Journaling the mondora Handbook
Written by Alessandra Scala, translated by Alison Ruffoni
From May 2020 the rewriting process of the Handbook, which was already 6–7 years old, began in mondora. This process was especially seen as a pretext to experiment a participatory process with all of the company’s collaborators, regarding a practical subject, such as the definition of their own company’s user manual, including values and practices. Here is an article by Irene Brambilla, already published in Bcalm Bcorp which briefly explains it’s dynamics, methodologies and intentions.
Pierre Houben, Joshua Volpara and I, are facilitating this process of revision of the Handbook, through participatory social methods, such as open space technology and world cafè, which have been well described by Irene in the article. We also use sociocratic decision making practices such as the procedure of consent on suggestions which involves circling back to each proposition which represents the convergence phase, compared to a divergence obtained with OST and world cafè. This circling back to a certain topic or suggestion is needed in order to gather and solve any potential questions and clarifications, reactions and objections. Joshua and I are also keeping a journal of the whole experience, at times more factual and at times more emotional.
During this process, which is a true journey, one night I found myself writing some words in my head and I woke up to jot them down. A journaling of emotions, thoughts and questions I ask myself and would like to share had emerged. We don’t yet know in which part of the Handbook we will add this, maybe at the beginning although the initial part has much more serious content and the piece isn’t finished yet, just like the Journaling of the Handbook itself on the other hand. It is a work in progress that is taking form through different kinds of input and that is intended to become a memoir of the whole journey, a memoir of the mind, of the heart and of the hands.
How is the impulse to write born? That uncontrollable urge to give voice to one’s thoughts, leaving a trace of them that can be brought into existence and can then be read and shared? I have always asked myself this, even when at 13 years old I used to write poetry and would wake up in the night with the words to be written in my head.
I used to think that it was the emotions and the deepest and strictly personal experiences that guided the impulse to put pen to paper. Therefore, I never would have thought that this could happen while keeping the journal of a company Handbook review process.
However, it is happening to me right now. It is the night between the 28th and the 29th of December 2020, so right in the middle of the Journaling activity that I talk about.
Therefore, it could not be a prologue but neither an epilogue, more like a paralogue if we wish to emphasize the chronological aspect, in the sense of being written during the process, a perilogue if instead of on time we focus on the content, therefore meaning that it is written around the topics covered. Or, finally, a metalogue, in the sense that it highlights the intention, the purpose and the scope that transcend the process itself. We will decide.
Maybe, the fact that I happen to wake up at night and write, is linked to the strong connection I have to the company whose Handbook we are working on, made up of wonderful people, the founders, guided by their purpose, by that interior strength which leads to doing business for good. Perhaps I see this strength in many of the teamplayers, not just in the founders; maybe because I deeply share the purpose. Or perhaps because I am sharing this journey with two wonderful people, Pierre and Joshua, with whom working does not remind me of the French or Spanish etymology of work (the tripalium, the torture instrument that Joshua talked about in one of his OST), but instead generates ideas and possibilities.
Or, maybe, because of all of this.
And this combination of different aspects is beautiful and in full harmony with the wholeness of Laloux, being people who are a whole with all of their being, even in the professional world, without closed silos or professional masks. And it’s not cringeworthy, as my son would say, with the cynical and disillusioned terminology typical of teenagers who are under the illusion that they have already seen and understood everything.
Then again, maybe, because after talking to Pierre and Joshua this evening , I have realized that what we are doing has a much greater significance and scope than we initially thought when we began this journey. It’s similar to those particular galactic alignments that take place where everything just seems to converge and find meaning.
We are putting into practice, combining them together, in a process that has strategic and operative aspects, all the most innovative approaches towards which future organizations are oriented. From sociocracy to participatory facilitation tools, from systems thinking to agile methods, from the theory of complexity to theory U, from Holacracy to OKR, from non-violent communication to design thinking and getting things done… there are ideas and practices that derive from each of these approaches and methodologies…
To be continued