What is possible cannot be determined by opinions, but only by attempt. And we were determined to make the attempt. ï¿½ Dee Hock
1. Everybody is a leader
ï¿½Leading by being
Community Development professionals (CDPs) are the change they wish to see.
CDPs provide relational and situational information and knowledge to members, who are seen as quite capable to judge for themselves what, given their values, purposes and principles, they should do in the best interests of the community as a whole.
The intelligence and intuition of the whole community by far exceeds any partial intelligence by individuals and manifests in many ï¿½ sometimes unprecedented ï¿½ ways.
CDPs trust the collective intelligence of the whole and are constantly on the look-out for ways and means to capture its patterns and processes so that community members can more easily know of it and participate in it.
Accountability and authority are regarded as a natural part of everybodyï¿½s character.
CDPs provide and live principles (not rules) to foster the free expression of the communityï¿½s members. All members of the community are regarded as being fully accountable for their words and deeds.
If conflicts arise they act like ï¿½people whisperersï¿½ and/or mediators to help turn possible mistakes into lessons that the whole community profits from. They do have the authority to mandatory refer members who disrupt the communityï¿½s functioning to a mediating ï¿½Council of Community Eldersï¿½.
2. Promote connectivity and collaboration between the communityï¿½s members
ï¿½Connectivity & collaboration
Provide tools and occasions for maximum connectivity between members.
CDPs seek close connection with their community and are therefore most of all available to be contacted with any issue at any time ï¿½ within reason; they might delegate this obligation at certain times to CDPs of other communities.
CDPs are always on the look-out to improve tools, procedures and situations that foster deeper and wider connectivity and are very keen of bringing opportunities to collaborate to memberï¿½s attention.
Treat members of aligned external communities as fully trusted community members.
CDPs ï¿½ with the aid of Gaiaspaceï¿½s Alignment Process and their colleague CDPs ï¿½ are actively seeking out synergies, and having found them they carefully create connections and suggest collaborations. Once connections and collaborations have been committed to by these partners they are regarded as fully trusted community members.
Nurture the communityï¿½s internal and external networks and connections
CDPs pay attention to the networks within the community and networks with which the community is connected and even embedded in. They know how systems become systems of influence by being well connected in larger networks and networks of networks.
They also ensure that the information coming in through ï¿½weak tiesï¿½ from the world in which their communities are situated is fed into the communityï¿½s collective intelligence.
3. Experiment, collaborate and support mutual apprenticeship
Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk. ï¿½ The Dalai Lama
ï¿½Purpose, principles & people
People guided by robust purpose, having developed principles that guide the realization of that purpose create strongly aligned behavior that gets things done in fast and often unprecedented ways.
CDPs understand that guiding principles derived from overarching purposes that align the community unite people and they therefore support members of their community to find and/or express their very personal purpose first. They secondly support finding and/or expressing the principles of communication, connection and action that foster and support this. Then they continually support the alignment of personal with universal purposes and the powerful collaboration, action, behavior that results from this alignment.
CDPs take a keen interest in anything which might foster the development of deeper, wider and more effective community whether itï¿½s within anybodyï¿½s defined role or not. They therefore strengthen a culture of mutual apprenticeship in which everybody can learn from everybody else.
ï¿½Transparency & Fair Share
Transparency about personal agendas and the fair sharing of ï¿½ material and immaterial ï¿½ outcomes fosters the necessary trust for real collaborations in community.
CDPs understand that ï¿½Win-Win-Winï¿½ is an outcome and not a strategy. If the community as a whole is to profit from its being and collaboration and knowledge-ecology a sophisticated behavior is needed: acting in trust, freedom and clarity, always also thinking about ï¿½how to fairly share the outcome with everybody who had an input?ï¿½ Therefore at times CDPs also address the “what’s in it for me” question for each member of collaborating networks within the community.
Learn through experimentation, differentiation, mutation, mutual apprenticeship, trustful relationships, collaboration and appreciative inquiry and review.
CDPs understand that communities are held together by a sense of identity that results from shared purposes, principles and personal bonds between its members. The also understand that community is more akin to a fluid than a solid, and that to help it to continually and creatively reinvent itself invigorates it and keeps it alive. Therefore they see purposes and principles as processes in flux and encourage challenging questions, experiments and all kinds of creative proposals and behaviors ï¿½ if necessary balancing it so that a dynamic equilibrium is maintained.
4. Support natural forms of organization
ï¿½Autopoiesis (aka “Self-Organizing Networks”)
The vital communities of the 21st Century are self-organizing entities in a state of continual self-transformation in concert with an exponentially accelerating growth of diversity, complexity and rate of change of the cultural and natural environment
CDPs, understanding and accepting the exponentially accelerating rate of change in this century, support all tendencies toward self-organization and self-transformation of the community they serve. They therefore support servant-leadership on every level; they are always on the look-out for members with leadership potential and make it their priority to support and mentor them towards becoming a community development professional. CDPs understand their role to be temporary ï¿½ they work towards the communityï¿½s self-organization whose servant-leaders grow from its own members; this being part of the self-transformative trend of every community.
Self-organizing networks seek maximum alignment with other networks, communities and individuals that advances their purpose(s)
CDPs are always looking out for other communities, networks and individuals whose purpose might align with the community they serve. The wheel has been invented many times over; most likely humanity as a collective has or can easily develop all the know-how and procedures needed to cope with any and all challenges it faces on the micro-, midi- and macro-level. The open alignment of purposes, goals, intentions makes this much more apparent, and the culture of appreciative co-humanity makes it easier accessible. Therefore CDPs are an example of collaboration across all boundaries, and have a basically pluralistic view on values ï¿½ looking for alignment instead of for differences (yet without ever diminishing diversity).
All ecologies, be they natural or cultural, have natural cycles of growth and emergence.
CDPs are well aware of natural cycles of community growth, flourishing and transformation. They know that sustainable development is not to be managed or controlled because the resilience of such ï¿½artificialï¿½ growth is low and needs to be artificially supported continually. They therefore trust in the communityï¿½s own rhythm and cycles of development which the serve and support. Their ability to allow uncontrolled development and ï¿½being the change the want to seeï¿½ creates space for novel and unforeseen flourishing.
ï¿½ Mushin J. Schilling, Berlin, Dec. 2007