Mastermind Group Rules

get your mastermind toolkit in this post

Sure, Mastermind Group Rules are important. In the masterminds that I run for leaders, it is essential that I create a space where participants feel:

  • comfortable
  • connected (to other members)
  • excited to be there
  • safe (to share vulnerable information)​

In this post on mastermind group rules, I am going to discuss norms, present reasons to join a group, and offer a toolkit that you can use to get your mastermind up and running.

Mastermind Group Rules

In order to run an effective mastermind, an established set of group norms should be accepted which guide how the member participate each week. I establish these rules during my mastermind screening call for every new member. Just because someone is willing to meet and invest in your group (if you run it as a paid mastermind) doesn’t mean they will be the right fit. Screening applicants is an essential piece that cannot be overlooked so you protect the chemistry of the mastermind you lead. I share all my secrets on how to get your own mastermind up and running in my FREE toolkit. 

Rule #1 Show Up

A mastermind is nothing if people don’t engage in it. This foundational rule asks people to show up, to be present, and to engage consistently. Without anyone there you have no group. I discuss free vs paid masterminds in the toolkit (available for download), but this is a main reason to run a paid mastermind. If you price it enough where people “feel it” they will show up each week.

I’m launching my 4th mastermind. Cost of admission is $200/month. The next mastermind will be $250/month. 

The mastermind I participate in with Aaron Walker costs $350/month (when I joined). His current fee? $500/month. His mastermind is worth every penny. So is mine.

At these prices, people are going to show up and give it their all. If they don’t, it is quite a waste of resources (time and money) and you wouldn’t want them in the group anyway.

Rule #2 Speak Up (But Not Too Much)

Now that you have people showing up consistently, it is important that they are actually contributing. This is a careful balance a facilitator must be mindful of because some people are naturally pretty quiet and others seem to do anything to talk and get all the attention. 

A facilitator must be confident in order to keep the conversation flowing, invite all members to share their thoughts, and to manage the participants that over share.

In paid masterminds, everyone is investing in order to hear the diverse perspectives available within the group. If someone sits on their hands and rarely opens their mouth to share their opinion, the whole mastermind suffers.

Rule #3 Shut Up

The mastermind is not all about the facilitator. Although people join my mastermind because they have heard me on my podcast and value my expertise as a leader, it is not all about me.

The diversity of ideas and perspectives within the group is what makes the mastermind special. If there is any secret to running a great mastermind, it is to make sure everyone participates and contributes. One way to do that is to talk less as the facilitator.

Since I spent over a decade in the classroom, I understand that silence is valuable and I am comfortable when no one is talking. That just means people are thinking and you have to establish “wait time” so that people can process what is being discussed.

Members also have to keep what is discussed confidential. I don’t currently do this, but I have heard of some mastermind groups having members sign a participation form that explicitly states this. 

People should feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable in the group and share what they are struggling with. In order to do that, members must trust one another to keep everything discussed confidential. If someone violated this rule, they would be asked to leave the mastermind.

Rule #4 Share and Encourage

Yes, masterminds should be places where you get challenged. Often we call the hot seat, the “carving station” because people feel eviscerated after sharing.

That’s part of the beauty of the mastermind (and especially the hot seat). After being vulnerable and sharing a struggle, the group challenges you through tough questions and then builds you back up through encouragement. Members hold each other accountable and often message outside of the group to cheer each other on to success. 

Leading is often lonely and is definitely hard enough. Masterminds provide a positive community that is focused on everyone’s success. Since we are not related and can be totally objective, we are able to share tough love and hard truths. There is no bias because we don’t work together and we aren’t part of each other’s family. So we say it like we see it and help each other grow.

Rule #5 Connect Outside

Connecting in the mastermind is great, but what leads to a truly impressive mastermind is the connection that happens outside of the group. We meet weekly for an hour and that is a lot of time; groups grow much faster and bond more quickly when they connect outside of group hours.

