Continuing Conversations

Often I have a conversation with someone, and afterwards there is follow-up to be done, sharing more ideas and links. I could write a personal email, but it makes more sense to write most of it here, for anyone to read. I can send a personal email that points to the “Continuing Conversation”


My answers ref: Before I Die


These are questions Olivia asked me at a Before I Die Network meeting.

We didn’t record it.

The answers might have gone this way (based on the time allocations she had in mind for the questions).

Olivia

What are you passionate about working towards at the moment?

Pamela

I’m working with David Bovill on something called FEAST.

F E A S T is about Food, Environment, Art, Speech and Tuning-in-to-the-radio. It’s about sharing our own local experience with local experience in other places. We’re doing that by having local events and twinning local radio stations in different places.

Right now I’m working on a radio programme that brings in people who are doing amazing projects in Nigeria and Ethiopia.
And for me it’s not just about the content it’s about the long term vision – and combining different elements of communication technologies in new ways and bringing  people together.

On top of that it ties in with a chapter I wrote recently for a book about possible futures.

In my chapter there is a fictional celebration set in 2027. Exactly what we’re celebrating is explained in the chapter – but what delighted me about FEAST is that it’s got all the elements I need for my future event – but in their 2017 versions. So working with David on FEAST in 2017 is part of  making my story of 2027 into fact instead of fiction.

Olivia

You’ve set up a charity, Dadamac Foundation, written about the future of digital communities, worked to create more collaborative and value-led communities through technology…

What do you think is the common thread/theme to what you’ve been working on?

Pamela

It’s related to an idea that I picked up when I was doing an Open University course many years ago – and it’s about using digital technologies to make the kind of world I want to live in.

I went on this course way back before mobile phones, or laptops, or the Internet as we know it today. The course was about computers and people.

The amazing idea was that digital technologies (which we called “computer power”) would change almost everything about the way we would live our lives – and I’ve  seen that become true – although we’re still in the very early stages.

I was taught that this world was so new that we could shape it – not just as end users but as designers and influencers.

Back when I started exploring digital technologies we had stand-alone microcomputers with very small memories, and people like me learnt to write our own programs, so we could  make the computers do what we wanted them to do. I was lucky that I was also influenced by Professor Max Clowes who introduced me to more powerful computers as well, and to Artificial Intelligence.

Things changed as the personal computers got more powerful and came with all kinds of capabilities built in so most people just became users. Perhaps in a way things are changing back a bit now with mobile phones and more people writing apps – which is something David teaches people to do. I don’t know.

The idea that links all my work is a curiosity and exploration of what it means to live with this new power. I’m intrigued by the implication of living at this point in time –  a time when digital technologies are dramatically changing so many aspects of our world and how we can relate to it and to each other. Human beings have never lived in this kind of world before. We all need to decide if we’ll play our part in shaping it, or if we’ll just leave it to other people and hope we’ll like what they’ll do. Personally I prefer to help shape it.

Olivia

What’s the ultimate vision for that? (Since you wrote a chapter about 10 years into the future – what’s your bold / audacious vision for what will have changed in the world for the better in 10 years?)

Pamela

The most interesting changes I think will be changes in how “most people” think. There will still be people who cling onto outmoded thinking norms of the early years of the 21st century, and some extreme versions of them, but they will be the minority. The full reality of living in a connected world will finally have permeated people’s imaginations.

We’ll also be responding to other huge technological changes.

There are lots of ideas that are around now that seem bizarre to many people, but will be mainstream in another ten years.

I could point you to all kinds of work relating to big shifts in how things will be different – not for utopian reasons, but simply because of old ways crumbling and not being fit for purpose. Things will change because there will be such a mismatch between the old ways of doing things and the new ways that are shaped by the tech that will underpin how everything is done in future.

Information will be much faster flowing, more informative, and “natural” to interact with than it is today thanks to artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and all the rest. We’ll be as comfortable interacting with people we’ve never “really” met, as we are with our face-to-face contacts, and we’ll know much more than we are able to know now.

