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by Randall Craig on March 16, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Networking,

Tagged as: , ,

What would it be worth to you if you could have four times more education, five times the experience, or six times the number of available hours that you currently have? How much better might you do if you had four mentors, four coaches, and maybe even a built-in personal advisory board?

All of this is possible, and more, with a Mastermind group. A Mastermind group is a self-formed group of 4 to 6 people who get together on a regular basis (usually monthly or quarterly), and “multiply” the efforts of each individual member. Masterminds can be used by senior executives, entrepreneurs, job seekers, or just about any group of like-minded individuals. While each Mastermind group is unique, they typically form for several different reasons:

Accountability: Mastermind participants commit to business or career goals, and must report on their progress to the group at the following meeting.

Sharing of best practices: Each member describes how they are currently solving a defined issue, and everyone learns from mutual experience.

Professional Development: The group can decide on a learning objective, and either have one person assigned to deliver it or bring in an outside speaker on the subject.

Business Development: This might mean sharing leads, referrals, development of products or new business ideas.

What makes Mastermind groups so powerful is the effect of leverage. If each person puts one idea into the collective pot, then with six members, each person would get a six times return on their “investment”.

The key to a successful Mastermind group is to recruit the right candidates, then make sure that everyone’s reasons for participation – and the ground rules – are synchronized. One technique to do this is to draft a charter that spells out the goals, membership selection criteria, frequency of meetings, and standard agenda. As each new member is recruited to join the group, they should agree to the charter, or not join the group at all.

This week’s action item: If you are interested in forming a Mastermind, draft the charter and identify your first member this week. If you are not sure if you want a long-term commitment, then you can still use the concept of leverage: it is just as powerful on your project teams, task forces, and committees. Just don’t forget to draft the charter so everyone is pulling in the same direction.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)