Too many cooks? Who should join a mastermind group and what size is the best fit?

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Mastermind groups have been around for quite some time now and a lot of businesses benefit from them. However, many businesses also don’t use them and seem to manage just fine. So, who will benefit from one and what size is the optimal group?

Benefits of a mastermind group

I am sure, since you are taking the time to read this article, that you have already done the research into what a mastermind is and what the main benefits of being in one are. Just for completeness though let’s just run back over it.

A mastermind usually consists of a small group of business people who come together on a regular basis to share ideas, advice and guidance. They support each other by creating a kind of ‘hive mind’ situation with the intention of helping each other thrive. Instead of working the vacuum of your own business you have the opportunity to mix with others, swap good practice and mutually develop. At the meetings you will take part in what is effectively a communal support and development group.

The benefits include:

  • Focusing on your goals and the goals of other businesses
  • Referral and network opportunities
  • Sharing your challenges and successes for better results
  • Accountability to keep you on track
  • Getting feedback and input from a variety of professions
  • A forum for developing your business ideas with other professionals
  • Access to new concepts and opinions

However, while these benefits sound very attractive in themselves, they do not include some of the ‘hidden’ bonuses that come along with a mastermind if one is right for you.

Who should join a mastermind?

This is more about the person and the extended benefits than anything else. If you look at the list above, it is clear that every business would want those results. However, a mastermind is about being a group and not just about an individual business or person. That is an important factor because you need to be able to give as well as benefit. Here’s why…

When you are surrounded by people who are focused on growth, you will tend to focus more on your own growth. You will be encouraged to think bigger and aim higher. Access to different viewpoints will make you see things differently and, assuming there is a good mix of business in the group, you will see a range of thinking and professional processes at work. A solicitor will approach things from a very different angle than a graphic designer for instance and will often have a totally different way of thinking. Both have equal value and most importantly having access to both is a rare opportunity. Being part of a mastermind group will help you develop the habits that make a business successful and give you a place where that attitude is shored up and encouraged.

You, as a member of the mastermind, need to be prepared to give that back to the group. Altruistic collaboration is not something that comes easily to everyone. If you are not prepared to be involved with the group as a whole, then you may not be suitable for a mastermind. You need to be open to change and able to accept and consider the value of input from others. Business owners can sometimes be very focused on themselves and their own views. Others can be highly opportunistic ‘sell to the room’ style personalities. These could well be approaches that work for you, but they are not likely to work in a mastermind setting. There is a great word for this, Gestalt, and it is often used to mean a whole that has qualities that are not available to its individual parts. The successful mastermind can be thought of as a gestalt entity. A thing where the individual parts work together to produce something new and better. To work it needs individuals with personalities that are distinct but capable of joining with the whole. If that is not how you are, then a mastermind is not the right place for you.

How many is the perfect group?

It’s probably more about the mix of people than how many. You want a balanced, collaborative group that is focused on helping each other as a mastermind. So, realistically you need at least three. Moving up the scale it gets a little more nebulous. The amount of time you spend together, the way the group works, and other factors all make a difference. If I had to put a number on it, I would say 6 to 8 is probably the optimum for most groups.

A mastermind is a place of growth and development for those who are themselves prepared to grow and develop while taking others along with them on the same journey. They say too many cooks spoil the broth but they only spoil the broth if they can’t collaborate to create a better meal for everyone.

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