In that kind of world, relationships are either ultra-local (easy to meet up face-to-face) or ‘beyond local’ – which means people who are anywhere in the world where you’re more likely to connect virtually than face-to-face. Virtual locations may only be a couple of hours “local journey” away, or they may be the other side of the world. On a day-to-day basis there’s not much difference.

This experience of connectedness changes our sense of identity and “local belonging” and our personal place in the world. It’s ultra-local then globally scattered.  People are people, and we get to connect with each other far more than before. This genuine personal connectedness makes a nonsense of many of our previous ideas of identity, and separation from “others” – national boundaries and so forth.

Many “realities and perceptions” will change. It’s hard to explain any of the many mind-shifts without having first had time to explain the interrelated technological, financial and social shifts surrounding them – but from my view point they are positive

Olivia

Where do you think that vision started for you?

Pamela

There was a book called “Technology versus Humanity” by Gerd Leonhard – which built on my long-standing fascination with the relationship between digital technologies and people.

He outlines the rate of technological change and the scary fact that “technology has no ethics”. But people do have ethics – so I started to wonder what the world would look like if we started to concentrate on becoming better at the things that computers aren’t so good at like ethics, and genuine empathy and creativity.

He’s not the only influence. I could give you a long list of the people who have influenced my thinking over the years, and the inter-related topics that have been covered – but it would just sound like a list of set books, and meetup groups, and names of friends, and it wouldn’t convey the ideas themselves so I won’t do that.

I’ve been obsessively interested in this stuff for years, I’ve done lots of innovative practical work, learned from people who are creative and original thinkers and doers, and I’ve reflected deeply on what I’ve seen and experienced. It’s all interconnected and it feeds into the vision.

Olivia

What would you like your role to be in contributing towards that vision?

Pamela

That’s a much easier one to answer. It’s to help people to mould the future, for themselves and for others.

My role is to find people who have a sense of the deep changes that are happening, who are attuned to the pre-shocks of the disconnect that is coming between the present-and-past and the-present-and-future and then help them. Some of them feel the disconnect, but don’t know what it is. They think it’s just that they are in the wrong job, or something like that. Often they are dissatisfied or confused and think it is “their fault”. They don’t see it in the context of the deeper systemic changes and of their transition into this totally unknown future.

I can help them to see their present from the view-point of the future I see, so they can make decisions in the light of arriving safely in that future. Other futures are of course available, and some are grim. Personally I prefer to walk in the direction of the one I describe in my “Exponentially Human” chapter – and help others to head that way and co-create it.

Olivia

So – we’ve talked about the ultimate goal. Tell me about some of the key highlights / turning points / obstacles you’ve overcome so far on that journey. (What scenes would make it into the film of your story so far?)

Pamela

That’s a very “Before I Die Network” question – like when you ask us to imagine getting a Nobel prize and we have to take turns saying why we’ve won it.  So – a film….

I suppose visually it would be interesting to see the development of the technology so we’d go back to the early days of programming my Exidy Sorcerer and using it with the infants I was teaching. That was down in Cornwall so we could linger on some stunning scenery as well.

Then probably we’d jump to the start of my African involvement, so you’d see me with my friend Agnita and her Nigerian husband Peter, and their children in London. You’d see Agnita and Peter and me doing various things for his “Oke-Ogun Community Development Agenda 2000 Plus” project. Then you’d see Peter leaving for Nigeria with all the equipment he was taking out there.

We couldn’t ignore the terrible time when I got the email saying he’d been killed, and I had to go round and tell Agnita.

Then it would be me on the way to Nigeria to represent Agnita and the children at his funeral, and during my time there we’d see some of the people who were to play key roles in the continuation of his work.

My shift from full time work to supply teaching (which was “challenging”) was noteworthy. It makes the point about the tension between paying the bills and giving time to the work you believe is important – work that doesn’t “tick the boxes” for external funding.

There were various adventures during my working holidays in Nigeria, Zambia and Kenya over the years – visually interesting – but to be honest they weren’t the most important part of the story. The important parts were always the relationships I was forming, the way my assumptions were being challenged, and the insights I was gaining. Both the Oke-Ogun project and  Fantsuam Foundation would feature strongly.

