Weiss Advice Issue: 149, February, 2016

Here’s a dictionary definition of “mastermind”: someone who plans and directs an ingenious and complex scheme or enterprise: the mastermind behind the project.

We’ve come to call groups that assemble periodically, physically or virtually, “mastermind groups.” These are supposed to be groups of highly successful people meeting to share ideas and mutually improve.

But they’re usually not.

First, there’s the conventional wisdom that “you shouldn’t be the most successful or brightest in your mastermind group,” which is like the ludicrous real estate aphorism, “you shouldn’t have the most expensive home on the block or in the neighborhood.” Why on earth not?

We learn by giving perhaps even more than by receiving. Thus, one can be the brightest, best looking, and have the best voice so long as sharing and coaching others are embraced.

Second, these groups are supposed to be self-directed and continually engaged in self-growth. That’s as insulated as saying that you can plant crops and then isolate them from the environment. Groups, like crops, need air, and fertilization, and water, and technological intervention at times. Outside experts, facilitators, and contributors are necessary for long-term, successful mastermind groups.

Third, there needs to be a sunset date. Otherwise, you have co-dependency and commiseration, but not continual learning. The well does run dry.

If you choose to get involved, make sure your time and energy are well invested.