Leaving Work Behind

How To Structure and Run an Extremely Effective Mastermind Group

Written by Tom Ewer on May 12, 2014. 20 Comments

MastermindI’m sure by now you have heard multiple sources raving about the benefits of being in a mastermind group to help push your business to the next level. Tom has previously provided great information on how and why you should start a mastermind group and included his two person mastermind model in that post. He also emphasized the importance of being on the same page with your group before you proceed.

However, once you have found the people you want to work with, what do you do next? How do you stay organized and on task so that the group is benefiting the members? I have the privilege of being involved in an awesome mastermind group and I am excited to share experiences with you that have introduced great results.

This post will show you how to introduce structure to a mastermind group and run a meeting so that you can run an effective and efficient group where all of the members benefit.

Guidelines for the Group

When I became a member of Fizzle, an email was sent to me identifying things I could do to really benefit from the community. One of the very first things they recommended was to join a mastermind group. I proceeded to the mastermind forum and trolled through descriptions of groups. I ended up creating a description of my own to find other members to work with. I had soon created a group with six other people. Having never been in a mastermind group before, I searched around for information and came across Scott Dinsmore and Elizabeth Seda’s mastermind workbook – we still use it for inspiration.

We functioned well as a group of seven people, but two members decided they wanted to focus on other things and left the group. That left me with Josh Medeski, Whitney Hutten, Max Turner and Carlton Taylor – a diverse and effective group of five.

What’s my point in discussing group numbers? You will get many different opinions on what the best size is for an effective group, but it is not the most important focus for you. Large or small, mastermind groups ultimately are most effective when there is a structure in place that helps guide the members’ conduct. This becomes even more relevant with larger groups. So, don’t focus on the number of people you have (though you should have an idea what you want) – focus on the practices and procedures that will guide those people to effective results.

Where to Hang Out?

Sending emails back and forth gets old really quick and can make organization a nightmare, so you should establish a homebase for your team. In my opinion, Google Communities is the place to create your private mastermind community. You can stay in the loop of every conversation easily, conduct your weekly hangouts (and use screenshare for free) and share documents and folders that help guide your group and keep it organized.

Running the group from this platform has kept my group extremely organized and on task, and allows us to easily share documents in one place. No more emails back and forth and lost attachments. This platform is user-friendly and allows us to function as an efficient and effective group.

What Documents to Build and Use?

Once you have your homebase firmly established, you can build the shared documents and folders to use within your group. The first documents that you need to discuss and build in initial meetings are your Membership List, Purpose & Guidelines, Meeting Logs, Meeting Content Ideas and multiple folders.

Let’s examine these more thoroughly so you can really understand how to streamline your group:

These documents will form the core structure of your group (especially the purpose & guidelines), so spend an appropriate amount of time refining them to best reflect what your mastermind group represents.

How to Run an Effective Meeting

Once you have a good grasp on the structure of your group, you can start to run meetings everyone will benefit from. However, sometimes it can be difficult to know how this should be done. My experiences will help you to stay on task and get the most out of your meetings.

Having the private google community allows you to easily use the Google Hangout option for a Skype-like (but way better and free) meeting experience. Scheduling the event in your group and then replying “yes” to the meeting will even automatically add the meeting to your calendar. (Could it get any easier?)

When completing your Purpose & Guidelines document, you should have established roles for group members. Having one or two meeting moderators allows you to establish a pattern for future meetings, and this will allow meetings to flow more naturally and more efficiently. The moderator is responsible for keeping an eye on the clock and keeping the meeting on task.

The type of pattern we have developed for our 60 minute meetings is as follows:

Adopting a clearly-defined meeting structure is just as important as a basic group structure. Every single member of the group is vital to an effective meeting because they must be self aware of speaking time, but moderators in particular need to be setting an example and keeping members on task.

Making it Work

Email may be a great communication format, but it is not the best platform for you to communicate with a mastermind group. Creating a private online group is more efficient and effective because communication is all happening in one spot, every group member is in the loop (no missed email addresses), sharing resources and documents is extremely easy, and you have a very user friendly and effective way to have your scheduled meetings.

