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Mastermind is the Name of the Game

What is a mastermind group? This timeless concept is explained by Napoleon Hill in his books published in the 1920s and ’30s, The Law of Success and Think and Grow Rich.

Some mastermind groups are informal with 2-3 people and other groups are more formally organized, such as organizations like Vistage (, YPO (, or View From the Top (   More formal mastermind groups consist of approximately 8-12 peers who meet on a regular basis (weekly or monthly) either in-person or via Zoom. Members pay monthly dues, and their fee often covers in-person speaker(s), activities, and/or retreats.

CEO & Co-Founder of Sustainable Investment Group (, Charlie Chichetti, has belonged to a 10-person mastermind group, Iron Sharpens Iron (“ISI”) as part of the View From the Top, for the past six years. Chichetti says the strength of a group lies in the diverse personal and business experiences of its members. Participants share best practices and hold each other accountable for tackling problems and meeting goals. Each member takes a turn in the “hot seat,” while the rest of the group brainstorms strategies and solutions to aid them in facing their challenges head on. A successful mastermind group enhances its members’ business AND personal lives.

Make no mistake, these formal groups like Vistage and ISI are not laid-back clubs.  Attendance and participation are  required. Members are expected to present problems, as well as provide feedback. The group devises a method of holding members accountable for following through, which keeps everyone focused and on track.

Charlie Chichetti offers the following guidelines to create an efficient and productive mastermind group:

  • Meetings are not the time to multi-task; they should be structured and begin and end on time.
  • Be present – both physically and mentally.
  • Members should come with a giving—as opposed to taking—mindset.
  • Include a mix of members, including “solopreneurs,” people from small- to large-size businesses and from different industries.

Trace Blackmore, owner of Blackmore Enterprises (, has been part of a mastermind group for the past 10 years. He currently facilitates a mastermind group, Rising Tide (, and is a firm believer that learning from others’ mistakes and successes is one of the best tools for good decision making. Like Chichetti, Blackmore contends that the structure of mastermind groups is key to their success. He provided the following guidance to anyone who is part of a mastermind group, or is considering joining one:

  • All devices should be on silent mode during the meetings.
  • Progress is expected every week and a group may choose to offer consequences for members who come unprepared.
  • Before deciding to join a mastermind group, be sure you have the time, energy, and desire to make it a priority.
  • Each meeting should start by celebrating wins. Support and accolades are integral to keeping members motivated.
  • Ask questions! Questions help people think and look at circumstances from different perspectives and keep people from jumping to conclusions until they have all the information.
  • Members should be honest, while doing so in a tactful way. A book titled Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott is a good resource.
  • Individual goals and plans should be clearly verbalized to the group and should include deadlines for completion. This keeps people focused and on track.
  • What happens in mastermind stays in mastermind. Like all of life, business and personal events overlap, and problems and solutions are often of a personal nature.

Now you are officially aware of the who, what, when, where, and why and of mastermind groups. The benefits— accountability, strategy development, and healthy business and personal habits—are invaluable. Perhaps you will think it over and decide that membership is right for you.

As a member of a mastermind group for 10+ years now, I’m happy to advise you if you are thinking of joining one.   Feel free to contact me to discuss.

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