The UK side included work I did with Lorraine Duff and then Nikki Fishman that enabled some useful UK-Africa collaborative initiatives, including the launch of “Peoples-uni” with Lorraine Duff, Omo Oaiya and Professor Dick Heller, and what Nikki and Dil Green are now doing for DadaMac. The outcomes were good – but I’m no screen-writer and visually I don’t know what “scenes” there would be to show.

Much of the work has been where there is a need for communication and connection but the tech isn’t sufficiently developed to make it happen, or the cultural differences make for gaps in understanding. Then we do work-arounds to make up for what is missing. That is very  “time-intensive, human work” – some if it could be done better by developments in “the communications technology” and some of is it, and always will be, all about the human relationships.

Most of the story is about painstakingly developing ways to work effectively at a distance – based on what I was learning about the reality on the African side. The other side of it was recognising the communication gaps between on-the-ground projects and the “establishment” of “International Development” – big NGOs, universities, politicians etc. There are also perception gaps between interests in “technology as development” and “technology for development” (I wasted most of 2008 because of not recognising that).

So lots of learning curves, and going down blind alleys. Lots of going to free meetings in London, and joining online groups. Lots of one-to-one typed communications with people I know and respect but seldom if ever meet face-to-face.

Most of what I’ve done is visually boring. It’s months and years of hour-after-hour and day-after-day working somewhat obsessively, often in physical isolation.

But all the time there has been the experience of pushing the boundaries of communication – and experiencing a very real new kind of “community” – because of the ways we could overcome barriers of distance, and culture.

My work has always been different because of the way it has been built on relationships, and the need to keep communicating despite distance, and not giving up despite that fact that the internet only provided part of the solution. It was never just the easy stuff of communicating where the Internet existed, or staying in my own cultural silo.

Perhaps that is what makes my work special, and gives it a futuristic feel. It’s because of this imperative to communicate, a sense of people drawn together in order to rub-minds, and share our very different perspectives and resources, because of a shared purpose.

I hadn’t thought of that before – but it is having a shared purpose that connects people despite differences, and this is what will be the world changer – when we finally realise that we do all have a shared purpose (which is about enabling humanity to continue to thrive on the one and only planet we have).

In my UK-Africa and Internet work it’s like being on a journey together where we all bring something different and the differences give us our strength – when we manage to overcame the challenges that such differences and “distances” throw up.

Years of experience of working in the “online space” with mixed communities and shared purpose has shaped my thinking of how it is, and could be, to live in a more effectively interconnected world. What I’ve written in Exponenentially Human, and what I’m doing within FEAST make those ideas and realities accessible to a wider audience.

Olivia

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of that journey? (or what 3 lessons or reflections have you learnt that could help people at the start of similar journeys?)

Pamela

One is about organising time.

I don’t always do it, but I’m glad I have it as a possibility. It’s a combination of “The Holacracy of One” approach and the Pomodoro Technique. But you’ll need to look them up, as they take quite a bit of explaining.

The second thing is about seeing we have two ears and one mouth – and taking that as a reminder to try to listen more than we talk – and to really listen, not just take a turn at being quiet while our minds wander elsewhere. This is like a lot of good advice I pass on – I have considerable difficulty doing it myself.

The third thing is about seeing things from other points of view. (The u.lab MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) on Transforming Business, Society, and Self is good for addressing that.)

This excellent, important and often illusive skill is illustrated in a cartoon where two people are sitting at opposite sides of a table looking at a card with a number on it. To one person it looks like a 9, to the other it looks like a 6.

I love the caption. It says “Just because you’re right doesn’t mean that I’m wrong” and of course its equally true the other way round – and we’d avoid so many arguments and and worse if only we could remember that.

