Decision-making and Governance

So here we are at a very interesting point in the evolution of the Center for Human
Emergence in the Netherlands. We have been through an extensive Chaordic design
process and are now at the point of creating structures, decision-making “processes” and
governance models that build on that design and feel adequate to the task that lies before
us.

Framing the way we think about the organisation is key to our development here. We are
trying to create an organisation that is continually learning and evolving, as that is how
the Universe is organised, and we want to align ourselves as much as possible with
Universal principles so that we may best be of service to the whole. That means that we
need to go beyond traditional thinking whereby you announce an organisational structure
with people in different posts, and that’s it until a yearly review. The structures and
processes and functions need to be in continuous flow with the Universal directionality,
with continual reflection on whether they are helping us to achieve our Purpose, in-line
with our Principles, to deliver our Product for the world.

A couple of days ago, three of us sat together as the current Board, to get very practical
about structures and functions. How did the three of us come to be the Board members?
(And a footnote here – we had been using the term “Provisional Board” to show that it
wasn’t final yet, and then I realised that actually in an evolutionary organisation the
polarity “Provisional” and “Final” dissolves, as nothing is ever final, and everything is
always provisional, based on the need that is sensed in the moment and the quality of
fitness that is present. So the reality is that we are the Board in this moment, and that that
may remain so for a while, or may evolve depending on what goes on in us as
individuals, in the collective organisation and in the world around us. What is essential in
this is that you have the processes in place to be picking up feedback from inside
ourselves, from inside the organisation and from outside the organisation, and to
therefore be making as informed decisions as possible about what will best serve the
whole.)

So I am energetically the Founder of the CHE in the Netherlands, and hold the seed
energy and vision connected to CHE Global. I have gathered people around me with
whom I feel “vertical solidarity” (i.e. we resonate on the same levels of development) and
“horizontal solidarity” (i.e. between us we have the capabilities to be able to fulfill the
functions that need fulfilling to serve the needs of the whole).

So the three of us sat together, looked through the Chaordic design document produced
with the Organisational Development and Leadership constellation, and based on that
went to work identifying key functions and potential people to go with those functions.
The structural design is based on the thinking in Spiral Dynamics, around three core
templates : the X-Template is where all the activities happen that interface directly with
the world around us, the Core Product of the CHE in action; the Y-Template includes all
of the support systems that enable the X-Template activities to happen; and the ZTemplate is the overview body that helps to keep the whole aligned, and senses the
broader flows around the organisation.

In traditional organisational HR work, capacities are emphasised but Value Systems (e.g.
Spiral) are not even recognised. That vertical element immediately introduces some
interesting evolutionary tension into the whole story, as it means that someone has to
make that judgment call on who is vertically fit for what. In our case, it started with me as
the Founder doing that, and has now expanded to a conversation within the Board. We
are taking responsibility for those judgment calls. The way it has worked in practice is a
combination of intuitive feeling that someone is right for something (does it give us
energy to imagine that person in that function, and, by the way, if not, is that more to do
with some interference in ourselves or are we picking up a clear signal?), and checking
out their competencies as we have experienced them so far and to the best of our
knowledge. The next step is to have an honest conversation with those people to see if
their passion aligns, and if the competence is indeed present. So no job descriptions,
recruitment procedures, “democratic” elections—which I imagine is going to be tricky
for some people to accept. The thing is that so far this way of organising has served us
well. We are using senses that transcend the cognitive combined with a system of
checking with each other that our vision is clear and unpolluted.

Core to this is the web of conversations, and I believe this concept and practice is the best
way to ensure best-fit in functions in the organisation. I have seen too many wellintentioned organisations fall apart dramatically because they have developed a set of
processes to ensure fair selection procedures (actually out of fear for corruption and to try
and protect the integrity of the procedure), only to find that someone or some people have
been able to use those procedures to get themselves into positions where they do not fit—
generally to further their own ego-driven self-interest. But because they have used the
established democratic procedures, no one can do anything about it. Generating
procedures out of fear to try and protect something will always cast a dark shadow.
Acting out of trust that the right people will show up at the right time to carry out the
functions that need doing, combined with skilful insight (not naively), is in my opinion
far more likely to create the kind of organisation we need to really make an impact on the
very serious issues we are facing in the world today.

So each person in the organisation needs to be embedded in a web of conversation that
helps to keep each of us aligned with the higher Purpose. And now comes a serious
crunch. In order for this concept to work there needs to be a critical mass of people in this
web of conversation who are able to act beyond their ego (sense of separate self) for the
good of the whole. If we can hold that space and have our conversations from there, then
decisions around fitness and functionality will flow with ease. The moment there is egointerference it will be a struggle.

Key also to the success of this is making sure that as many people as possible are
engaged in this very conversation about how decisions are made. It is a new way of
working, and rubs up against many of our old preconceptions about how things should be
done, so is likely to create some confusion and resistance. Learning space for those
conversations to happen in is essential. The learning will be on all sides. At the same
time, final decisions will rest with the Board. We as the Board are also of course
experimenting and need to maintain our curiosity and alertness for insights that can help
us to best serve the whole. Should any individual have feedback about a certain
appointment or process, the space needs to be there for that person to be taken seriously
and responded to authentically. We enter such a conversation with complete openness
and curiosity, looking for learning, and if it is there, act on it. At the same time, it could
well be that the Board (or whoever is the appropriate decision-making body at that level)
does not feel that the feedback needs acting on, and so be it. That will be a test of all our
attachment to our own ideas! Are we truly in it for the whole or are we more interested in
our own idea being adopted? So that’s the story so far. It is the first time I have stopped
to become more conscious of it all, which is an important step in itself for me. Sharing
this enables us all to be more conscious of what is unfolding, to make the implicit explicit
(which is the nature of the evolving universe!), and to learn from our experiments. On we
spiral.

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