Mastermind as a Powerful Learning Tool

Mastermind Groups offer a combination of brainstorming, self-education, peer accountability, and support to sharpen business (and personal) skills.

This past year, I participated in a Mastermind program as I was exploring new learning opportunities for myself and my clients. I had not thought of a Mastermind program until a colleague invited me to be part of a new group he was forming. I did a “trial run” and decided to sign up. It turned out to be one of the best learning experiences of my career. The Mastermind Group was run by Achim Nowak, a leader in the leadership, coaching, and communications field (www.achimnowak.com).

Mastermind Groups offer a combination of brainstorming, self-education, peer accountability, and support to sharpen business (and personal) skills. A Mastermind Group helps you and your group members achieve professional success. Members challenge each other to set strong goals, and, more importantly, to accomplish them.

HOW MASTERMIND GROUPS WORK

Mastermind Group facilitators start and run these groups. They help the group to dive into fruitful discussions, and work with members to create success—as each member defines it. Mastermind leaders are not instructors or mentors; they organize and facilitate the interactive sessions and may pose a question for discussion. There are also Mastermind Groups that do not have a facilitator, but these tend to be less focused and have haphazard participation.

The notion of a Mastermind was first popularized by American success thinker Napoleon Hill in his book, “Think and Grow Rich,” published in 1937. Hill stressed the benefits of communing with exceptional like-minded colleagues. “No two minds,” Hill wrote, “ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

According to Nowak, “the third mind, or Mastermind, is the collective energy and wisdom that are unleashed through group interaction. This energy lasts well beyond the conversations that occur, and it exponentially accelerates the personal growth of every individual in a Mastermind Group. The lessons I learned in my first Mastermind Group were more impactful than anything I learned in graduate school.”

MY OWN PRIVATE LEARNING ACADEMY

In the Mastermind Group I participated in, my colleagues helped me clarify business goals and shared their practical and well-tested guidance on many business leadership topics. I was the beneficiary of their collective wisdom, including books, podcasts, and other resources that were new to me. My fellow Master-minders acted like my own private learning academy.

Although my Mastermind program ended six months ago, we all agreed to continue to meet every other month and be available to each other on a one-on-one basis. We also agreed that each member will act as the facilitator per session.

Most importantly, the Mastermind Group created a strong sense of camaraderie, much needed in this time of virtual experiences. The eight members of the group were in multiple states and countries and from different professional disciplines, which added to the collective knowledge.

The topics Mastermind Groups cover are limitless. For example, you can join a select group of your peers to discuss how and why corporate learning systems must adapt to meet the needs of the future of work and learning. The key is to have a facilitator who can create a safe space and clear guidelines of expectations and commitments that each member signs.

CREATING A NEW GROUP

I have been so impressed by the experience that I plan to organize Mastermind Groups for leaders in the areas of global mindset, diversity and inclusion, or for those exploring entrepreneurship.

A Mastermind Group is only as compelling as the collective energy and wisdom of the individuals in the group. Therefore, the best Mastermind Groups are made up of members who are carefully evaluated for their potential ability to contribute to and benefit from participation. The more diverse the experience and backgrounds of the participants, the better, since it provides the opportunity to learn from multiple perspectives.

If you have any questions or best practices regarding Mastermind Groups, please e-mail them to me at: ngoodman@global-dynamics.com neal@nealgoodmangroup.com

Neal Goodman, Ph.D., is a business consultant and speaker who helps organizations and individuals to realize their goals. He is the founder and former president of Global Dynamics, a leader in cultural intelligence and diversity that is now part of Evans Consulting (www.global-dynamics.com). He can be reached at: ngoodman@global-dynamics.com or neal@nealgoodmangroup.com