the nature of the gathering ( a group for self employed people, or a group for managers, or a group for artists, authors, or entrepreneurs) or in the purpose of the gathering (financial success, business success, relationship success.)

Beyond The Ordinary

Lastly, group members have to share an interest in being extraordinary rather than ordinary, and have a passion for that possibility.  The best people to mastermind with are those who understand what it means to give and receive support, to hold and be held accountable for that.

So it’s one thing to say you’re committed to the extraordinary.  That’s an attractive proposition, yet some only give lip service to it.  You know the type: People who say they’ll be honest, but then withhold information.  People who say they are committed but don’t participate. These people can slow down or even stop a group from gelling, and it’s a lot less fun to go to meetings when the meetings take time but don’t produce results

Get To Know Me

My advice is to have a few casual exploratory meetings to get to know the people who are interested and to determine who makes the best match.  But even once you’ve got your basic group, I encourage you to leave the final formulation open ended for a couple more meetings, with an agreement in place that until a commitment is made, everyone has the right and responsibility to measure their willingness to commit, and that if it’s not working for someone, they don’t need to explain themselves.  They can just leave.

Once your group is going, you may find that others want to join.  4 to 5 members in a mastermind group is ideal, 8 is the most you can do without it becoming too time consuming and conflicted.  If your group gets too big, you may want to split it into two groups.  New members should only be allowed in if everyone in the group agrees.

You’ve Got To Give In Order To Get

Now, here’s the final element for gathering your group.  Even though people come to Mastermind groups because of what they hope to gain from them, what makes a group successful is what everyone contributes.  So masterminding is more about giving than getting.  And if someone isn’t giving, then they serve best when they get going.

A good group agrees at the outset that if someone isn’t playing at the group level, they will be asked to leave.

Your comments and feedback about this series or my blog in general are welcome.
Be well,
Rick

 

One Response

  1. rita says:

    Thanks for the info Rick!
    my lessons learned are:
    “on purpose”: this chapter explains well that common purpose and/or purpose of gathering makes a “difference” which sometimes /often might be quite mixed-up. The Perfect match of this group is a clue to it! I will have an eye on it.
    “get to know me”: a good advice to meet more often before getting the result on the table. This allows time to get to know each other and find perfect matches. Also, the number of group members is a true thing! If a group wants to move something, a simple “hand full” of members does it best, I agree!
    Thanks for your advice!

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