Five years ago Six Seconds faced a reckoning —
“To reach a Billion People Practicing EQ” we weren’t going to make it as a training & development company. The way forward meant a recommitment to their nonprofit purpose of building community. It meant closing country offices, walking away from 50% of our revenue and re-thinking the direction of the organization entirely.
It was a gigantic risk — that’s working.
Vision as Driver
of Strategic Decisions
“The vision of a billion people practicing emotional intelligence became a criteria for our strategic decisions,” Joshua Freedman, Six Seconds’ CEO says that five years ago, the organizational structure didn’t match the vision. He continues, “One of our board members, Max Ghini, said: ‘To reach a billion people, we need to harness the energy of many, many people.’ This simple idea led us to redesign how we do our work – so that we have “spaces” for many people to participate.” With this clarity, Six Seconds rebuilt itself, expanded its network, intentionally growing roles for people around the world to participate.
Writing on the Wall
Fast-forward to Master Class 2018. Leaders of Six Seconds’ community from 15 countries gathered in Koh Samui for a week-long deep dive on the EQ tools and methods. Seminars, Heart Talks, shared conversations over dinner brought people to a new level of connection. We wish we could have bottled up that fizzy energy into a bottle so we could all share it. On giant papers posted around the walls, we captured thoughts, feelings and actions with colored markers.
To the right are answers to: What are you getting from this work?
Made with Wordle, larger words are more frequent
Evidence of Growth
Five years ago, we were structured as a training company. Though very successful, that structure would never lead to a billion people practicing EQ. So we took the risk to transform – and it’s working.
In the last 5 years, Six Seconds has grown from having 10 partners to over 80, bringing EQ to everyone from CEOs of multinational corporations to schoolchildren in rural Kenya.
Volunteers have grown from a handful to hundreds of Network Leaders hosting quarterly free EQ Cafés so people everywhere can experience the power of EQ.
Practitioners were serving in 25 countries now 174 worldwide.
POP-UP Festival secured a partnership with UNICEF World Children’s Day and exploded into the largest worldwide celebration of children’s rights and emotional intelligence.
This year we transformed our communications to provide more specific content to put EQ into practice, in 4,640,489 customized emails sent in 2018.
Branching Out the Network
Six Seconds is a global network of people practicing emotional intelligence. Each year Six Seconds certifies people to use proven EQ methods and tools to make positive change in their own lives and the lives of others.certified. This “community of practice” is an essential part of the strategy because EQ isn’t just something to “know.” It takes practice, and that takes support; in the community we help each other learn and grow.
Community of Practice
There are many ways to be part of this community, and everyone is invited to apply the Six Seconds principles that make this community work and practice EQ together.
Active Certified are practitioners using the tools and methods in their work and in their lives, making the practice of EQ a part of their daily, or weekly, or monthly work in some way. They have attended a certification course and have kept their certification active by accruing ACE credits. Whether they’re teachers, or trainers, or consultants, or coaches, or managers, or individuals, they’re saying, “I’m going to actively practice and teach these skills.”
Network Leaders are people who have gone through certification, and they’re actively leading groups of people to practice together. They’re building a local community and saying, “In this town, in this city, in this location, I want to build this in-presence community that’s part of this total community.” Every quarter, we publish an EQ Cafe about the quarterly theme, and the Network Leaders host the cafes. It’s an experience where people can come together and practice EQ. In a world where people feel increasingly stressed and disconnected, it can be so refreshing to simply gather together.
Preferred Partners are Active Certified who say, “Not only do I want to use Six Seconds methods and tools in my work, I have some unique methodology or a unique expertise and together with Six Seconds, I want to build something new, blending my expertise with Six Seconds’ tools.” Each Preferred Partner takes their unique expertise along with our tools and methods and creates something new. Take a look around the world at our Preferred Partners working near you.
Regional Network Directors are the leaders putting EQ into action all across the globe. They work with the global office to bring certifications and EQ cafes to practitioners all over the world.
EQ Ambassadors & Advisory Board We invite very active members of our community to become advocates building new alliances as EQ Ambassadors. These leaders are looking for more alliances we can make with organizations so we can multiply Six Seconds’ work around the globe.
Can We have a Billion People at my Party?
“For my 100th birthday,” Anabel joked, “I want a billion people to come celebrate that they are practicing EQ,” and she playfully planted a flag on the Six Seconds timeline for 2039. Anabel Jensen is one of the co-founders and President of Six Seconds.
“At first we joked about a billion people,” said Joshua Freedman. “But over the next year it kept coming up with questions like: ‘If we were going to reach a billion people by 2039, what would we do?’”
The answer became clear, even though it wouldn’t be easy: “We had to recommit to our nonprofit purpose of building community… and transfer the direct delivery of consulting & training to partners.” It would be a huge risk and, for many, a personal sacrifice. Leaders inside the organization had spent more than a decade building profitable consulting businesses. “I thought the mere suggestion of the change would spark a huge controversy,” Freedman says, “but something amazing happened. The vision was so compelling, that everyone bought in.”
That agreement, the clarity that followed, gave a burst of energy for the tough changes needed. Facing moments of fear, judgement and frustration, Six Seconds leaders were able use the alignment of purpose to fuel innovation.
Looking back at the path Six Seconds forged over the last five years, connection to the core mission is essential. “The more clear we are about our vision for the future, the easier it becomes to get others to enroll and lend their support” Freedman adds.
The future looks bright for the next five years with expanded projects around the globe such as this beautiful initiative with the Wangari Maathai Foundation, new tools in development and more partners around the world. We can’t wait to share it all with you.
So let’s head out again next year — on the uphill path (we are building together) to change the world.
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Latest posts by Six Seconds (see all)
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- Research Study: The Journey of Emotional Intelligence and Six Seconds’ Theory of Change - June 18, 2019