What is a Mastermind group and why should you join one?

by Capacity Development, Leadership

You have probably heard the phrase ‘Birds of a feather flock together’, right? It’s something that was often said to us by our parents as we grew up. This was mostly geared towards making sure we were in the right company, especially when they could not directly monitor our every move.

We have continuously heard the phrase through the years and maybe now it makes sense. The truth is that we tend to be around those people who share the same interests, values, beliefs or worldview with us. These and other aspects become the feather that causes us to flock together.

What is a mastermind group?

According to Napoleon Hill, a mastermind group is the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people working towards a definite purpose in the spirit of harmony. It is therefore basically a group of professionals working together towards attaining success in a confidential setting; with the help of each other.

It may sound a lot like mentorship but they differ. While in mentorship there’s one person constantly giving and the other constantly receiving, a mastermind has all parties doing both in different circumstances.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

-African Proverb

The Purpose of Mastermind groups

A mastermind group’s sole purpose is to help members navigate through challenges using the collective intelligence of others. This group of like-minded people meets as often as planned to tackle challenges and problems together. They learn from each other, give advice, share resources and do business with each other when appropriate. You could call the process: peer-to-peer mentoring.

Types of mastermind groups.

1. Social mastermind groups.

In this type of mastermind group, there’s no expectation of material gain. This may consist of a group of friends or relatives who come together and help each other navigate life. In these spaces, personal issues are discussed and shared by individuals and it’s the role of the members to help or advise as is necessary.

2. Industry-specific mastermind groups.

There are groups consisting of people in the same industries. For example, we could talk of a finance mastermind group. In this space, people in this industry meet and discuss issues to do with finance, share resources and help each other understand their industry better.

They can evaluate upcoming trends and update one another even as they evaluate how previous ones have done. It helps an individual grow both their presence and knowledge through networking.

3. Entrepreneurial mastermind groups.

Starting any form of business is never easy. So many people have such grand and useful ideas that never get to be seen or known simply because they have not gathered the courage to start. For such individuals, it would be beneficial to be in mastermind groups focused on entrepreneurship. It’s in these groups that one can learn what works and what doesn’t.

As a new entrepreneur, this type of group would be very helpful in knowing what strategies to employ and which ones not to. Sharing with different business people opens up your mind to new opportunities, as you sharpen your initial idea.

4. C-Suite leadership mastermind groups.

Positions of leadership have unique challenges. Mastermind groups in this category provide a platform for people in leadership positions to discuss issues unique to their positions. These groups are very resourceful for skills necessary in leadership such as problem-solving, decision making or strategizing. Through networking with other leaders, one is able to pick out the different habits that have not been working.

5. Business advisory mastermind group

This is a type of mastermind group that is more general in its nature and composition. It’s neither industry-specific, entrepreneurial nor is it leadership based. It’s focused on businesses and looks into all aspects of the business world. It’s open to all forms of business discussions across all platforms.

The structure of mastermind groups.

Mastermind groups are structured in a way that enables its members to achieve certain defined goals. Members have similar interests that bring them together and learn from each other, in order to achieve the set goals.

This is achieved through regular meetings that can either be physical or virtual. Each of these meetings is geared towards the overall vision of the group. Ultimately, mastermind groups are aimed at making every member get to the best version of themselves.

Benefits of joining a mastermind group.

There are numerous benefits that come with joining mastermind groups. We are going to discuss 5 in this article.

1. Accountability

It is very unlikely that you would call yourself out on an area you’re not doing so good at. My entrepreneurial journey has taught me how important it is to have people around you are in keeping you accountable.

One of the issues I struggled with the most was the separation of finances. In my first business, I’d constantly use all the money received from sales to serve my pleasures and would end up in situations where my inventory was compromised. No matter how hard I tried to keep myself accountable, there was always a loophole that would open up over time.

Having people who constantly call me out on how I handle finances has really played a huge role in helping me become more diligent with my money.

2. Problem-solving

Being in a mastermind group helps you learn from people in the same space as you are. You are able to learn from other people’s experiences and mistakes as well.

When faced with a problem, it’s easy to involve members of your mastermind group because there is an already existing relationship. Having walked with this group, it makes it easier for them to evaluate the existing problem and help you solve it.

3. Decision-making

Every day we are required to make decisions, some harder than others. Starting a business, for example, calls for a lot of research especially when deciding which business to venture into. Being in a business mastermind group will help you make the decision based on information available within the group. The same applies to any other type of mastermind group.

Especially for those in large organizations, any decisions made on any level have implications on the decision-maker and the entity they represent at large. It is therefore important to receive all the guidance needed to make the right decisions.

4. Helping others.

As we started this article, we mentioned that mastermind groups are about mutual benefit. It’s not just one party pouring into the team, but everyone sharing their resources to help build the others. This directly means that being in one gives you the chance to help others as well.  Mastermind groups give you the opportunity to be part of someone else’s success story.

Through the different sessions planned within the group, you are able to share your knowledge and experience with a team that appreciates it. Being a part of someone else’s decision making or problem-solving process gives you a chance to share what you may have learned in your personal journey.

5. Growth.

Mastermind groups allow for the continuous growth of individuals as well as the group as a whole. Depending on the type of group, one is able to gain the skills and knowledge that they need in their different spheres.

Learning is a continuous process in these groups. Growth can be as a result of the networks built within the group, resources available or lessons learned. These platforms help develop and grow confidence as you continue interacting and getting involved in different activities within the team.

How to pick a mastermind group?

You can join an already existing mastermind group or form one, which you’ll invite people to. When picking a mastermind group to join or forming one, it’s important to consider the following factors;

  • Clear vision and goals.
  • Clear guidelines for how the group is run.
  • Similar experience levels.
  • Like-mindedness.
  • No members in competing fields.
  • Variety of skills.
  • Commitment.
  • Balanced mutual benefit.

Evaluation and review.

Just like any other venture, it’s important to evaluate a mastermind group even after joining. Sometimes there’s more than what may have been presented when joining or forming. It’s important to pay attention to how the group is running, constantly evaluating progress.

There are aspects of a mastermind group that may have drawn you to it in the beginning but have since changed. It’s important to compare that to what you’re experiencing with what you expected. A good and efficient mastermind group should openly allow for questions and criticism where necessary. It should be easy to raise concerns within the group or even seek clarification.

A mastermind group has a collective goal and vision, but as an individual, you also should have your own. Supposing you joined a group as a professional, say in the medicine industry, looking to network and learn from fellow industry players. It would only be fitting that you have specific expectations of what you’d like to achieve from being in the group. These expectations will be your personal standard, helping you derive value from the group.

Lack of personal expectations, goals and visions will very easily lead to mediocrity since you’ll settle for anything that is offered. This could very easily bring forth groupthink, which takes away the variety in the group since everyone just takes whatever is offered as a group.

Some of the things to be careful to point out in a mastermind group include;

  • Haphazardness
  • Blurred vision
  • Lack of assured confidentiality
  • Stagnant state
  • One-sided contributions


Are you already part of a mastermind group? If not, you can choose to either join one or form your own. Either way, the benefits remain the same. The opportunities for growth are immense and you will get the benefit of networking with like-minded individuals. You will also have an extra eye or two on the lookout, ready to point out the things you may not be able to pick out by yourself. Try one out today and see the effect it will have on you and your life as a whole.

As one ancient African proverb goes: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”