What is the mastermind method

Ted Scott
Ted Scott
24 January 2024
8 min

You have an interesting idea, you have long wanted to realize it, but you do not dare to make the first step? Do you doubt that the case will pay off? Mastermind will help you get rid of fears and doubts. What is the meaning of this format of communication? What is a mastermind in simple words? Let’s look at these questions in more detail.

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What it is and how it works

How mastermind works

This term was first used by the American publicist Oliver Napoleon Hill, the creator of the bestseller “Think and Grow Rich”, who for a long time studied the success stories of famous personalities such as Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and others.

A mastermind is a team of like-minded people who help each other to achieve personal goals using their knowledge, experience and skills. At the same time, each of them may have their own goals and objectives that are radically different from the others. For example, one of the group members wants to start his own business, another wants to lose 10 kilograms of weight, another wants to move to another country for permanent residence, and so on. In order to accomplish their goals, these people meet regularly to review each participant’s situation to provide support and help them achieve their goals.

Meetings of like-minded people are scheduled at different intervals. For example, daily, for 15 minutes a day, 2-3 times a week with a duration of half an hour or once a month (for 3-4 hours). During communication, all team members ask each other questions and get answers. They can discuss any problems, ideas, share experiences. Meetings can be organized in a face-to-face format, but most often they are held remotely, online.

The purpose of a mastermind is to gain new knowledge, experience, and find solutions for different situations. It gives you the opportunity to look at problems from a different angle. If you are looking for a job, your group partners can help you write a good CV, recommend you to people you know or share their business contacts.

At mastermind meetings, you can share thoughts or ideas that, for various reasons, you cannot discuss with your friends or family. You will be listened to attentively, you will receive help and support in your issue. You will also be expected to do the same.

Using the experience of teammates, each team member can create his or her own case or learn new material better. Sometimes groups come together to solve specific problems. For example, when launching a project. For this purpose, it is necessary to select people with relevant experience who will help to successfully launch the project. When the problem is solved, the group is disbanded.

Other masterminds operate on an ongoing basis. One well-known example is the PayPal Mafia, which is made up of former employees and associates of the PayPal payment system, including Ilon Musk and Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn.

Advantages of a mastermind

By meeting other people, you will acquire useful connections and acquaintances. The success of any person largely depends on building the right communications. Having useful contacts at hand, it is much easier to solve most important issues. The advantages of this method include:

  • Synergy (group energy) to help each participant work at a certain pace while focusing on a personal project.
  • The possibility of live communication. Communication can take place in an online format via video link (e.g. zoom) or in a specific location, offline.
  • A fresh look at the project from the outside.

This technique also has a motivational component. You will not be able to miss a meeting or remain silent. The format of the meeting implies active interaction of all participants.

Participation in a mastermind group gives you the opportunity to communicate with representatives of other professional fields. Their thinking and approaches to life may be radically different from yours. This will allow you to develop creativity and establish interdisciplinary connections. The main value of the group’s work lies in the people present in it. You will receive support and approval from others, you will be able to find non-trivial ways of solving your problems together with other participants. You will get a lot of useful information for generating ideas.

You will put the tips and recommendations you have received into practice. At the next meeting, share the results with like-minded people and get feedback again. It will become a new impetus for moving forward and further development.

Mastermind Rules

Principles of a proper mastermind

The following rules should be adhered to in order for the group’s work to be of real benefit to the participants, productive and interesting:

  • Actively participate in discussions. Modestly sitting “in a corner” is not an option in this case. Mastermind meetings imply rich and productive communication. You should not only listen attentively to others, but also raise your own questions, share your opinion about the participants’ cases, and ask questions.
  • Observe the timing of the event. This is necessary to ensure that the requests of all participants are addressed. A mastermind meeting should not turn into a friendly sit-down or discussion of problems of one member of the group. For this purpose, the moderator establishes certain time frames for each presentation, and a minute-by-minute schedule is drawn up.
  • Attend team meetings on a regular basis. This requirement is especially true for teams that have been in the same lineup for a long time.
  • Maintain confidentiality of the information received. A participant may be expelled from the group for violating this paragraph of the rules.
  • Openly and honestly express their opinions, with understanding and respect for the positions of others.
  • Support fellow group members and create a safe and supportive atmosphere for communication. Especially if participants have serious and ambitious goals. A toxic, tense environment is not conducive to disclosure in the course of communication. This requires trust in each other and mutual sympathy.
  • Avoid personal evaluations. When listening to other people’s points of view, it is important to learn to hear and accept them. After all, one of the objectives of a mastermind is to broaden the scope of thinking, to get a different opinion on your problem or issue.
  • Utilize networking, their resources, promotion. At mastermind group meetings, participants share their contacts and experience with each other, receiving valuable and useful “artifacts” in return.
  • Listen attentively to the interlocutors, do not interrupt. Each participant is given a certain amount of time to speak. Any questions, comments, and additions should be made after he/she has finished his/her speech.

