Did you know many of your favorite Disney moments from the 1930-1970s were birthed from a mastermind group of animators? Walt Disney referred to them as “Nine Old Men.”
While still in their twenties and thirties, when Walt first coined the phrase, this mastermind group brought to the world such classics as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, and many others.
Here are a few other famous mastermind groups from history:
- The Inklings—a group of successful writers and poets which included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, and Charles Williams.
The Junto—a group of twelve members created by Benjamin Franklin which would later establish the first U.S. lending library and form the academic team for the University of Pennsylvania.
Sunday Night Supper—a mastermind group which was largely responsible for guiding the U.S. through the Cold War. Group members included Robert Lovett, Averell Harriman, George Kennan, Chip Bohlen, Joe and Stewart Alsop, Frank Wiser, and George Kennan.
Andrew Carnegie—after examining the success habits of Andrew Carnegie, Napoleon Hill of Think and Grow Rich fame became convinced that mastermind groups was the essential success factor for Carnegie’s success.
I’ve seen many mastermind groups come and go. Some work. Some don’t. The main reason most mastermind groups fail is because they don’t answer these four essential questions.
1. Where Do I Want to Go?
Gaining personal clarity on where you’re headed is the place to start. Without this clarity, you’ll add random members heading in different directions.
While some diversity is healthy, there must be a unity of purpose and mission. All of the members of my mastermind group are focused on growing their online platforms. Some are bloggers, speakers or authors, but we have a unifying theme.
2. Where Are My Ideal Members Hanging Out?
Once you know the general profile of your potential members, pursue them. Where are they already hanging out?
Are they at a local networking group? Are they inside a paid membership site? Are they in a certain type of online forum? I found all of my members online inside of Platform University.
3. How Can the Strengths of Each Member Benefit the Group as a Whole?
This is where most groups go wrong. They settle on just getting warm bodies. I look for a commitment of purpose and a proven strength.
In essence, you should treat this process as if you were hiring for your company. Our group is still going strong after a year. I think much of the success can be contributed to our on-boarding process.
- Invite potential members to complete a simple online survey.
Have a thirty-minute conversation with the goal of discovering their strengths.
Add members who show a history of commitment and a proven strength that will benefit the team.
4. What Should We Do Along the Way to Help One Another?
Now that you have assembled your all-star team, it’s time to lead your team to success. It’s important to keep things simple.
As a group, we focus on three items: meeting frequency, online collaboration, and meeting structure.
- Simple meeting frequency. Our group meets via Google Hangouts every Thursday afternoon. Having a dedicated time each week works much better than trying to “find” a time to meet each week.
Simple online collaboration. As a group, we rarely use email. It’s just not an ideal collaboration tool. Since the beginning, we have used a private Google Plus Group. This allows us to share ideas, articles, and questions any time during the week.
Simple meeting structure Our meeting has three essential components: sharing, advising, and accountability. We start with each member sharing their highs and lows from the past week (15 minutes). We then place one member into the “hot seat,” which allows them to tap into the “master mind” of the group (30 minutes). We wrap up the meeting by sharing one high-leverage activity we want to be held accountable for (15 minutes).
Few things can accelerate you toward your goals faster than participating in a mastermind. They is to think it through and get off on the right foot.