When I first heard the term, “master mind” I pictured the character Blofeld from the James Bond movie series. A sinister and evil man, obsessively stroking a long-haired white cat. Blofeld plots to take over the world, perhaps even the universe, but is always foiled by the clever, strong, and sexy 007.
Instead of a blackhearted character seeking world domination, master mind is a collaborative meeting of like-minded people seeking a common goal. One of the reasons that Blofeld fails and James Bond succeeds is that Blofeld is going it alone. Bond has help in his mission (though he remains our hero). Q offers sophisticated tools and equipment that allow Bond to escape the most amazing predicaments. M offers guidance and financing as 007’s boss. And the beautiful women that inevitably cross Bond’s path offer assistance, and um shall we say, mental and physical support.
So, a master mind group is an on-going meeting where individuals combine collaborative brainstorming, accountability, and support to enhance both personal and professional skills. The term was first used in Napoleon Hill’s book, “Think and Grow Rich” (not to be confused with Napoleon Dynamite, another cinematic hero). There was even an historic master mind group of Disney animators called “Nine Old Men,” responsible for the embryonic ideas that later into “Peter Pan” and “Cinderella”.
What is a Master Mind Group?
Master mind groups are founded on the concept of peer-to-peer mentoring in which individuals help each other solve problems, set and reach goals, and achieve business results. The focus of the master mind group is to help individuals succeed through the power of the group. Group members challenge one another to set high-level, important goals and help you to reach these objectives. You share your time and your ideas, and you receive new ideas and accountability to reach your own goals.
Typically, the master mind group members share a common business or personal focus. I have been part of a cohort in collaborative consulting to hone my skills and improve business relationships. Some master mind groups are designed for entrepreneurs to grow their business and work on personal development. Our focus for master mind groups at Global NP Solutions is on innovation and design thinking.
One of the major keys to success in a master mind group is accountability. You know how easy it is to set a “goal” but never achieve it. On January 1, we all swear to lose weight, eat healthier, and exercise more. But, with no accountability, our commitments to the “goal” fade and we fall back into old habits. (Anyone want a chocolate chip cookie?)
Master mind groups members commit to meet together on a regular basis – typically monthly. We meet either in-person or virtually, depending on the group and number of people located nearby. You will create specific and measurable goals and a plan to achieve them. The team collaborates to help generate creative alternatives for reaching the goal and provides a sounding board for decision-making and prioritization.
Because you commit to meet regularly with your cohort, you will report monthly on your progress. The group will applaud and encourage your successes and prod you if you are falling behind on your plans. Master mind group members both give and receive advice, and share ideas with honesty, respect, and compassion. As much as you want to succeed, you also want others to achieve their goals, too. Problems are solved through peer collaboration and creative brainstorming.
What a Master Mind Group is NOT
Master mind groups are not counseling sessions. The group is laser-focused on achieving professional and personal goals to grow and improve business through innovation and design thinking. While personal emergencies can occasionally impact the ability of a group member to enact his plan or to achieve her goal, the group is not designed to address character issues or instill new philosophical values. Instead, the master mind group is facilitated to help each person explore new opportunities in business for growth and to create a goal-oriented plan to achieve that success.
Moreover, master mind groups are not the same as training courses or group coaching or networking. We do offer specific training and access to online course material as part of our master mind groups at Global NP Solutions, but the primary focus of each meeting is for the members to share and collaborate with each other. We do provide opportunities for coaching and mentoring, but the group members are helping one another as much as the facilitator guides the conversation.
And, finally, networking is a benefit of a master mind group, yet it is not the sole purpose for gathering. You will benefit from the connections with other members and the main focus of the monthly meeting is to identify goals for professional and personal growth and to use the power of the cohort to develop specific action plans to achieve those goals.
Typical Agenda of a Master Mind Group
Our master mind groups meet monthly. This allows time for members to actually work on their action plans between meetings and to report progress. Master mind groups are normally limited to about four to eight people so that everyone has a chance to speak at each meeting. The meeting starts with a roundtable or recap as each person shares a quick, one- to two-minute story of their success since the last meeting. There is no intent to go into detail but instead to demonstrate accountability and to thank the group for helping you to commit to success.
The bulk of a master mind meeting is taken by one or more group members sharing details of a specific problem or issue that is stalling their growth. This is called the “hot seat,” and lasts about 10 minutes per person. It is important to be succinct in describing your challenges so that you have time for other members to brainstorm, collaborate, and generate creative feedback.
