7 Reasons Why Mastermind Groups Fail

If you have a bad experience at a restaurant, would you avoid all other restaurants for the rest of your life? Of course not. Using the same logic, if you’ve been in a Mastermind group that failed, it’s time to forget about that group and try something else. When you join the right Mastermind group, everything falls into place. The exchange of great ideas, the amazing support, the feeling of community: all of these things are what make up a truly beneficial Mastermind group. As you start to fit in with your new group, your confidence, productivity, and business begin to soar beyond your expectations. You no longer search aimlessly for good advice or worry about your business strategy. When you can get past that overwhelmed feeling and start concentrating on your area of expertise, you’ll find renewed success. The question is: how do you find the right group? Learn to identify some of the common failure points. Look out for those red flags. Start to see them pop up, and it’s time to look elsewhere. I’ve put together a list of some of the most common problems that plague unsuccessful groups. Although this list is not all encompassing, we’ve assembled seven common reasons that Mastermind groups fail.
  1. No new joiners
  2. Lack of structure
  3. Too many takers vs givers
  4. Too big a gap in the skill set
  5. Along for the Ride
  6. Not enough accountability within the group
  7. Clash of personalities or dominant alpha
1. Size Matters (sometimes) When membership in any group starts to dwindle, the immediate response is often to fill the empty seats as quickly as possible. Be wary of this. Mastermind groups frequently recruit aggressively when membership starts getting too low. The ideal group size depends on the dynamics and situation. As a general guideline, if your virtual sessions last about 60-90 minutes, somewhere between four and eight people is ideal. Groups that meet in person can be larger than this. After presenting information to the group as a whole, members can split into smaller groups. Conversely, groups that are too large tend to lose the personal touch. The meetings become increasingly less productive for everyone involved. This defeats the concept of a true Mastermind group and instead becomes a lecture or presentation. On the other hand, groups that are too small run the risk of losing crucial members. Once a few people drop out of a small group, the group may not be able to sustain itself much longer. The remaining members might begin to feel a lack of diversity in both skill and input during each meeting. From there, things can quickly disintegrate. 2. Lack of structure A poorly-structured Mastermind group can feel more like a simple social gathering where members shoot the breeze about everything and nothing. You’ll suddenly find the group accomplishing very little. People already have a group of friends that they can hang out with socially. Why would they pay for the privilege? There is no professional benefit from this type of relaxed group. You need to create a structured environment that keeps everyone focused, creates certainty, and helps make the meeting more productive. Individual check-ins, five-minute round ups, and the use of a “hot seat” are several types of popular Mastermind agendas. A Mastermind group should be there to help keep pushing each other forward – not sideways or backwards. 3. Givers Vs Takers We’ve all met some people who seem to exist simply to leech off of everyone else. These types of people feel that the world owes them a living and have a troubling sense of entitlement. They assume that your purpose is to stop what you’re doing when they ask for a favour. They are happy to consume the precious time you have–regardless of the inconvenience. In a group of seven or eight, you can maybe handle one of these people. Any more than that, you’ll find that you and your group are losing valuable time. If you lose even one or two people because of the pushy taker, you’ll find that this person has even more time to waste because there are fewer buffers in the group to hide the behaviour. For the good of the whole group, you must call these people out for their inappropriate behavior. If they persist, ask them politely to leave. You need to think of the group as a whole. It’s better to remove one person if the group would be improved and would thrive without them. You do need some kind of consensus within the group before removing the individual, as it may just be a one-on-one personality clash. On the flip side, when we help someone or even witness kindness, we release oxytocin – which is great for our health and wellness. 4. Mind The Gap mind the gap is one reason why mastermind groups fail Each member of your Mastermind group must be of at least comparable skill level and interest. If the gap between each of the mastermind participants is too great, it becomes detrimental to the whole group. If the group has one or two members that are yet to start a business, and others who are serial entrepreneurs, you have a problem. The noobies will feel intimidated and overwhelmed by the success of some of the others in the group. They forget that everyone starts from zero. At first, those who are more experienced may feel some satisfaction imparting their wisdom on those just starting (this is one of the core principals of a successful Mastermind group). However, when those who are more experienced have a challenge or a question, there may not be anyone within the group who can help them. It’s human nature to want to surround yourself with those who are more successful. That said, if the gap is too great, this can backfire; your experienced members will feel bored, uninspired, and may leave the group. 5. Along For the Ride In any group of people working together to achieve common goals, you’ll often find that one or more of the group members contribute nothing–or very little–to the group as a whole. These “freeloaders” are often people who are simply more interested in merely being a part of the group. In other words, these are the types of people who join a Mastermind group to give themselves the illusion that they are at least trying to make some sort of progress. By sitting among a group of professionals who are genuinely trying to improve themselves, they feel they are putting in the effort necessary to make real improvements. When they try to understand the reasons why their business is failing, they are befuddled. After all, they are “involved” with a group of people with similar problems. When everything turns sour, they blame the group. They wonder why the Mastermind group hasn’t saved their business. In reality, they know–or should know–that they never heeded any of the advice and wrongfully assumed that being a passive part of the group would save them. 6. Lack of Accountability Becoming accountable is one of the fundamental reasons for joining a Mastermind group. When you make a commitment out loud and in writing, the likelihood of completing that goal increases tremendously (85% is a figure bandied about). Peter Drucker is famous for saying, “If you can’t measure it you can’t improve it.” This is doubly true for small business owners and entrepreneurs who are less accountable than employees. Without a boss checking up on you, it is much easier to let deadlines pass, fudge your tracking, and skip over any failures. When you aren’t accountable, ignoring short-term and long-term goals become easier. You might become complacent because there’s no one to stop you. You must track and discuss your goals each week and demonstrate that you’ve achieved them – otherwise you are just wasting your time. 7. Clash of personalities clash of different personalities causes mastermind groups to fail In life, there are often people that rub us the wrong way. There are simply some people we can’t stand. We can’t point to a single characteristic or action that makes us feel this way, but we still just can’t get along. it could be a combination of things. Have you ever been set up on a blind date? Was it an epic failure? Even if you haven’t, surely you’ve introduced two people (or been introduced to someone) only to find that this new relationship simply did not click. Group dynamics are even harder to predict. In almost any group of people, there will always be some who do not get along. Successful groups take personality profiles into consideration to help ensure a more equal balance. Have your tribe take a free personality test. It will greatly improve the chances of achieving a more balanced, cohesive group of individuals. Sometimes, despite the best intentions, we just don’t rub along – it’s what makes us human, after all. Remember that assembling any group of people means that you’re bringing together individuals with different backgrounds and experiences. We would love to hear your thoughts on what you believe makes a good Mastermind group.  

About the Author:

Ronan Leonard is a Mastermind facilitator, connecting entrepreneurs and small business owners together to create the perfect virtual Mastermind group. Small business owners are often overwhelmed with to-do lists and need impartial advice to get the right support to help them achieve their goals. Ronan believes that 99% of your business problems are already solved and will connect you to a tribe that has the answers and to help you accelerate your learning. He believes that there is more value in making real peer-to-peer connections than paying for external contractors who have no vested interest in your success Passionate about helping others he is committed to giving away 1 in 6 spots on the platform to social enterprises and entrepreneurs from developing countries to create a global community. Ronan loves seeing the benefits that Mastermind groups have on each person who participates and has helped 100’s of business owners increase clarity, confidence and productivity by creating the support network for them to achieve their true potential.