“When you take people deep, everybody is riveted because it is so rare.”
— Tony Robbins, I’m Not Your Guru
“If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”
— R. Buckminster Fuller
Good news. We’re close to launching our business. A couple weeks ago, the team gathered for a retreat to hone our purpose at Bre Pettis’s house overlooking the Hudson River in Crotonville, NY. Here together, we were able to go deep.
Since we first started to explore ideas around guided peer groups a year ago, Circles has been many things to many people. At one point, Matt on our team dubbed it “The Miracle Berry.” Yet what started out as a learning application, has evolved into much more.
We tested and validated how Circles could help people complete courses at a higher rate than they do alone. The format keeps engagement high while in continuous learning. The weight-watchers or AA-style positive peer pressure keeps people on track, week after week. It’s therefore also a valuable community-building tool. Further we identified, it’s a personal development program, it’s a leadership development tool, and it helps learners solve big problems. And if you go back through earlier posts, you’ll see all these facets within Circles.
But with so many benefits, we have struggled to figure out where to focus. I went into the retreat willing to narrow things down. Bre facilitated a discussion around finding a clearer purpose. Long story short, we came to this:
Do you get it?
Test participants have consistently remarked on this idea of going deeper. It is what people are telling us they are thirsty for. And it is what our circles experience has been reliably producing already, even at MVP.
The content tsunami is crowding out our time to connect as humans. Deeper conversations take us to a place where we can do that. It is where you can discover the truth about yourself, reflected through others. Where the masks come off, and you can practice being your best self. It is where you find the satisfaction of helping others, and what happens when others authentically care about your success. It is a rare and special place.
Dave Andrews, CLO of Michelin Corporation, is participating in one of our test circles. He summed up the application for business, “So often I communicate with colleagues across the world with a phone and a PowerPoint. We’re leaving so much on the table.” One of our other test subjects summed up their personal story, “Finally! Networking that is transformational, not transactional.”
Deeper conversation unifies and focuses our learning and networking themes. It is coherent with the research we’ve been doing for the past year. Doug Lynch, our CLO, has pointed out that at least 30% of why people attend corporate training events is to build “Social Capital.” We know, from biz book classics like Never Eat Alone and Love is the Killer App that going deep is the best way to build connection. We know, from a heap of science the powerful role that emotion and reflection plays in effective, lasting rewiring of the brain. I’m excited to share the data we discover on this as Circles reaches interesting scale points.
At Bre’s, everyone on the team went around the table and shared stories of deep conversations that changed our lives. We left energized. It now seems simpler. What if we propagate a tool that fosters deeper conversations in the world?