If there is one book responsible for creating more millionaires than any other, my guess it would have to be Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. One of the many concepts Hill covers is the power of the mastermind. Hill wrote, “When two people get together to brainstorm solutions to problems, it creates a third mind.” This third mind can create ideas that wouldn’t happen for an individual on their own.
Many people call this a “study group.” Regardless of what you call it, do you have one? And it is bringing you the results you set out to achieve?
Harness Its Power
I’ve been using the power of the mastermind for more than 20 years. I currently belong to three mastermind groups. Each one has a different dynamic based on the members and overall purpose of the group. If I weren’t getting value from these groups and the relationships, I would have stopped long ago.
1. Who should be in your group? Your group can be made up of people just like you, in your same line of work, or it can be made up of folks from other industries. One of my groups contains two people who have businesses similar to mine and two others in businesses that are indirectly related. By having people from other industries, we all get fresh ideas that don’t just reinforce the “industry speak.”
2. How many should you have in your group? I have found five or six to be ideal. (I know others like slightly smaller or slightly larger groups.) We almost never meet unless everyone can attend (because we value everyone’s unique perspective) since we want to have plenty of energy and creativity and still be able to “go deep” with each person’s situation.
3. Do you have to meet in person? There is no question that in-person meetings are the best.
As you might imagine, you can see visual clues that might cause you to go deeper with parts of your discussion. I suppose that Napoleon Hill would argue that an “energy” is also created that won’t be happening if you aren’t meeting in person. Prior to the pandemic, one of my groups conducted quarterly in-person meetings (traveling from different parts of the country) with monthly check-in phone meeting in between. Of course, the more members you have in your group, the harder it will be to coordinate meetings — especially with in-person meetings.
4. What do you talk about? Most of our meetings consist of the following items:
• Sharing recent wins and challenges and what we learned from them.
• Sharing our revenue actual numbers and compare them to our goals.
• Brainstorming solutions to problems.
• Setting goals for the year (or quarter, etc.).
• Setting specific actions to be accomplished between meetings.
5. What else do you discuss? From time to time, we have brought in “guest experts” or created a special theme for the meeting that dominates a good portion of the meeting. Bringing in a guest or creating a theme can bring out ideas and perspectives we might not normally tap into.
Sometimes we have given one of the members time to expand on one aspect of their business that is truly working for them.
6. How long are your meetings? When my local group met in person, it met for about seven hours per day — not counting 30 minutes of “warm up” time over a continental breakfast. The meeting host covers this light breakfast and a more filling lunch. We spread the meetings around and figure that if we didn’t have to drive 60-90 minutes to the meeting, we can spring for the meals.
With five people, seven hours is usually plenty of time. Each person ends up getting about 50-60 minutes of time devoted to their issues at hand. Members are expected to bring issues or questions to have the mastermind address. If the member does not bring enough fodder for conversation, we ask them questions to make sure they are handling things that we know to be important to them.
For my two groups where we travel (on a long drive or by airplane), we devote about 24 hours to the meeting — meaning we travel in the morning of the first day and travel home the afternoon or evening of the second day. We have working lunches and a working dinner. No, we don’t read bedtime stories to each other.
7. Do you give referrals or do any business together? Sometimes. We definitely have referred business to each other over the years. And we have even hired each other a few times for the other’s expertise. Usually, we just help each other out, but when the “project” becomes more involved, we’ll pay the other person a fair price for their help.
Just about nothing in our business or personal life that’s worth accomplishing can be done alone. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Find ways to bring people into your life to continue your education, brainstorm ideas and hold each other accountable.