By Dr. Bill Faulkner, a certified John Maxwell Team coach, speaker, and trainer.

More and more business and organizational development literature is highlighting the concept of mastermind groups. Originated by author Napoleon Hill over 70 years ago, masterminds are groups that meet on purpose for a purpose during a defined period of time. Not to be confused with a task force or ad hoc group, mastermind groups focus on the power of peer mentoring for professional learning and growth.

Specifically, mastermind groups are made up a small number of participants, around 7 to 10. These are like-minded individuals that want to grow by design versus by default! Participants spend 6 to 12 weeks meeting regularly to focus on a specific area of professional, personal or organizational development. This may include a very deep dive into a leadership text designed to increase capacities, using cross functional knowledge to develop a business strategy, or even gathering resources to address a community issue.

Mastermind groups can have a designated facilitator or members can rotate in and out of that role. Everyone who is invited to join must agree to be faithful in meeting attendance and any assigned tasks. Mastermind groups take many different forms but there always has to be a clearly defined purpose in order for the experience to remain relevant for all members.

I recently had the opportunity to lead a mastermind group of Beachbody Coaches. You know, the people that produce fitness videos such as PIYO, Insanity Max, P90X and other scary titles that make me exhausted just thinking about them! I met one of their team leaders at a Business Expo and she wanted to provide me with a mastermind opportunity for her team of 12 fitness program coaches from south Florida and New Jersey. It was a great experience! They were incredibly engaged and eager to learn. We focused on John Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and here are some of the things they shared with me about how it impacted them:

“This teaching was so helpful and needed. I will pass on what I learned to others. I WILL live out loud.”

“It helped me realize what skills I needed to improve on.”

“I learned to stay focused on the vital steps for becoming an inspiring leader.”

“I learned more about myself. I also realized the importance of managing myself first before helping other people.”

“This experience helped me to be more self-aware. I can’t do it alone. It takes a team and investing into others. That is so important.”

Regardless of the group content or focus, you can see the advantages! Other positive outcomes to participating in a mastermind group include:

  • Accountability Partners
  • Advice or Problem Solving
  • Networking
  • Collaboration
  • Idea Incubators

The point is this: As adult learners, working professionals want to be part of the learning process and not just passive recipients. They want to make sure that their training investment is relevant to their individual situations, will impact their current abilities, and have long term benefits well after the mastermind process has ended. Masterminds help individuals do just that since it requires participants to reflect on the content, incorporate new learning/new behaviors into their lives, and reinforce their learning when they teach the content to others. That is the power of the mastermind strategy! It is immersive and motivates you to act upon what you learn.

I encourage you to find a mastermind group near you or you can even start your own! I know many individuals that have volunteered to lead masterminds in their own place of work just to add value to others! The point is to just get started and bring others along with you in the growth journey.

Dr. William (Bill) Faulkner is a veteran university administrator and leadership educator who joined the John Maxwell Team in June 2012. He has built a career developing and delivering innovative and interactive content for both college students and working professionals to increase personal and professional effectiveness. His passion is to provide lessons today that create leaders for life!