When CEOs across industries meet to discuss the challenges and the wins only those in the C-suite can understand, magic happens.
This sort of meeting of executive leaders is an example of a mastermind group — a group of individuals who congregate to leverage each other’s knowledge and sharpen their strategies for attaining their personal and professional goals. Mastermind groups are a lot like Vistage peer advisory groups. Delve into the benefits of these powerful groups by reading below.
Andrew Carnegie came to the U.S. with nothing, living in poverty. Decades later, he was the richest man in the world.
How could this happen? Carnegie believed that much of his success was due to the people he knew and how they shared ideas. This kind of teamwork, he said, “is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”
The group that drove Carnegie was what we’d now call a mastermind group. The term “mastermind group” was introduced by author Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich,” who wrote about Carnegie’s success.
When two minds come together, Hill wrote that a third mind was formed: the mastermind. Mastermind groups meet regularly, coming together to listen, support and push one another toward their goals. These groups, Hill wrote, allow people to “accomplish in one year more than you could accomplish without it in a lifetime if you depended entirely on your own efforts for success.”
A look through history proves the mastermind model successful. Decades before he became a Founding Father of the U.S., Benjamin Franklin regularly met with a group for mutual improvement called The Junto. Henry Ford was notable for surrounding himself with other smart, wealthy people. Ford took pleasure in being among such people, teaching and learning what he could—like Carnegie, he later became one of the world’s richest people.
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own,” Ford once said.
Whether you’re new in business, a seasoned entrepreneur, or a CEO who always wants to grow, the support of a mastermind group can be a catalyst for rapid growth.
Mastermind groups are not a simple networking meeting or a group of friends chatting over drinks. These groups meet to push each other, to exchange information, to hear new ideas, and to hold each other accountable for their goals.
Mastermind groups are not passive ventures. They’re active groups for people who want more from their lives and careers.
A network of people — most of whom have known success — can work as an invisible, intangible force.
Though this force may be invisible, it’s backed by research. A study from the Association for Talent Development found that people who commit to a goal to another person improve their chances of reaching that goal by 65 percent. Those who have regular accountability appointments to discuss that goal improve their odds by 95 percent.
Perhaps that’s the best way to think about mastermind groups: They’re accountability appointments with other bright minds who want you to be successful.
Though the benefits of joining a mastermind group are numerous, there are a few that stand out far above the rest.
The best way to find your mastermind group is to consider what you want from the group. What goal do you want to meet? What do you hope to learn? Do you want to join a group by occupation, industry or some other grouping?
Once you understand what you want, you can search for a group by asking people in your target audience. You can reach out to speakers, teachers, executives, writers, mentors and others you admire to see if they know of a mastermind group. Similarly, you can check with associations, meet-up websites, and organizations that assemble their own mastermind groups. Leave no stone unturned to find the group that best suits you.
If all else fails, you can put together your own mastermind group, handpicking the people you want in your inner circle. Remember: Carnegie, Hill, Ford and Franklin were just people and they formed their own groups, finding vast success in the process. You can, too.
Typically, the first 10 to 20 minutes of mastermind groups are dedicated to discussing wins. If a group meets weekly, for example, members will talk about the wins they had that week.
After that, the group will focus on one member for about 40 minutes. Author Brian Tracy calls this the “hot seat model,” which allows one member to tell the group about a problem they’ve had or an issue they’re facing. The group asks questions, gives feedback, and shows support.
The last 10 minutes of each meeting are typically dedicated to weekly goals set by members. This is the time to tell people what you intend to do so you can be held accountable.
Mastermind groups are similar to Vistage groups, but there are some very important differences.
A Vistage peer advisory group will consist of successful CEOs outside your own industry. You’ll be able to see how CEOs in an array of spaces work and how you may be able to use their methods in your own line of work. There will be no pressure to compete with other members of the group, as no one will be an industry rival — it’s truly an environment of collaboration.
Mastermind groups often exist without a true leader, but each Vistage group is led and moderated by a Chair. Vistage Chairs are executive coaches who have each had years of experience as executives. They bring their expertise and experience, providing one-on-one mentoring for each group member. Chairs add a layer of accountability to the group — they’ve been through a career and have decades of experience in meeting goals. Their creative insights often push members to the next level.
Chairs often invite subject-matter experts to meetings for intensive workshops. This means that group members can learn from each other, the Vistage Chair, and an expert. This atmosphere of multiple influences is made to challenge how members think, something that often brings forth “ah-ha” moments of insight for members.
The directive of a Vistage group is simple: Support fellow CEOs while pushing each other to learn, grow and be accountable. All group members abide by membership terms that ensure confidentiality and full participation at each meeting. Each member is an active executive who wants to use the expertise of the group to meet their goals, make better decisions and grow in their careers.
If this sounds like you, find a Vistage peer advisory group near you. Members of each group meet monthly for candid discussions on real issues, receive personal coaching from the group’s Chair, and benefit from a network of 23,000 executives who support leadership growth in each other.