Apr 24, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , , ,


Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 4 – conversation with Care-giver


In Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 3 – the collaborator’s list my Whole Self (WS) was looking at the list that Role 2 had prepared. It was long. The conversation finished with W S saying:

Hmm.  I’m not at all sure I can allow all those. You’re not the only Role in my life you know. I think Caregiver will have something to say if I agree to support all that you want to do.

And I did say that I want to try for four roles this time around, like George has.

We’ll have to come back to this list and knock it into better shape. Try and have a think about it before we meet again.Meanwhile – I think we deserve a break. Time for another cuppa.

While I was out in the kitchen getting the cuppa who did I bump into but Care-giver (CG), who asked how I was getting on.

She suggested taking a break together, so here we are sitting down with a cuppa and having a chat:

CG – So how’s it going?

WS – You tell me!

You’re the one who is supposed to have the sensible, balanced, approach – the one who provides the “tea and sympathy” and generally keeps things tidy and healthy and sane around here.

I nearly got you properly written up when I was doing roles the first time around, back in 2105.  I’ve mentioned your purpose once already today: “Care-giver” a catch-all role that covers my personal-and-private life and also spills over into my Working-and-public life.

I even got as far as filling in a couple of “Accountabilities” for you:

  • Decluttering and reorganising my home to reflect and allow changing use
  • Giving careful attention in various ways depending on person/people involved

And I started on the “Projects (Fields of Exploration):

  • Home
  • Various personal relationships
  • Personal development and nurturing

You seemed so valuable that I reinstated you without even thinking about it. I didn’t even call you in for interview.

CG – Hmm!

” ‘Twas ever thus.”

WS – Okay. You got me there. I admit I do tend to sideline you.

Hmm.

You know the history of that quote… and, although it’s very different now to how it was back then it still hits home on so many levels…

Back then…

All those heart-wrenching, heaven-knows-how-we-manage-things-this-time, conversations over a cuppa with my next- door neighbour…

That’s along time ago. Two young mums with tough challenges to cope with..

It’s sobering to stop and realise just how hard things were then, and how the challenges have changed.

It’s easier now in many ways… so many differences and yet so much the same…

Here I am, down to the final third of the cup of tea and … out pops the quote from you, and it hits me like a completely fresh revelation. It always did. You’re right – ’twas ever thus – and on so many different levels.

What is it about getting to that final third of the cupful? Or is it just that I habitually stop two-thirds of the way through?

That’s when “it” always happened before. Back then.. the “two thirds through” was always the point when one or other of us would  realise that the problem wasn’t unique. It had come before, and it would come again (not with exactly the same details, but with a recognisable pattern) and somehow there was strength in that realisation. Knowing that we’d been both “been here before” (and so had countless others before us)… always with a challenge that seemed as new, and unique and impossible as the present one. Yet…somehow we were still here, and the impossible challenges of the past had been met… and had faded into a general memory of “getting on with things” and working them out somehow.

There we would be together: one of us overwhelmed by a problem and pouring it all out, the other listening, asking questions…. neither knowing how to resolve things, just sharing a cuppa , either at her kitchen table or mine. Well it wasn’t a proper “cup o’ tea” cuppa with us then, it was instant coffee but even so…

Anyhow, remembering those times, and the value of that friendship…

And the pattern..

Every time, we’d get to a point where one us would suddenly realise and say the words  – ’twas ever thus!

And we’d take comfort from the realisation, and lo and behold – a third of a cupful of tepid coffee would be sitting in my cup, waiting to be drunk. So I’d quickly finish it, (and I think she was finishing hers too) and then we’d go on our separate ways to “get on with things” as best we could, with a bit more confidence, courage, and clarity.

And now, after all those years you’ve given me another ” ‘Twas ever thus” moment,  and once again it took me by surprise.

You’re right of course.

CG – In what way?

WS – ” ‘Twas ever thus”

And in this context the “ever thus” is that I know you’re valuable – but I never pay you any attention.

Actually I don’t pay much attention to me either. There’s a reason why I often remember the fridge magnet that said “Take my advice – I’m not using it!”

Let’s revisit the start of this conversation.

I said “You seemed so valuable that I reinstated you without even thinking about it. I didn’t even call you in for interview” and you said, rather pointedly ” ‘Twas ever thus”..