The mastermind format is based on the following principles:


The meeting participants should work in different positions and have different backgrounds. It is ideal if they represent different areas of activity. For example: a marketer at an advertising agency, an entrepreneur who makes furniture, a financial director of a company, an editor of an Internet publication, and so on. Such different participants will always have something to offer each other.


A mastermind group is made up of people from the same social group, with approximately the same income, education levels, and values. If this principle is not observed, it is impossible to create a favorable and positive environment due to the risk of dislike, arrogance, envy on the part of individual participants.

Number of participants

The optimal size of a mastermind team is between 4 and 7 people.

Presence of a moderator

Without an organizer, a leader who serves as a “mastermind,” the group cannot function. His or her functions include keeping track of time, scheduling discussions, and monitoring compliance with the rules of the mastermind. The moderator sets the tone of the conversation, steers it in the right direction, and stimulates communication.

Temporary existence

The purpose of a mastermind is to find solutions to the problems of specific participants. If the necessary answers are obtained and the required result is achieved, the group’s further existence is meaningless. However, team members can continue to communicate in this format and further, for personal growth and self-improvement.

How to run a mastermind

Mastermind process

The classic scenario of a meeting is as follows:

Duration of the event – 120 minutes.

Number of participants: from 5 to 8 people.

The process of conducting:

Retrospective (1 to 2 minutes per participant)

The moderator asks questions regarding the last meeting:

  • What ideas have you been able to implement?
  • What’s changed since last time?
  • What difficulties were encountered in resolving the issue?

Requests and recommendations (7-10 minutes per speaker)

Group members take turns expressing their opinions on the issue under discussion. They propose their solutions, ideas, recommendations. The moderator is the last to speak. In the course of the discussion, the moderator notes down the ideas, creates a mind-map based on them and displays it on a digital screen or records the information in Google docs.

Making an action plan/public commitment (2 minutes per participant)

At this stage, questions are asked:

  • What did you get useful out of the meeting?
  • What will you do for the next mastermind?

Each participant describes his/her actions that he/she is committed to accomplish by the next event. The moderator records them in the chat room or task tracker.

Similarly, case studies are organized. In this case, the group deals with practical issues that the user has encountered in the process of implementing a particular item.

How to use LeaderTask to organize a mastermind


Mastermind is a business communication method that requires careful organization and structuring. The moderator assumes most of the responsibility for the success of the event. He or she can fulfill several key functions:

  • Be a curator, a meeting coordinator;
  • Act as an expert in a topic chosen by the participants.

To organize meetings in remote or face-to-face format, modern digital communication tools and task trackers are used, such as LeaderTask, a popular homegrown project work and planning app that supports group communication and video calling.

Remote meetings can be attended by participants from different cities and countries. With the help of LeaderTask, you can create a clear plan of the meeting, setting its duration and timing of participants’ speeches. Fix the results of the event on kanban boards with the date of each task. Organize their effective communication to discuss the issues of the meeting. All information stored and transmitted in the system is reliably protected from outsiders. For additional protection it is possible to use individual access settings.

The application is suitable for creating, maintaining personal and team projects, fixing to-do lists with real-time control of their fulfillment. Works on all digital platforms, synchronizes with many popular services and planning tools. Does not require an internet connection.


Using the mastermind format, you can successfully solve many issues related to your professional or personal life. In a group of like-minded people you will gain self-confidence, find new sources of motivation and inspiration. You will be able to find non-standard ways to achieve your goals. You will see many of your problems from the outside.

Each mastermind group has a specific purpose. Therefore, it should include people with specific knowledge, experience and skills in the field. Team meetings are held in a confidential format, in an atmosphere of friendliness and trust. Criticism, negativity towards other participants is not allowed. To support communication between team members outside the event, you can use a joint chat in messenger. After solving a problem, the group is usually disbanded, but you can continue to organize meetings for self-development and learning new skills.

To organize your own team, formulate the goals you want to achieve. Think about the people who will be able to help you do this. Develop team rules and a document on confidentiality of information. Decide on a channel for communication. It can be a special program for calls and communication, for example, LeaderTask. Meetings can also be organized in a specific place.

Invite a moderator and get to know him/her beforehand. Record the results of each meeting and share them with other group members in the chat room. Use them as a reference for the preparation of future meetings. This way you can improve yourself and help others to improve.

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