Thursday, April 10, 2008

Increase your Productivity: Get a Mastermind

One of the secrets to my personal and career success has been the establishment of a mastermind group. Don’t know what this is? Well it is a group of like minded people who act like a Board of Directors for your personal and work life.

In Chapter 10 of Napoleon Hill’s inspirational book ‘Think and Grow Rich’, he defines the mastermind as ‘coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose’. I like this definition and believe if you want to accelerate your personal development and productivity a mastermind group will be the best investment you can make.

I deeply admire and respect the members of my mastermind group, we have been meeting now for 18 months and I have learnt so much from each of them. When I interviewed them on what they thought was important in a mastermind group they used words like:

Trustworthy individuals
Giving and supportive
Raises the bar on your own performance
Gives you a 30 ft view of your own business
Gives you a different perspective
Allows you to see opportunities and potential you may not have seen on your own
Makes you get out of the ‘day to day’ operations
The key is the right combination of people
It is group cantered

These definitions are vital to any group that meets and I would add some additional thoughts.

Meet regularly – our group meets on the same Monday night each month for 2 hours at the same restaurant. We share dinner, good news, and career and personal highlights. This commitment is one of my most important and enjoyable appointments in my month. I look forward to seeing them each month and I make it a priority in my scheduling.

Choose a location – we meet in a central restaurant and the staff know us, they provide a private room, understand the format of our meeting and take our orders quickly, deliver drinks and food in a timely manner and allow us to finish on time by bringing the bill quickly too. Choose a quiet place that allows you to speak freely, laugh and enjoy each other’s company. Educate the event staff of your format and it will make your meeting time more productive also.

Keep it small – less than 6 people is a good number for a group like this. It allows each person to share their good news each month and also allows time for one member to be a spotlight for discussion.

Create guidelines – determine what your group will look like, act like, create an agenda and decide what is important to you. You might like to read Chapter 10 of ‘Think and Grow Rich’ for some ideas.

Decide the agenda – our group has the same format each month which makes it fun and easy to prepare. Every month we rotate the chair of the meeting, we each share our good news and highlights and then we focus our attention on one team member. That team members knows they are the month’s spotlight and they are free to share anything with us i.e. it could be a business or personal challenge, request for strategic guidance or request to brainstorm ideas. Each of the team members then listens intently to their needs and wants and looks for ways to help, promote, grow or encourage that member. It is a great formula and we each leave the meeting on a high positive note knowing we have shared with each other and also inspired each other.

Share successes – one of my favourite meetings recently was where 4 of the 5 members each had launched a new book! We all shared in the thrill and excitement of being an author (some for the first time), and everyone left feeling they could conquer the world! This is the perfect place to share the good news in your work and personal life.

Be fully present – when we meet, each person is totally engaged in the conversation, fully present and completely listening to the others. This is an essential criteria to ensure you all have the benefit of each other’s wisdom and experience.

Be 100% authentic – it is an honour to share 2 hours with this group each month as they are themselves, 100% of the time! This is a unique environment and for a mastermind to be successful one criteria needs to be that each individual is able to express themselves, their values and their beliefs in the group.

Choose wisely – when you are ready to set up a mastermind group you want to make sure you choose the right combination of people. Our group has entrepreneurs and corporate people, men and women, different ages and nationalities. This diverse group has different perspectives and experiences that benefit the whole group. Try and find a combination of people who can inspire and challenge others in the group to be their very best.

These simple but effective guidelines can help you create a powerful set of minds that will help accelerate your thinking, share your growth and rocket charge your personal success. Start looking for other members today!

Neen James is an International Productivity Expert: by looking at how they spend their time and energy – and where they focus their attention – Neen helps people to rocket-charge their productivity and performance. A dynamic speaker, author and corporate trainer, Neen demonstrates how boosting your productivity can help you achieve amazing things. With her unique voice (Aussie accent), sense of fun and uncommon common-sense, Neen delivers a powerful lesson in productivity. Find out more and subscribe to Neen’s free monthly ezine at


Evan Carmichael said...

Thanks for the suggestions Neen! We launched a Mastermind Group Resources Blog to give entrepreneurs strategies to get the most from their Mastermind Groups and I was pleased to see your post! If you are interested in being a guest blogger on our blog to discuss Mastermind Groups, just email me!

Keep up the great work!


Kaizen Consulting Blog said...

I agree with your list of words as to what is important in a mastermind group.