So then I realised that I do tend to sideline you, and maybe we should have that conversation together to work out your role.

CG – I think we both know pretty well what it is.

It won’t be as long or difficult to define as the other roles… but it would make a lot of sense to stop and consider my role again.

WS – Okay, Where do you want to start?

CG – Well.

It’s getting late, and you haven’t eaten what I’d call “a proper meal” yet today – and I would like to see you in bed and asleep before midnight for a change. What if we agree to postpone going over the details of my role for now and jump to the part of the interview that is supposed to come after that?

WS – You mean the bit where I ask you if you want to keep your role name, or if you want to change it?

CG – That bit’s easy. I’ll stick with Care Giver. Do you remember what comes after that?

WS – Erm..

Oh yes.

Okay.

You’ve got me digging a hole for myself to fall in here haven’t you?

The next bit is where I agree that you have a valuable role to play in my life..

CG – And then?

WS – And then I ask you what you need from me so that you can play that role.

CG – Exactly so… and what would my answer be?

WS – Well. It would be along the lines of…

“If I’m to fulfil my role then I need to be given some time to do it” and “You need to make some space in your life for me if you want me to play a role”.

CG – Exactly.

How can I be your Care-Giver if you never take any notice of me?

We’re supposed to be a team, you and me.

No wonder you have trouble working out who else you (or is it “we”?) want to include on the team if you can’t even find time to stop and have a chat with me now and again.

WS – How do you mange to say that so calmly and unaggressively?

Were you watching that “Non-violent conflict resolution webinar over my shoulder while I was getting dressed this morning?

CG – Enough of your digressions.

What did I say about food and sleep?

WS – Okay.

So – let’s agree what we’ll do next time we sit down together.

Let’s check my diary. We can at least fix a time before we go our separate ways.

Thing is I haven’t sorted out my roles yet, and until I do that it’s really hard to set my priorities.

I thought I’d get the role thing finished today… but everything seems to take longer that I expect.

And then there are the emails I meant to do today.

And there is something else I need to follow up. Someone suggested to someone else that I could usefully help them – and I do want to help if I can.

You of all roles C-G should understand how I feel about that.

A couple of messages about it flitted across my phone screen when I was coming home on the train last week – probably last Tuesday. I tried to follow up over the weekend but I can’t find the messages. I thought I must have seen them on FaceBook, but I can’t find them anywhere. I don’t want to just ignore what was suggested – but i can’t respond. I just wish I knew where to find the conversation.

CG – You’re digressing again.

How’s this for a compromise?

No more discussion of roles just now. You come with me, and we’ll get something to eat, While we do that we can “rub minds” for a bit in a “no pressure” way, or not, as the mood takes us.

We’ve agreed my name and purpose – and you have agreed that you have to give me some time. I’ll be back to remind you of that.

Come on. I’ll help you to tidy this away…

 

 

Feb 28, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , , ,


Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 3 – the collaborator’s list


In Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 1 Whole Self (WS) said to Role 1 (R1) the Compulsive Collaborator:

Okay. I’m interested. And I recognise a lot of overlap with things I value in the previous/present roles in my life

I need to know what help you’d need from me if I give you a place in my future life. I like the idea of going forward with you but will you be too demanding? Can we get along well together?

Why don’t you go and make a list of the collaborations you are currently involved in, and what you want to do, and we can consider what I can realistically support.

Presenting the list

R1 – I’ve done a quick list, if you’d like to see it and talk it through.

The list was made as things came to mind, and arranged alphabetically for ease of reference. These are all things that are relevant in my life at the moment.

WS – Are they all equally demanding on your time?

R2 – No.

Some of the collaborations are currently active and energetic, some are more or less “on hold”, but if they “came alive” through someone else adding energy I’d try to add some energy as well.

One is bubbling away and full of energy at the moment (that’s FEAST). I did break that one down into smaller collaborative groups, reflecting the way it’s working online at present, but that seemed too detailed for this list.

