The Mastermind group facilitator, as group leader, must establish clear guidelines on how the group should be managed.
It is important that these guidelines are established as soon as the group is formed, before any problems arise, to avoid anyone feeling unfairly treated. If a rule is improvised later because of a problem that has already arisen, the person concerned may think that it is introduced to penalise him personally.
What are the rules and expectations about the behaviour of the participants?
For a Mastermind group to be successful and lasting it is vital that a relationship of trust is established between all participants. The rules help to define how the relationship between the participants should be and to build that trusting environment between all of them.
Group policies must necessarily include the following
- Format (face-to-face or virtual), frequency and duration of meetings. Commitment of attendance of members (how many times can a person not attend each month or quarter) and maximum time of entry.
- Group purpose: what kind of topics can be dealt with
- How and when the main topic of each session is decided
- How often a participant can request that a particular case of his or her own be dealt with
- Basic rules of behaviour and respect in the sessions
- Channel and purpose of group communications between participants between sessions. If, for example, you decide to create a WhatsApp channel for communication it is important to indicate what kind of content can be published there
- How to add new members to the group and even how many participants are acceptable. Also how many existing members must approve any new incorporations
All these points should be raised in the first session and agreed upon by all participants. If any member joins later they should be made aware of and adhere to them.
If, with the evolution of the group, you wish to change some rule, it should be raised and treated in the same way: with a session to discuss the change and a consensus among all.
It is advisable to define guidelines for communication during the sessions. A maximum time per person should be defined (depending on the type of meeting) to ensure that everyone has the possibility to participate in a balanced way.
It is also important to let the speaker speak without interruption so that he does not lose the thread of his thoughts and expresses himself freely. Agree on how and when to ask questions for clarification and how to give feedback or generate proposals for solutions to problems.
In any meeting of a group of people, conflicts may arise. Decide beforehand how these problems will surface when they do and before they become more important as they should be dealt with. A brainstorming session can be organised so that the same group decides what is, and what is not, a problem and how they want to communicate about it.
With this set of rules, defined by consensus with the guidance of the facilitator, the group will have a clear framework for dealing with interpersonal challenges that will allow everyone to get the most value from belonging to the Mastermind group.