The term “Mastermind” was made popular in the business world by Napoleon Hill in his book Think and Grow Rich.

And today, business people are using it all around the globe as a way to expand their accountability team and support network, as well as their marketing reach.

But what about using this model in your team meetings as well?

I frequently hear from the teams that I work with how little seems to get accomplished in all these darn meetings. Someone suggested recently that they were “just for the leader to hear himself talk out loud to an audience.”

What I offered this team member was to suggest running their meetings more like an entrepreneur would: Run it as a Mastermind Group.

Mastermind Groups help you to think of new possibilities–things you would not gather on your own–opening you up to new opportunities. They are most powerful when you have a clear picture of what you want or need and maybe just not the road map to achieving it. That is what your team members will help you figure out.

You may not be able to control how many meetings you must attend, but you can help everyone achieve more during them with a new twist on how you run it. Here are four reasons to apply a Mastermind concept to your next team meeting.

  1.  Focuses people on solution versus problem. Many times our team meetings are run out of the a. need to deliver information to all quickly or b. need to check in and manage priorities of the group. They are often a lot of information “spewing” that can lead to only focusing on the problem of the moment. Try the approach of putting the problem or challenge on the table to the group and giving each a set time to discuss how to tackle the problem. Remember: it’s not to come up WITH the solution there, it’s to give a lot of possible options and letting the person who ‘owns’ it take it back to their desk to determine what’s going to work.
  2.  Opens up dialogue with the whole group. When we come to meetings as a team, there is one talking head at the front of the room who delivers the information and everyone feverishly takes notes (or plays on their smart phones) and pretends to take it all in. Let’s be real, talking heads at the front of the room no longer work in today’s world of work. We want engagement. We demand attention. So give a challenge to the group and set the timer and ask all to participate–go around the table and give everyone the chance to chime in. Even your Introverts will step up and play at this when it’s their turn because you have created a little structure and opened the invitation to share.
  3. Eliminates negativity and promotes open-minded approach. How many times have you been in a meeting afraid to share with your team some tough information, or been frustrated that a solution hasn’t come forward on a project that needs to be off your desk in a few days? When you are frustrated, your people are frustrated too. And that very feeling can put people in a negative mindset, which shuts down their creativity. By trying a mastermind approach with the frustration and posing the question as you speak the truth: “here is the problem, and here is why I am frustrated, what do you see?”. You will more than likely open up people to giving feedback to you, just as board of directors might, that can help YOU open up your mind to new possibilities.
  4. Puts the power to produce back on the team. What do you do when you give an assignment to a team? You expect them to find the resources and solution and get on to delivering the completed task, right? Well what if they are stuck on where the resources are exactly or how they will tap into them? You may expect they will come to you, but is that what you really want? Wouldn’t it be grand if the team came up with the solution together instead of having to run to you for everything they need or to get unstuck?I have witnessed team members pulling back and shrinking into their desk, often putting the blame back on the leader of the team because “they didn’t give me all that I needed”. Giving them the tool of masterminding helps them to rely on one another for the solution, it keeps you managing the big picture as they are working in the details. Ultimately relinquishing control of the blame game and owning the possibility of what they have within them to do in order to finish the assignment.

Give Masterminding a try over the next 3 months of team meetings. This is one tool you will be glad you introduced to your team, you and your teammates will stay on point and solution focused. Ultimately energizing the weekly team gathering and optimizing their team performance.