An update after today’s (1/13) Cultivation meeting:
As commonly happens, I got structure/preparation happy last night when I wrote this topic. We spent the majority of our meeting introducing newcomers to the concepts that make up Community Cultivation and having discussion/questions of that theme.
Some of that included the things brought up in this topic, but it was not the main focus of our meeting.
I now view this topic less as a proposal that needs to be passed or rejected, and more as a transparent record/informational topic about how the power of leadership has played out so far in Cultivation.
I do have a great desire to shape this Trunk and tend the growth of it’s goals and it’s participants. I’d love to continue holding responsibility for our collective understanding of our vision, and for the encouragement/support of the people who make up our Branches, Teams, etc. Something I feel deeply that perhaps wasn’t completely communicated by this topic is that I see leadership and management as two types of contribution I can offer to our growing group and thereby support our ability to make progress on Cultivation work.
We will continue to have conversations as a group who strives to work together, and we will continue to shape what the role(s) of leadership and human management mean to us collectively!
So deeply grateful for all of the beautiful minds adding their effort to this Trunk and its vision.
When one person rows a boat alone, it doesn’t take much time before they’ve figured out the mechanics of the oars and are able to make progress across the lake. When you have two people rowing the boat the coordination takes a bit longer, but it still doesn’t take terribly long before they’re zipping across the lake together. Having three people gets trickier, and takes longer to do that coordination. Perhaps there’s a division of labor; two people row and one person steers with the rudder.
But by the time you have say, 5 or more rowers in the boat, there’s a coordination issue. It becomes much harder to figure out how to get across the lake together. There needs to be a “caller” (technically called a coxswain) who shouts out the rowing rhythm and steers the direction of the boat. In this situation, those who row are temporarily giving up a portion of their autonomy to the caller, agreeing to row to the beat so that everyone can get across the lake together. This giving of autonomy by the rowers and holding of responsibility by the caller is a temporary agreement between them all as they work towards a common outcome; getting across the lake.
If Cultivation is our boat, we’ve got more rowers than ever before. We’ve gone from a team of one (me), to a team of 3 or 4, to the current expansion of interested newcomers we’re experiencing in the Trunk and the Project as a whole right now. So far, I have done my best to be the “Lead” of the Community Cultivation Trunk. Recently, I’ve been expanding my understanding of what it truly means to be a great manager, which has brought me to a better personal understanding of the differences between management of people, and leadership of vision/strategy.
I propose that I step into both of those roles even more intentionally this year (2021), but first I would like to create a clear definition of what it would mean for me to lead the Community Cultivation work we do, and to receive the consent of those I would be working closely with in the coming 6-12 months.
As we push for better distribution of power as a community, I would like to:
- Acknowledge the powers of leadership I’ve held through assumption thus far.
- Create transparency around the kind of power I feel it would be useful for me to wield as the Cultivation Trunk Lead this year.
- Create opportunity for discussion and consent to the leadership definitions and methods described below.
This will be the main topic of discussion in our Cultivation Meeting tomorrow (1/13/21) and I ask that this is read by and encourage feedback from anyone who would like to be committing consistent time to the work Community Cultivation is doing in the next 6-12 months. So whether you come to the meeting, listen to the recording, and/or read this Discourse topic: please get informed and provide your feedback as we gear up this month (January) for our work this year.
The Proposal of Cultivation Leadership and its Abilities
The items listed below are the major points I was able to identify for leadership of the Community Cultivation Trunk; my suggestions for what power/responsibilities I should have and the ways I would intend to exercise them. This will undoubtedly need to be changed or grown even if it is agreed upon this month, and I will commit to being accountable to those shifts as we get the boat across the lake together.
All Major Decisions* will be presented for the group to provide feedback, opinion, and discussion about. LB will commit to making decisions that reflect the Consensus of the Group**. LB will only step in to make a definitive decision when it is clear that (for any reason from disagreement to disinterest) decisions cannot be made by the collective group. LB will only Veto*** consensus of the group if that consensus contradicts or interferes with the mission, values, standards, or strategy of SourceCred as a whole.
