The concept comes from Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich. He defines the mastermind principle:
Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose.
The purpose of your group can vary greatly. One that stands out for me was a group of facilitators, trainers and coaches. For almost 4 years, we met quarterly to spend a day training each other and sharing best practices. Oh yeah, we also had a ton of laughs and became great friends.
A type of group popular with small business owners takes the form of a board of directors. Each member gains from the others' experiences and skills. You can see opportunities from a different perspective, get challenged, create plans and be held accountable, access your peers' resources, share a sense of endeavour and develop your skills. This works great if you keep the group small - 2 to 4 people.
Here are some other models commonly used:
- book club
- business process
- professional development
Clearly defining the group's purpose is really really important. (Yes, I said really twice... because it really is important!) Without a common understanding, things can fall apart fast. And trust is, of course, essential.