an extremely rewarding way to learn, share and grow
One of my 2022 goals was around networking with industry peers. One thing that helped me do this at depth was the Tech Learning Circle of Senior/Staff/Senior Staff individual contributors (ICs) I joined early this year.
A learning circle is a group of folks meeting at a regular cadence to discuss around relevant topics.
The format is pretty straightforward. The group facilitator kicks off the meeting by going around the room asking people what’s on their mind for the week.
After everyone has had a chance to share, we seek consensus on one or two topics we want to deep dive into. The group keeps a list of running topics from previous meetings as well. The facilitator helps "pass the mike around" and takes notes.
After the meeting, notes/links/further readings are emailed out.
Based on the success of our group meetings, I have the following observations:
Small focused circle settings provide an extremely interactive, rewarding learning experience .
It is important to match the group correctly to keeping discussions respectful, comfortable and inclusive.
A facilitator for each quarter helps keep the group engaged, take relevant notes, etc.
Keeping an open option for folks to drop off if they find it does not align and new folks to join when there’s space.
~ 6 seems like a good number to aim for a circle given many sessions will have on an average 3-4 folks show up given schedules of course.
It helps if the group creator can help facilitate the first couple sessions to get the flow in place.
Learning circles need maintenance and some will fade away.
A code of conduct is essential to be agreed upon.
Examples of topics/ themes my circle has discussed
Making time for deep work, managing calendars as you get more senior
Development outside of work - learning new technologies, etc
Onboarding to a new role
How we define (and practice) productivity
Getting feedback from internal customers, crafting surveys, collecting key results
You are not alone with the problems you face and there’s always ways to approach the problems.
Getting to know others perspective and experiences can help you understand the problem statement better.
Finding folks with complementary interests is fun.
This had been a great experience so far and I hope to apply these learnings to help create such circles in the future.
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