Standing outside the circle

Facilitating really productive group discussions is an art.

If you do them enough, you will begin to notice that there is often one person standing outside the circle.

Why is that?

Well, it turns out that we are making the wrong assumptions about what is actually happening.

Because the story we tell ourselves is…

She doesn’t care.

She’s thinks she’s too good for this group.

She’s always quiet.

This is just noise in our head.

To get rid of it for next time (and make you a better facilitator), it helps to go test it. So, once the discussion is over ask the person what they were thinking.

What you’ll be surprised to discover is that their noise is always different than your noise. That in fact, our noise is irrelevant. Completely irrelevant to what is going on.

What happens is we often misinterpret the signals others are sending. And we let our biases get in the way.

Subsequently, we build the wrong narrative about people who sit outside the circle.

Your style can get better

The Nose on El Capitan rises 2,900 vertical feet off the ground. To put that in perspective, that is over a half of mile of rock climbing.

The Nose was first climbed in 1958 by Warren Harding, Wayne Merry and George Whitmore in 47 days using siege tactics. Basically, they would hit their high point and come back down each day until they reached the top.

Two years later, the second ascent by Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt and Tom Frost was one continuous push that took seven days. A vast improvement on the style beforehand.

It wasn’t until 1993, when the legendary Lynn Hill would become the first person to free climb (climbing without pulling on gear) The Nose in just four days. She returned a year later and climbed it in a day.

This year, Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold broke the speed record by climbing the route in 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Style gets better as time goes on. When you’re a pioneer, when you’re setting the standard for the rest of us, it might not be pretty. With time, however, you can improve the standard, you can raise the bar.

Revolutions destroy the unimaginable and unlock the impossible. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about climbing revolutions or cultural ones. Forward, we can improve on the matter of how things are done.

Interchangeable parts led to interchangeable people

In 1765, a French General named John-Baptise Gribeauval was obsessed with streamlining the process of repairing guns. The idea was if you could switch out different parts of a musket seamlessly, you could keep costs down.

Thomas Jefferson observed what was happening with Gribeauval and came back to the US advocating for an interchangeable parts system.

Fast forward to the turn of the 20th century, Henry Ford began to perfect this system of automation with the assembly line.

As a result, instead of hiring workers at $1.50 per day, Henry Ford was able to hire his people on $5 per day—making us all extremely rich. And for a while, it worked, until it didn’t.

The problem with building a system on interchangeable parts is that it eventually led to interchangeable people. Factory owners began to have the edge and could hire the lowest skilled workers to get a job done.

Every day, this system of interchangeable parts and people becomes more and more automated. While this frightens many individuals, there’s also this door that is opening.

Just like 200 years ago, when we left the farm for the factory, we now have more time on our hands to do work that matters. We don’t need to focus on plowing a field or fetch water from a well to quench our thirst. We now don’t need to focus on spreadsheets. We can focus on helping people that need our help or make something that needs to be made.

We are at the doorstep of something great and something daring. Again.

The question is: What are you going to do when it’s your turn?

What is Goliath afraid of?

Everyone is afraid to stand up against Goliath.

But I am also convinced that Goliath is afraid of us too.

That’s why the record industry went out of their way to sue small time torrent downloaders and why Wal-Mart undercuts everyone around them.

Someone, eventually, knocks Goliath down. We are just waiting for you to show up.

Real power is not what you can bench, but your capacity to do.