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Week 1: reflections on building our Clan agreement

Beginning on a journey to apply the mechanics and dynamics of Practical Self Management after years of reading about conscious organizations, teal orgaizations or Holacracy was about forgetting everything that I knew and starting To Do and To BE.

What is self-management to me?

As I understand self-management is about the art of the possible, it’s about never complaining as “You can’t love life under the shadow of bitterness”. It requires a growth mindset as you don’t have a chance to complain, but to find a solution. And more than the right solution, it’s the path and the process that leads us, teaches us more, than just being satisfied by arriving at a destination.

Self-management requires vulnerability to share your stregths and weaknesses with your peers so that as a group everyone can fill in for the other one knowing each other better. Vulnerability requires the courage to ask; asking for help, asking questions. There is nothing wrong in asking for help, you simply need to make the implicit explicit sometimes to get things. Asking creates trust. We pay it forward or pay it back later.

Role Expectation Mapping Canvas

We filled out our respective Role Expectation Mapping canvas. It’s a one page document that answers the following questions:

  1. Who are our neighbourhood and working peers
  2. How can the neighbourhood tell that I’m succeeding ?
  3. What are my responsibilities?
  4. What are the expectationsin my neighbouhood ? What they expect of me? What do I expect of them ?
  5. And finally what are my challenges?

Thinking deeply and answering these questions and then sharing it with our group helped to better understand each others expectations, and to also verbalise our expectations. This was a key step to build our social contract.

Introducing Social Contracts

The first Pillar of Self-Management are social contracts. A social contract is a document that makes explicit everything that is implicit amongst a team. It is a document as simple as can be that explains the expectations of the members as a team, the decision making process, conflict resolution, working hours, modes of communication and basis of collaborations. Working across timezones and with different cultures, we realize that we have our own biases, our own expectations and that we can’t take anything for granted. In such a case the best thing is to be as transparent as possible and as explicit as possible.

Creating a space for emergence with “Yes AND”

At the end of day 1, we were put into team of three which total strangers and the challenge was to create a social contract with your team and to show our work at the end of the week. The end result could be a presentation, an infographic or a video.

There was a slight stress that I felt, as it was not clear if it was a social contract for us to work as a group or a fictitious social contract, i wasn’t sure how much time I’ll be able to put in as well. After clarifying the assignment we coordinated on slack to meet at a given time and share our Role expectation canvas which helped us to outline our Social contract. In this process of creating a social contract we had created a safe space amongst ourselves to share ideas without the fear of being judged.

Looking back what was amazing is that noone gave orders, the one who had an idea took the lead and showed the results, the others followed and contributed with a yes and. May took the initiative and the trouble of making a wonderful video of the social contract. We reviewed the video with Jeanne and left our feedback with corrections to be made as we couldn’t all work on the same timezone. We embraced the constraints and the protoype for the final social contract was a fun and beautfiul video illustrating our social contract with a metaphor of the Kereru bird, New Zealand drunk bird which was our team’s name and our inspiration!

It was a fun week, with a lot of meta-learnings! To get a 360 degree view of this article you can view May’s article and Jeanne’s article with whom I particpated as a team !



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Abhinav Agarwal

Abhinav Agarwal

#Innovation #Polymath #Minimalist #Biohacker