When seeing this video that a friend of mine posted on Facebook, I learned that she, Zina Lahr, passed away at 23 in a accident. What joy to see she had her flame burning fully. What a beautiful person.
Fredric Laloux's "Reinventing Organizations" just blew my mind when it comes to hope and confidence. He has followed a dozen organizations that work - successfully - in a new way, of which one of the core elements is self-organization (what I like to call working like a swarm). The criteria for these organizations to be included in his research was:
- They had to have worked in this new way for at least five years.
- There had to be at least 100 people in the organizations (one had 40000).
Here is an excerpt from his RSA presentation, which can also be found on Youtube in its entirety.
The basis for the workshops I host is in preparing the "activity field" for the participants, or "preparing the space" as insiders might say. The ideal is to create a space where:
- I immediately feel safe when entering the room. Decoration can help, and music.
- I see that this is a place for creation - empty sheets of paper, markers etc.
- I get a sense of being invited rather than pushed. There might me questions on the walls and preferably the whole workshop has been summoned through invitation.
I think pressure enough will come from life itself, from needing cash flow for the business to survive, from competing companies, from an inner search for meaningfulness at work. When, in the midst of this pressure, I am offered a place where I can advance at my own pace, creativity can happen.
Trust is built on openness – and openness is easier to maintain if there's a supporting structure.
In 2009 I attended a rite-of-passage camp in Australia where boys aged 12-16 participated together with their fathers. I was there as a trainee leader in a staff of 10. Each day we (the staff) ended the workday with a small ceremony of three steps, sitting around a fire:
- Taking turns, everyone said "what I did well today was ..." and then something we though we had done well.
- Taking turns, everyone chose a "snapshot of the day" – a moment that had stuck in our minds.
- Lastly, this question was posed: "Is there something that needs to be said in order for us to continue tomorrow with full capacity?" During this round if you didn't have anything on your mind you'd say "I'm clear".
This last ritual was a big one for me. Here, we had the chance to clear out anything that was bothering us, any friction like "I got irritated when you jumped the queue during dinner" – no matter how small. I dreaded it, especially if I had something on my mind, and I appreciated it when it was done. And knowing it was coming up every evening, it worked as an incentive to clear things as they came up.
This ritual of clearing at the end of the workday I have since used when making television programs with a few intense weeks of recording. It's easier and more fun to work when the air is clear(er), and it's tempting to skip the clearing. And so structures like this ritual can help.
If you would go to a masquerade and dress up as your company, what kind of creature would you be?
What if those recurring thoughts you have had, have emerged into your consciousness for a reason?
What if your co-workers told you the random thoughts they've had lately, and you'd get a feeling that you're all holding pieces of a puzzle?
There are simple ways to start tapping into the potential of the collective. Within the Art of Hosting community there is a saying, "all solutions are already in the room". We just may not have spoken about them yet.
Marc Maron has, in his bi-weekly podcast WTF, provided some of the best talk I know of. It's heartfelt, honest, and because of Marc's relentless exposure of his own insecurities and issues, it's hard not to identify.
This one from last week with director Paul Thomas Anderson presented some of the sweetest moods in my book.
Paul Thomas Anderson has directed films like Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood and The Master.
This is a great warm-up for creating stuff together. You start with a blank paper. Then you take turns drawing one stroke per person at a time. When the pen is lifted, the stroke is over. The drawing is finished when either one signs it instead of drawing more.
I like to use music to set the mood in a room, especially when settling in. Here's one of my favourite bands for a friendly vibe:
- A new idea is fragile and needs to be protected through its first developmental stages.
- If the room feels safe, it's more likely that I will let you know what I care about.
- A set of candles can alter the room.
- Preparation is half the battle.
- Respectfulness is a universal language.