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Leadership at the Speed of Life

by Jim Manske, CL Trainer

Recently, our team learned that the priorities had begun to clearly shift for our organizer, Sherri.  She reported to us all during a team meeting that she was ready to move toward building her own business by focusing on her contributions as a Certified Parenting Coach.

Although we received the news with a mixture of feelings, including celebrating Sherri’s contributions to our team and to her future clients as well as sadness at the change of the relationship, we all seemed to connect with the energy of new possibilities that could emerge from this unexpected development.  It was time for Leadership at the Speed of Life, because time was ticking and we had lots of work to do to begin preparing for CL 13, even as we still have five more months of CL12!

All of the big decisions made by the CL team are both needs-based and consent-based.  In other words, when confronted by something new, the process we have developed starts first with searching for and connecting with the life of what is emerging.  Who needs what, right now?

From that place of connection, we move toward forming a picture of what could be, generating ideas and possibilities.  Through an alchemical process of empathy, honesty and deepening self-connection, a proposal emerges designed to contribute to the identified needs.  We work empathically through any need for clarity, tweaking the proposal if necessary.  In the face of any objection, we look for what we could add to the proposal that could address the underlying need(s) of the objector.

Eventually, a clear proposal is framed, and like other requests, we state the next steps in the positive, being as clear, concise and concrete as possible, and moving forward with what can happen, right now.  That can include an agreement for one of us to take a next step.

So, through this consensual process, we invited folks in the CL community to express their interest in the position.  We were pleasantly overwhelmed with the number of responses, and that provided us with a new puzzle.  We wanted to make a decision relatively quickly, and we did not want to take the time to interview all 10 candidates individually, so we decided to have the candidates interview us, especially Sherri.  

In the traditional model of "hiring", the "boss" interviews the "applicant", and the power dynamic is quite clear.  In the model of the world we want to live in,  we interview each other and a dialog follows, evolving into some needs-based requests.

We imagined that such a strategy could address the needs for  connection, clarity, saving the time of answering the same questions over and over, and contributing to learning, and insight from the way candidates interact with the team and one another during the interview.

We consented to try this process,and the magic continued to unfold. One presupposition to this strategy of needs-based and consent-based decision making is that clarity will naturally follow from connection.

Following this “interview”, we invited folks to consider whether or not they imagined themselves to be a fit for our needs.  Most self-selected “out”, learning and connecting clearly that the organizer’s job was no longer  a fit.  A few interested candidates remained, so we still had a puzzle.

Our team met last week and employed a variation of a sociocratic selection process.  Each team member, including Sherri, nominated the person they sensed was most needs-meeting for the position.  An important part of the nomination process is to celebrate the person nominated, connecting and appreciating their strengths.  We asked each team member to write down the nomination before we all shared the nominations with one another.  This way, we could be sure to hear everyone’s voice and to learn as much as possible about what we each thought, felt and needed.

Remarkably, we all nominated the same person.  What a sense of clarity, connection and community!

We formalized the unanimity with a consent round, and feel happy to announce that Carolyn Healy who attended CL10 will be joining us as organizer for CL13 and  will soon be inviting folks to join us for CL13, beginning with a retreat in the Los Angeles area in April of next year!

Welcome Carolyn, to this new role within our community.  We look forward to working together to contribute to growing the CL family. We wish Sherri well on her next steps.  She will remain our organizer for the rest of 2012, through November.



Reader Comments (1)

Feeling delighted at the transparency offered, yet I can't help but wonder about the other candidates who did not get a chance via selection. If their only input /connection was when they interviewed the 'team', I wonder about their feelings/needs. My mind fills with 'having a bad day' or possibly being so thrown by the switch of norm.

Mostly I celebrate the modeling of a sociocracy and refreshing view.


June 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRosa Silver

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