Yesterday, as you may know, I announced the With Intention Seven Habits Book Club. And while it was great to see the excitement about the book club from many readers, several of which signed up right away, there was one comment that got me thinking.
The reader mentioned that she was surprised by the $30 price associated with the three month online book club.
In all honesty, while creating the book club concept I felt that the three month “coaching light” experience would be a huge value at $10 per month. I had planned for this book club to be a mix of discussion and personal guidance through The Seven Habits. I also felt it was a natural extension of my career and expertise.
Further, I loved that I could serve people in a group experience anywhere in the world. I get a lot of emails from readers in Australia, Iceland, the UK, and Canada asking me to visit their cities and countries for workshops. However, the demand is not yet at the point where that would be financially feasible.
So as you can imagine, I was a bit surprised by the feedback. But I then spent some time thinking about where this sentiment was coming from and the fact that others may have felt misled by the title “book club” as well.
Book clubs are usually free and are less involved than how I planned to execute the group. And thus, there was a disconnect between where I was coming from and how it was received by others.
At that point, I had a decision to make: what do I do now that I am aware of this disconnect?
As it turns out, I took a page out of Mr. Covey’s own book (okay, not The Seven Habits itself, but another piece of his writing).
“I believe leadership lies more in character than in technical competence, but these two are interwoven. As people grow in competence they gain awareness of a new dimension of the character. Then, as they begin to develop that aspect of their character, they find that their competence also increases. For instance, when we trace the skill of empathic listening—in other words, Habit 5—people see that they’d always looked at things from their own frame of reference, and the start to explore the richness of other people’s perspective. As they get better at listening, they gather more information, and realize they’ve always lived with an insufficiency of data. Applying that learning to their personal and professional lives is exciting. People say, “Now I really know why to listen, instead of just how.” So these two—the why of the character and the how of competence—feed one another.” – Stephen Covey
Rather than just forge ahead with things as originally planned, I looked for a win-win (Habit 4 in The Seven Habits). How could I accomplish what I wanted: to help people as an extension of my consulting practice, and at the same time recognize the displeasure some people may have about a book club fee.
After a fair amount of contemplation, I realized that I could offer the club at a “pay what you like” fee where people could determine the value for themselves. But then Mr. Lively took it full circle and suggested that I donate the proceeds of the club to a charity instead.
A true win-win. Yes, I believe there is great value in the private group led discussion, prompts, and my time and feedback for three whole months. I believe that $30 is a fair rate for that investment. Meanwhile I can let others pay what they feel is appropriate for this service.
But ultimately I can use these resources to serve others who do not have access to my services at all.
So regardless of what people feel like paying (or not paying) I will be donating the money to Charity: Water, a non-profit bringing water to people in developing nations.
Though this may seem like a silly business move or somehow “weak,” I truly believe this is a powerful decision. It allows me to stay true to my intention to serve in 2013. And though my ego might fret and worry about “how I’m losing profit for my business,” my intuition tells me this is the best thing I can do for myself, my clients, my company, and those who need clean drinking water.
So as you will see on the book club page, the money you offer to be in the book club will be donated directly to Charity: Water in a lump sum on the first day of the book club. I hope that you contribute what you believe this service is worth. And if you feel this should strictly be a free service, you can join that way as well.
Thank you for your support and I look forward to serving you and seeing you in the book club!