How to start and run a Mastermind Group

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AxelHeyst
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How to start and run a Mastermind Group

Post by AxelHeyst »

Recommended best practices, based on my experience booting up the first one.
  • Size: Any more than 8 is probably too many.
  • How to recruit members: The best way is probably to make a post in your own journal soliciting interest. The people who follow you the most are the most likely to be on the same wavelength as you, so they’ve already passed a “is this good chemistry?” filter. This means that if you want to be in a MMG, it’s up to you to show the initiative to start one! Probably at least a few other people will be in to it.
  • Criteria for membership: No lurkers. Everyone ideally either has a journal, or is active enough on the forum that they don’t “need” a journal - they’re a known entity. I think it’s important for the trust dynamic of the Group for everyone going in it to be able to check each other out and say “yeah, okay, I’m cool with joining a group with these people.” An exception might be that if you know someone who’d be a good candidate for your MMG, who isn’t active on this forum, but are active on permies or somewhere else on the internet, that might work out fine.
  • As a group leader, if you don’t have good vibes about a particular person joining, tell them no, nicely. An uncomfortable exchange now might save you and 7 other people months of drama and bad experience. Trust your gut.
  • The Trust Aspect: Everyone in a MMG shares emails and does voice chats. It’s possible for the paranoid to maintain anonymity even in a MMG (anon email addresses and masking up for video calls), but that’s very much not ideal. For those who want their forum handles to remain anon, they’re going to have to trust their MMG groupies not to dox them. Once the group gets going, that mutual trust becomes a comfortable thing but it can be a little nerve-wracking to hop on that first call.
  • Be organized. Once it’s up and running, the group pretty much runs itself. But it’s important as the leader to not waste people’s time, and to make participation as easy as possible for the members. So take the time at the beginning to get your group Systems running smoothly. If you have any specific questions about this don’t hesitate to ask me.
  • Structure: A video call every two weeks. The first ten minutes is a popcorn checkin on how people’s projects are going. The rest of the time is dedicated to one person’s Deep Dive - them doing a more in depth update on their Projects, getting feedback, etc. Once all members have had a deep dive (which will take (number of members)*2weeks), that’s one “formal session”. Consider taking a few weeks or months to have informal sessions: a call just to talk about the group and any changes you want to make for the next formal session, special topics, special guests, or even totally agenda-less social hangouts. Then do another formal session.
  • Have a chat channel for all group members. We use Signal. Have a main channel for Project Updates and meeting logistics (as the leader, send out a “see you all tomorrow at N o’clock for our call!” the night before, etc). We have a Lounge for BSing, a Food Channel, an Investing channel, and a GTD channel. We only make channels when a need arises, when we get the sense that there’s a topic that only a small subset of the group cares about.
  • Projects Dashboard. Make a google Slides deck, and each member gets one slide. On it, they have a description for their current Mastermind project(s), what their commitment is to accomplish by the next meeting, and any contextual notes.
  • Do a mid-week checkin. Send out on the main chat channel “How’s everyone’s projects going?”
  • Don’t let the main forum die! A danger here is that everyone goes into Mastermind groups and stops participating in the main forum. This would be like cutting off the branch that you’re standing on. Make clear that there’s an expectation to not totally drop off the radar on the forum. It’s natural for some types of participation in the forum to reduce, but make an effort (as the leader of a group and as members of a group) not to neglect the forum. Report back on group progress, update your journal, participate in threads, etc.
Any questions or additions? I’m also happy to share templates and do a one on one chat with anyone thinking about starting their own group up.

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mountainFrugal
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Re: How to start and run a Mastermind Group

Post by mountainFrugal »

I just had a chat with @westernredcedar and @axelheyst about starting more specialized groups and how that might differ from a general group. A few interesting things came out of the conversation. (we had this call scheduled before the flurry of new groups started forming over the last week...YEAH!... many of my basic questions were answered by these groups forming)

A few more thoughts:
1) The potential pool of non-lurking folks on here is not actually that large so that could quickly limit a more specialized group (not impossible, but might be harder).
2) of the folks that are active participants and think groups are interesting, there are even fewer who would share their personal info.
3) A more specialized group could allow the group to feed off one another to really go deep on some topic or area of interest. This happens frequently in the current long running MM group and would likely be enhanced with a more specialized group.
4) Perhaps a way to form a specialized group is to think about your web of goals and DM folks directly that might have similar goals as a way to form a group if you did not want to put out a general call.
5) Feed the summaries back into the forum under the appropriate threads (like this)
6) repeat

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mountainFrugal
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Re: How to start and run a Mastermind Group

Post by mountainFrugal »

Art Mastermind Group Update-

Originally we set out to work through the Gesture, Anatomy, and Portrait courses on www.proko.com (wait until December for steep course discounts). Now it is just whatever folks are working on which include these courses. It helps to provide a low stress, asynchronous, place to post and discuss art projects. It also offers a low level "push" to always be making something. I have personally gotten excellent technical feedback on some things I have been testing.

We started in Feb of this year with 2 users and now we are up to 4 on the discord server. Adding new users requires unanimous consent. Engagement is every other day on average. We started with just 2 channels but now have expanded organically to 7.
General- keeping it casual, welcomes, etc.
Pencil Miles - exercises, sketches, tutorials,
favorites - art that you made that you really like
improvements - art that might not land in favorites, but certain techniques that were consciously improved.
fails - hot messes, celebrate them!
motivation - influences, inspiration, other creations, etc.
workinprogress - feedback for pieces/concepts in progress

Keep it casual and low stakes. Only 1 of the above channels is for posting finished or close to finished work. This is perhaps the exact opposite of Instagram or other social media.

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