From living in the Kibbutz, surrounded by a circle of people, to a startup that creates circles of support for others - Irad is an extraordinary serial social & tech entrepreneur, named by the World Economic Forum’s “Social Entrepreneur of the Year”.
Irad’s mom coped with cancer for 7 years. He spent a lot of time with her during that period. But despite his help and efforts, his mom said that he couldn't understand what she’s going through, and she felt lonely. It was only when he overheard her speaking with a friend who is going through the same thing - she sounded happy as she finally felt understood.
When Irad coped with her loss - his siblings were the closest people to share it with.
It was then clear to him that people need to feel belonged.
Nowadays - loneliness is something that everyone is dealing with. Being part of a quality group of people, who share similar experiences - is the thing that fills the emptiness so many people are suffering from.
So what’s the story of groups?
Groups are all around us - in the family, with peers, through shared experiences (e.g - IDF units). Groups enable us to feel:
Groups should enable a psychological safety and hence there are 3 main components for a group:
Few things that impact the group dynamic that you may never think about -
one should also take into consideration the privacy setting of a group (both physically and in-person or digitally).
Think of an early-stage startup as a group
When it grows - think of the various groups within the startup - leadership team, product group, marketing, finance, etc. Think of the support potential each startup has uniquely due to its specific characteristics, and use it as a growth engine.
Co-founders, which are in fact a group, have basic fundamental needs - to be seen & heard. And as we all know - it’s not always coming to fruition.
Irad shares the behind-the-scenes of his relationship with his co-founder - Dan Landa, and how they have stopped listening to each other at one point. How afraid he was of the 'snowball effect’, as problems don’t go away by themself. “It was all too much… We started to go to a couple’s therapy… We started talking again. I suddenly felt relieved”.
Irad describes how he uses the method of sharing in groups for the Circles Team - every weekly meeting is opened with a question followed by the answers of the whole Team - a practice that enables an open & warm atmosphere and builds the company’s culture in the right direction.
One of the techniques I teach the founders I work with - is the Brief Communication method (G.B.L) (do you remember the briefs from the advertisement agencies?), that helps keep effective communication channels, effective meetings, and get things moving. It should include the following:
People avoid sharing when something is wrong with them. It’s hard to share when this is “bad news”, cause it makes people feel like they are broken. But, we see it the other way around. Strong people share. Strong people talk about it. And strong people care. Strong people know that sharing is an act of strength not weakness. And people who share - are not broken and there’s nothing to be fixed. On the contrary - they want to improve and grow. Here’s a good tip - next time you are coping with something - share it with just 4 people. Most of the possible reactions will happen then. That’s it - you did it, and nothing happened. Maybe, just maybe, you will also feel comforted by those reactions, stronger, more positive and with an open heart for what comes next.
So remember this hashtag, and share.
Prior to Circles, Irad founded and still serves as a board member at “Shekulo Tov” - an NGO with the mission of including people with disabilities in organizations and making them feel they belong. He won the UN award for this amazing activity.