Not every mastermind group will be the same or function in the same way, so it is important to experiment with what works best for your group. However, what is the same (and the most important aspect) of any mastermind group is the building of structure to shape the direction of the group. Furthermore, the most important aspect of this structure is the development of a Purpose & Guidelines document. This document is the foundation that your group is built on, so it should be created early on ensuring all group members are on the same page and can benefit from the arrangement and not waste time.

Now, if you’re interested in starting your own mastermind group, I have a couple of suggestions:

  1. Subscribe to Fizzle (the first month is just $1) and follow the same path I did. You can find me over there – feel free to say hi!
  2. Join the Leaving Work Behind Community Forums – you may just get to know some great people that you could form a group with!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to fire away in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: clagnut

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20 Responses to “How To Structure and Run an Extremely Effective Mastermind Group”

  1. Steve Roy
    May 12, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Hi Jo,
    This is very well timed as I have been planning on starting a MM group for a while now. I ran one a few years ago (that included Tom) and had a great experience. I also have heard many good things about Fizzle (funny enough, that Caleb (co founder) was in my MM group as well) and will be looking into it shortly.
    Thanks for this..

    • Jo Davies
      May 12, 2014 at 4:33 pm

      That’s great news Steve! I can’t say enough great things about MM groups! Sounds like you have had some pretty great members, hope you find another great group this time around! 🙂 Thanks, Jo

  2. Gina
    May 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Hi Jo,

    I’ve tried to subscribe to the forums a few times over the last week or so (to get in touch w/other like minded individuals) and have never received my confirmation e-mail, even though I’ve resent it a few times…as the moderator can you help w/this? Thanks!

  3. Kathy
    May 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for the post, Jo! You know I’m working on starting a new group right now, so this is perfect timing.

  4. Mitchel
    May 12, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Well done Jo.

    Any resources or thoughts on finding a good fit? I’ve tried two different groups and haven’t had luck yet.

    • Jo Davies
      May 13, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Hey Mitchel! That’s too bad that things have not worked out so far! Have you tried to post your own description for a MM and look for members? I have found that by posting your own ‘call for a group’ gives you more control over what you want out of situation. You have to be comfortable taking the reigns to a certain degree though! I would recommend that you give it a try. Can I ask whether you have had ‘similar’ members in the group or whether there was lots of diversity business wise? Sometimes I think that this can play in. Not to say that similar businesses do not make a good fit but I think that diversity works better for groups. Let me know if I can help in any way! You know where to find me 😉


  5. Max Turner
    May 13, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I know you’ve been talking about this post for awhile I am so glad that it’s finally here I read it over and it has a ton of valuable information that will help others. Great job Jo!

  6. Jim Wulff
    May 22, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Hi Jo:

    Good post. I am already in Fizzle, so I’ll check out the MM forums. I have some time now as I am stuck in a very small airport in central Washington for the afternoon. I also am familiar with this site, read some of Tom’s posts last December, before work left me behind (WLMB), in fact, that is how I found Fizzle. But work has found me again, but only on a PTV basis. So life is a lot more free form than before, which is potentially very good. Just more confusing.


    • Jo Davies
      May 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm

      That’s great Jim! If you end up feeling like there are no groups in there then place your own post for one. Be prepared to take some of the organizational responsibilities on your shoulders but it is so worth it! Any time that you have to inject into your business and your plan is great! Good luck with your hunt for a group you will not be disappointed when you find one you click with! Let me know if you have any more questions! Thanks for sharing! Jo

  7. Erika
    May 23, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Thanks Jo,

    I am new to web based business and feel like I might not have a whole lot to offer a MM group. What suggestions do you have for newbies?

    • Jo Davies
      May 26, 2014 at 10:45 pm

      Hey Erika! I think it is a bit of a misconception that you have to be really experienced in online biz before you feel you have anything to offer a group. Look at what your previous experiences are: Use your strengths to help the group (feedback, research, design etc.) and then get help with your weaker areas from the other members. That is ultimately how the group ends up helping each other out! I was extremely new to the online world when I posted for my group and we have really grown and helped each other out. Don’t focus on why you think you can’t benefit a group, focus on how you can benefit everyone and how you can grow together! Please let me know if I can be any further help! You can totally be a vital and beneficial member of a group, no matter how new you are! Thanks Erika! Jo

  8. Affinity MASTERMIND
    September 26, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Excellent, I’m starting one and this post built most of my check list. Thanks Jo!

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