The decision of our outcomes/goals for 2021 will be decided by the consensus of the group. (First order after consent to leadership.)
LB will be responsible for making sure that the Cultivation Trunk and Branches have clearly defined Outcomes**** and support the participants in being Accountable***** to those outcomes within the defined time periods. LB will make space for the participants to shape what outcomes are important to the collective group as we strive to improve SourceCred together. LB will ensure that outcomes chosen by the participants support the mission, values, standards, strategy, and needs of the Cultivation Trunk.
LB will hold these responsibilities and abilities for the duration of 2021. After which this proposal will be reviewed and revised or replaced by a new system of leadership in January 2022.
Together, the Cultivation participants will decide on the outcomes/goals for our work in 2021 and the most basic standards to which we will hold our work for the sake of accuracy, safety, and relevance to our overall community. LB will ratify/green-light work according to these goals and standards, and block/hold accountable any work that does not meet these standards.
Some Suggested Basic Standards of Cultivation Work:
- The outcome of your work solves a specific and relevant problem for the community.
- The work and outcomes don’t contradict or violate our community mission or values or Code of Conduct. (<–note that these have not yet been concretely defined yet.)
- The work and outcomes are transparent and accessible enough for at least another Cultivation participant to follow, but preferably transparent/accessible even to a lay-person. (The potential exception here may be intimate conflict resolution work, which will still need to be recorded and accessible, but may omit some details to protect those needing conflict resolution.)
- The work and outcomes are accurate.
*Major Decisions - Decisions that effect the direction/goals/mission/problems/outcomes which the Cultivation Trunk as a whole will need to focus on. Aka Trunk-wide decisions.
**Consensus of the Group - A general agreement/opinion from the Cultivation participants who are consistently present to and understand the work being done in Cultivation.
****Veto - Vetos will only be used to block a decision if it does not support the overall mission/values/strategy/outcomes of Cultivation or SourceCred. Vetoed decisions will require additional input and discussion with participants outside of the immediate group or Cultivation.
*****Outcomes - The declared or actualized results of our work/contributions.
***Accountable - Defining outcomes with clarity and following through on them, or changing the plan when that’s not possible. If an individual cannot (for any reason) follow through on their set outcomes, the leadership will find ways to support around roadblocks, weaknesses, non-talents, etc with the help of human management. If (for any reason) follow-through cannot be achieved even after support; leadership will find other participants to make sure outcomes are delivered, or will redefine the outcomes set.
This is a proposal to make explicit and consentual many of the assumptions I (and perhaps others) have been making about leadership within the Community Cultivation Trunk as a whole. This will be the topic of tomorrow’s (1/13/21) Community Cultivation Meeting where I hope to explain these thoughts to those most interested in being major participants in our Trunk’s work. We will take a voice recording, and will take Roam notes during the meeting for anyone who cannot be present and link them in this Discourse topic.
If after discussion and questions there is significant pushback to the proposal described above, we will schedule additional conversations to work through the disagreements, feedback, or suggestions until an agreement about Cultivation leadership can be found.
If no one cares at all, we’ll move forward with this proposal for leadership.
If participants of tomorrows meeting need more time to think about this proposal, we will reconvene to discuss and make decisions at the Cultivation Meeting the following week. The expectation would be that participants will read and evaluate this proposal during that intervening time.
If after questions, discussion, and (as needed) modification tomorrow there is consensus/consent from the participants present at the meeting, we will move forward with this agreement softly.
Even after this proposal has been agreed upon, we’ll hold the intention that in January major disputes with this proposal/agreement can be brought up and will be taken into account. After January, we will only make changes to this agreement if it turns out to be ineffective or be causing harm to anyone participating. At which point we will give much priority to addressing those leadership-related issues.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and provide your feedback.