WS – What about you and your roles in the collaborations?

R2 – That varies.

Some of the collaborations would not exist without me, because of the way I was there when they began. In others I’m on the fringes, but glad to be there, and aware of the potential. I don’t want to forget them completely in my list.

Some are extremely new and may be too fresh and fragile to count as “collaborations” – but that rather depends on how you define a collaboration. In this context a collaboration is two or more people who come together to do some kind of work. It might be paid or unpaid and is probably more closely related to “social” value (in a very broad sense) than it is to immediately obvious financial value.

I’ve stretched the boundaries a bit. I’ve allowed myself to include the idea that going somewhere to exchange information and learn from each other is also a social good, and a kind of peer-to-peer collaboration, so can be included here.

  • Dadamac Foundation
  • Escape School
  • Exponentially Human
  • FASST
  • FEAST
  • Facebook groups where we help/support/learn from each other
  • Federated Wiki
  • GlobalNet21
  • Hub Westminster
  • London Enspiral
  • Meetups – various
  • OneShift
  • Project for a Progressive Ethics
  • Research-Practitioner collaborations
  • RSA Fellowship
  • Skype – buddying/support/learning sessions
  • Tuttle
  • Teal for Startups (T4S)
  • u.lab continuation group on Zoom
  • And a few others – but I ran out of time….

WS – Hmm.  I’m not at all sure I can allow all those. You’re not the only Role in my life you know. I think Caregiver will have something to say if I agree to support all that you want to do.

And I did say that I want to try for four roles this time around, like George has.

We’ll have to come back to this list and knock it into better shape. Try and have a think about it before we meet again.

Meanwhile – I think we deserve a break. Time for another cuppa.

Feb 28, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , ,


Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 2


Okay – so ref Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 1

I’ve had the cuppa and I’m back.

Time for Whole Self (WS) to call in Role 2 (R2). So… .

Calling in Role 2 – the Practical Innovator

WS – Come on in R2 and introduce yourself. What shall I call you?

R2 – For now call me Practical Innovator

WS – What do you do?

R2 – That’s not easy to describe.

I could say something about innovation, and practical problems and making prototype solutions, but that sounds too general to have any meaning. It also covers lots of things I don’t do.

I could give examples of what I’ve done in the past, and maybe we could pull out some kind of tidy description together, see what the connecting threads are.

WS – Hmm. Let’s come at this from a different angle

Why do you do this “practical innovator” stuff? What good is it to anyone?

R2 – Why do I do it?

Because “something” (some kind of challenge, or problem, or idea) has kind of “called out to me”, and once my curiosity and creativity are aroused then I’m hooked on finding a solution. I have to see “it” more clearly, what the “challenge” is, if it can be tackled, and how that can be done, and what the tricky bits are and how I could overcome them. I have to  investigate, and look at “it”from other perspectives, and I just have to keep prodding and poking at it and seeing how “it” could be done, until I’ve found a practical solution that I can see will work.

WS – And do you find solutions?

R2 – It depends what you mean by finding solutions.

I do find solutions, and I demonstrate that they work, but then I’m not sure what to do with the solutions, to make them more generally available.

WS – Hmm. This all sound rather unsatisfactory – not much good at all.

You can’t explain yourself. You can’t justify yourself.

I don’t even know if it’s worth while asking you to go away and write a list of what you’ve done, especially if you’ll need my help in making sense of it.

I really am very busy you know.

Why should I make space for you in my life? And – Oh for heaven sake R2 – now what’s the matter with you? This is no way to behave in an interview. Stop snuffling.

R2 – (with tears starting to flow)

You can’t throw me out WS.

If you throw me out I have no-where else to go …

And you will miss me….

You will miss me so intensely that..

You will be sorry…

You will be sorry…  very, very sorry If you throw me out

Excuse me. I have to go and find some tissues.

But think about it WS. I am the expression of your creative and curious self.

I have no-where to live except in you, and if you throw me out you will be nothing.. nothing..

How can you be anything without your curiosity, and without the creative expression of where it leads – you will be….you will be… as good as dead.

