Nowadays it is relatively easy to find groups of entrepreneurs and business people. There are Mastermind Group organizers all over the world. Also having the possibility of connecting virtually makes it much easier to access any of them.
The question is how do I choose the right one for me?
These are some guidelines to take into account when choosing the Mastermind Group that best suits you.
What do you expect to get?
It is important to have a clear objective in mind that justifies the time, money and effort you are going to invest in the Group. Try to always keep it in mind and verify that the rest of the members have a similar objective.
Are you looking for help to create ideas to launch your business? To validate your own ideas? To help you with their experience to avoid mistakes? To meet new colleagues with whom you may be able to establish a business relationship? If other members have different goals probably there will be a mismatch between them over time.
Who is the group for?
Pay attention to who the audience of the group you are considering is. You should look for a group that has similar goals, business or professional situation, levels of experience and knowledge to share.
A start-up group would not be good for an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience, and a group of CEOs from large companies is not the place for a new startup founder.
Who is the facilitator?
The group facilitator is vital to the Group’s success. The facilitator makes sure that discussions are productive, that the agenda is respected, that time is properly used, and that everyone participates and benefits in a similar way.
The facilitator may or may not participate in the group. In many free groups, it is normal for one of the participants to play that role or to alternate between the participants.
The facilitator may or may not also be an expert in the general theme of the group. If he or she is, it can be good for the group because he or she will quickly understand the content of the discussion without having to clarify the concepts. In any case, it must be clear that the facilitator is not a trainer who will carry the weight of the discussion. The concept of a Mastermind Group is that the participants unite their individual minds to create a larger entity. It is a totally different concept from working with a mentor.
How many participants are in the group?
In a small group you will be able to present your own problems in depth and frequently, but on the contrary there will be less input from others than in a large group.
In a large group the situation is the opposite. You may get a lot of ideas, but you may have a lot of sessions that you don’t get a chance to participate in.
Also, in a large group, responsibility is diluted and participants may feel less pressure to participate and to fulfill their own commitments to act on what is discussed in the meetings.
Can you speak freely?
Participants in a Mastermind Group need to feel fully confident that what is discussed in the meeting is confidential. If there are potential competitors in a group participants may tend to keep certain issues, ideas or opinions to themselves for fear that they may be used by others.
Similarly, personal relationships between members may make people uncomfortable about expressing their thoughts.
The group may or may not decide to sign a confidentiality agreement but, in any case, it is important that all members feel free to speak in front of the group as if it were an extension of their own mind.
Are the participants really committed?
If you join a Mastermind Group you expect it to help you improve your ideas of professional growth and to act upon them. If there are people in the group who repeatedly miss meetings or don’t take action on what they have committed to in front of the group it is very likely that the whole group will start to lose momentum.
One of the first functions of each group is to define the rules for belonging to the group, which should include aspects such as attendance, punctuality and fulfillment of objectives. Every group must allow a certain margin for possible specific problems, but a group that is not strict on these points shows little commitment that will make it lose its value over time.