John-Paul Flintoff




Whizzy Group | What next?

In January, knowing that I had some Fairly Big Things coming up, I invited a group of talented individuals to join me in a weekly get-together online.

I wanted the support of people who could hold me to account, and for whom I could do the same.

I was borrowing an idea I’d seen described elsewhere as a Mastermind Group, but that sounded a bit pretentious to me, so I called mine a Whizzy Group.

(This name puzzled some people. I should explain that I use the word whizzy to mean, essentially, “good”.)


Not free

Having found in the past, against my hopes and expectations, that people undervalue what they don’t pay for, I charged for participation. Not a vast sum, but enough for people to feel “invested”.


Weekly slot

I fixed a regular hour-long lunchtime Zoom, in the middle of the week. Some people couldn’t make it, which was a shame.

But I wanted this thing to happen, rather than not happen because the time doesn’t suit absolutely everyone.


Format

Broadly speaking, the weekly 60-minute meetings have gone like this:

  1. Somebody reads out the group rules
  2. We take turns to say what we’ve achieved over the previous week, keeping it brief (ideally less than a minute)
  3. Somebody speaks and asks for feedback or advice (all within a 10 minute limit)
  4. Somebody else does the same (10 mins)
  5. And a third person (10 mins)
  6. The group splits up into breakout rooms on Zoom to share plans for the week to come

We also have a private channel on Slack, which is basically like a Facebook or LinkedIn group but without the distraction of social media.


How successful has it been?

To my mind, it’s been a big success, because it did exactly what I wanted: it gave me accountability, access to ideas, friendship.

One of the breakthrough moments for me was when, having taken one of the 10 minute slots, I simply asked for advice from one specific member of the group.

After that, I suggested that we all come up with lists of the things we might like to learn from each other. Because while we have much in common, the group includes experts on a range of different things.

To see my own response to questions about things where I happen to have some experience, follow the link in this paragraph.


Best of all

Most of all, I’m pleased to have started this because a network with connections between all participants, not just from the centre or the top, makes everybody stronger.

A network like that doesn’t even need a top, or a centre.

In fact this week I couldn’t make it, and one of the other participants ran the show.

If this GIF baffles you, try this 7 min video


What next?

The group comes to an end in April. I’d like to do it again, or something similar. But I don’t know yet what other participants think about that.

I daresay I’ll post something here when I do.


Download

When I was researching how to create this group, I made some notes, which you can freely download here.

Excuse the spidery handwriting:

How To Run A Mastermind (Whizzy) Group.pdf 0.95 MB

Thank you for reading.

Posted: March 26, 2021

Keywords: mastermind, whizzy, network effect