There a number of ways you can do this which I highlight in the downloadable toolkit. I also encourage for virtual groups to make an effort to meet 1-2 times a year face-to-face.

With Aaron’s mastermind, we invest a hefty price each month, so he foots the bill for our semi-annual meet ups. We just pay airfare to get there. My mastermind’s don’t charge the same amount so face-to-face meetups are paid for 100% by the member.

Rule #6 Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

There is a great story that I first heard Seth Godin share this story that he heard from Ben Zander. Ben actually shares this story, in his fabulous book The Art of Possibility. I highly recommend the audio version. It is read by the authors, the Zanders.

The punchline to the story: Don’t take yourself too seriously. 

We can all benefit from those wise words.

Join a mastermind with these rules

7 Reasons to join a mastermind

Not only do I facilitate masterminds, I have been approached by people who have wanted to hire me as a life coach. As a former teacher and school administrator, I have the natural skills  in order to be an effective life coach. 

My goal is to take some certification courses in the near future, but until then I am reading tremendous books like Change Your Questions, Change Your Life and listening to podcasts like this one.

The following reasons have been inspired by Episode 026 and 091 of the PCCT Podcast.

Reason 1: Clarify Vision and Direction

How do you know where you are going? Backwards mapping is quite popular when teaching educators how to plan units of instruction. Why don’t we do that for our own lives both personally and professionally? A mastermind can help by asking us questions to help us really identify where we want to end up. By knowing the destination, we know what steps we need to take to get there.

Reason 2: Improve Decision Making

As an “Activator” I like to run out ahead of everyone else when I am excited about an idea. The main problem is that my ideas are sometimes half baked. A mastermind acts as a personal board of directors and they will tell me when I need to put more thought into a plan I’d like to implement. The end result of a mastermind meeting is always improved decision making.

Reason 3: Inspire Creativity

If you find yourself in a rut, then leaning on 10 other people you love, trust, and hold in high esteem is the perfect recipe for a “jam” session. The old adage, “Two minds are better than one” is incredibly true. In the mastermind, “Ten minds are better than one.” Creativity improves from the diversity of perspectives found in each group.

Reason 4: Provide Community, Connection, and Collaboration

As a former school leader, no role was lonelier than the principalship. Who could I turn to when I didn’t know what step I should take next? Who could I really be honest with in terms of my own insecurities and doubts? 

Because the masterminds I run meet consistently each week, community is a natural over flow and not only do I see the groups form great connections within the group, I also see friendships form outside the group as well.

Reason 5: Increase Confidence

Reflect on the first 4 reasons. You confidence will absolutely improve when you:

  • have a clear vision
  • are making better decisions
  • are feeling creative
  • and are connected to others

Reason 6: Lead to Meaningful Action

Accountability. 

As a part of each week’s meetings I ask members to commit to ONE BIG thing they can take action on each week. Then, during the next week’s meetings they share out on progress. 

This aspect of each meeting alone pushes people to action. Mastermind members often connect outside of the group as well to help people stay on track and cheer them on to victory.

When you join a mastermind, you don’t have a choice but to also be an action taker and get results.

Reason 7: Build a Better Career and Better Life

Through the challenging and supportive environment of a mastermind, people experience higher levels of satisfaction with their careers and personal lives. Personally, I have grown leaps and bounds in my career and in my personal relationships and I can tie these successes back to the mastermind I joined. I have seen the same dramatic results for my clients as well. The first 6 reasons are quite a powerful concoction. Taken consistently over time, these habits and positive by-products of mastermind participation lead to a healthier, happier, and more satisfying life.

resources for masterminds

Did you enjoy today’s post on Mastermind Group Rules? If you found this post valuable, I would really appreciate if you left a comment on the blog and shared via social media. 

Feel free to check out these posts if you’d like to learn more about masterminds:

I also recommending the search function on this website with the term “masterminds.” I have many more resources not listed here.

Daniel Bauer

I help school leaders create a winning culture, focus on the essential, and lead with courage and integrity.

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