Finally, as the meeting closes, each individual will commit to a specific and measurable action plan to help him or her meet their stretch goals. A typical monthly meeting runs one to two hours.
In between meetings, your group sustains accountability and commitment through a discussion forum. Your facilitator may also offer one-on-one coaching between master mind group meetings as I do for the innovation and design thinking master mind groups. The online forum also includes document sharing and additional resources (like training classes) to help you achieve your goals.
Sometimes, depending on the needs and desires of the master mind group members, we may hold a weekend retreat. Most master mind groups will meet monthly via webinar for at least six months. Longer running master mind groups benefit from the weekend retreat to allow longer hot seats for brainstorming and to balance work, mind, and spirit. Weekend retreats usually involve additional cost for the members, yet many people find that the intense focus necessary for strategic thinking and growth is only available when they can escape the daily drill.
Why Join a Master Mind Group?
Being a member of a master mind group requires commitment – commitment to both give and receive help, commitment to attend every meeting, and commitment to act on your goals. In exchange for your commitment you are rewarded with a bevy of benefits.
You are part of a community of like-minded people in a master mind group. All of you are trying to improve your professional and personal lives. You want to grow the business. The other members need you as much as you need them and as you think ahead to create a plan, they expect you to report progress. Common accountability in a master mind cohort will give you motivation to act on that plan.
Because you are tapping on a diverse set of resources with varied experiences, you will think bigger. Your ideas will stretch beyond your preconceived assumptions and boundaries. All of the master mind cohort members want you to succeed and they will openly and honestly provide feedback and constructive criticism so that you can meet your goals. Cohort members may have seen a similar problem before and can share what worked (or didn’t work) for them. This leads to faster problem-solving and decision-making than you can do on your own.
Your master mind cohort is your own personal “board of directors”. You no longer feel like you are in it alone. Managing innovation is a unique role in most companies and you often don’t have anyone to talk with at your level to gain deeper insights. The master mind group serves as a business advisor (with full confidentiality in a signed agreement). You will shortcut the learning process since you don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” and increase your confidence in making the right decisions. You will challenge yourself and your group members to higher levels and demonstrate real progress with increased revenue and profitability.
Innovation Master Mind
I am pleased to announce a brand-new master mind group designed for CIOs, R&D managers, and new product development (NPD) leaders. Innovation is often an isolated activity in companies, taking a back seat to operations and manufacturing. Yet most firms rely upon successful commercialization of new products to drive long-term profits. Failure rates remain high for new products because many people don’t know how to take their innovation program to the next level.
Innovation Master Mind accelerates the transfer of best practices. You will share and collaborate with people in different industries facing the same innovation challenges. Your cohort offers feedback and advice from their experience in an open, honest, and confidential setting.
Each Innovation Master Mind member is required to sign a confidentiality agreement and agrees to not share anything from another resource from the master mind group. We screen the cohort members to ensure no industry duplication and to ensure your confidentiality. We encourage an open conversation and collaboration but want to protect your product ideas and business model concepts from competitive influences.
We meet for the Innovation Master Mind monthly via webinar for 90 minutes, allowing each of the four to six group members time in the hot seat. In between monthly meetings, you will have access to me in a short, personal coaching session to verify that your action plan is on track for the next cohort meeting. Finally, you will have full access to an NPDP certification course and a selected variety of design thinking and project management courses at Simple-PDH.com. We also give you exclusive access to a master mind group discussion forum, resources, and NPD tools.
Our inaugural Innovation Master Mind group, starting in late November 2018, will also include a focus on the Virtual Team Model from PDMA’s Essentials 3 volume describing innovation constraints and challenges. This is a great kickoff for future brainstorming and collaboration in the Innovation Master Mind group.
What Are You Waiting For?
Innovation is a tough, tough business. You cannot expect to have long-term commercial success without a deep dive. Evil and sinister characters (also known as competitors) plot to take over your universe (also known as the market), yet you can rely upon a network of collaborative problem solvers to foil their plans. Joining the Innovation Master Mind will help you to create specific measurable and actionable goals and to commit to steps to achieving them. You agree to both give and receive help with like-minded CIOs and NPD managers. You will reap the rewards of faster-to-market with new product introductions and increased profitability. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-280-8717 now to apply for the Innovation Master Mind cohort starting November 2018.
© 2018 Global NP Solutions, LLC
Your Strategic Innovation Partner