WS – Oh for heavens sake R2 – come back later when you’re being less of a drama queen and more coherent.

Go and blow your nose, and have a nice cup of tea, and we’ll see what we can do about this later.

Observations

This seems to be taking on a life of its own.

I didn’t know what “category” to choose for the first post, but now there are two it can be a “continuing conversation” I could do with changing the categories and menu items on this site, but have yet to learn how.

I think we’ll see the collaborator back again.

One of the reasons I need to work collaboratively is so that I pick up skills and strategies from other people as I go along. It doesn’t happen if you work alone. Any one out there who could help me learn to make simple adjustments to a wordpress site?

I’m not sure “who else will be interviewed” – or if/when “interviewing” will continue – but I do need to define my roles to help me organise my priorities. I’m attracted to the idea, and practical reality, of “the Holacracy of One” and plan to investigate it further.

 

Feb 28, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , ,


Thinking aloud about Holacracy of One roles – part 1


This post is “for me” – but shared openly. This means I won’t be explaining things as I go along, because I already know the background.

One role is already fixed

In 2015 I defined seven roles for myself. This year I’m experimenting with four. I’m keeping the “care-giver” role with its purpose to support and nurture people who are close to me in some way (including myself) so we can flourish, and also to steward places we share (especially my home).

“Care-giver” a catch-all role that covers my personal-and-private life and also spills over into my Working-and-public life.

That leaves three more to define – all of them related to what I work on and share publicly

The old roles

There was a kind of hierachy in the previous seven roles. “Caregiver” was the most practical. “Explorer and pioneer in the landscape of change” was the most abstract. Other roles were “Holacracy launcher”,”Innovative systems builder”, Connector-communicator” (a friend added “boundary-spanning” there), “Pattern hunter” (the friend added “sense maker”) and”Teacher/learner and knowledge co-creator”

If I’m to rearrange them into three roles then it feels right to start off by separating the abstract and the practical into two separate roles and then have one to spare.

Defining roles – role 1 – compulsive collaborator?

At this point in defining roles for a Holacracy of One the strategy is to have a little conversation with yourself. Last time I tried  approach of “acting it out”. This time I’ll do a mix of talking and typing my way through it. So it’s a conversation between my Whole Self (WS) and the individual roles. The strategy is that WS calls the roles in in turn, and interviews them.

So – first role please. Come on in Role 1 (R1).

WS – Introduce yourself. What shall I call you?

R1 – For now call me Compulsive Collaborator

WS – What do you do?

R1 – I do things with other people?

WS – Why?

R1 – Lots of reasons.

There are all kinds of energy-giving and “accelerator” reasons related to working with others. Plus the benefits of team work and not needing to do everything yourself – different people having different strengths. All the Belbin Team roles stuff.

And there is so much to be done.

Besides, lots of the things I want to do and help with won’t be finished in my lifetime – but if other, younger, people are working on them, and new people are being attracted to the ongoing work, and I am simply playing a part it won’t matter that the whole thing won’t be finished in my life time.

And collaborating with others is good for my “social vitamins” count  – online calls and face-to-face meetings balance all the work I do in isolation at my screen.

WS – Okay . I like what I hear so far. What kind of collaborations do you have in mind?

R1 – Well. I guess there are three main kinds

  1. Things other people have dreamt up/started and I can help them.
  2. Things I’ve dreamt up/started and need help with
  3. Things that are yet to be started but could well emerge when “we” – whoever that means – start to explore ideas and vision and consider collaborating to enable it to happen

WS – Okay. I’m interested. And I recognise a lot of overlap with things I value in the previous/present roles in my life

I need to know what help you’d need from me if I give you a place in my future life. I like the idea of going forward with you but will you be too demanding? Can we get along well together?

Why don’t you go and make a list of the collaborations you are currently involved in, and what you want to do, and we can consider what I can realistically support.

Meanwhile I’ll go for a cuppa, and then I’ll call in the next role.

Feb 28, 2017 by pamela | Categories: Continuing Conversations | Tags: , ,






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