Mastermind groups can take many forms. I have been fortunate to be a member of several wonderful groups. In some cases, we didn't call them mastermind groups... but that's what they were.
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.