See Protocols and Tools for more specifics about how we engage with each other.
This is about practice and growth
The world we’re trying to create and the problems we’re trying to address are enormously challenging. We don’t have the knowledge and “muscles” we need to succeed, and the world is only going to get more complex and uncertain as we forge ahead.
Our success depends on our ability to develop these muscles and learn together quickly. Holding an experimental, forward stance will enable us to develop critical muscles, navigate complexity, and make the change we want to see.
This is a space for us to be in practice with each other. There is no such thing as perfect information, and we will not be able to solve our challenges by analyzing them to death. We will gather the best information we can, we will be as thoughtful as we can, and we will learn by trying things.
This is not about transactions or negotiation. While some self-reflection is critical, we do not want to get caught up in an endless cycle of existential questions and navel-gazing. When we ask questions, we’ll also propose possible solutions, and we’ll lean toward experimenting rather than debating as a way of testing these solutions.
We will let others know what we’re doing, and take time afterward for reflection and meaning-making, so that we can collectively integrate what we learn.
Eyes on the prize
This is not about practice and growth for its own sake. We’re trying to overcome enormous challenges to build the world in which we want to live, and it’s critical that we not lose sight of this. We will make it a regular practice to remind ourselves of our purpose — why we’re investing this much time and commitment into this process — and we will work to eliminate side channels and stay focused on our priorities.
Trust is our glue
The glue that holds us together is trust and relationships. Without trust, these agreements and everything we try to do together will fall apart.
If we’re all aligned about what we’re trying to achieve and our values for doing so, we will trust each other to make good decisions and to learn from our mistakes. We will work as a “do-acracy,” trusting that those who are willing to do the work will make good decisions, and we will do our best to level the playing field to maximize everyone’s agency.
When we see others act, we will assume good intent. When we engage, we will do so with curiosity rather than judgement, and we will take the time to understand each other’s actions. Over time, we will reinforce that trust by refining these working agreements.
Wear two hats
We all come into the space wearing two hats — an organizational hat and a movement hat. We’re committed to figuring out how to wear both of them when we come into the space together. Sometimes, these two hats will be in tension with each other. In those cases, we’ll do our best to name that tension and resolve it together.
Tag, you’re it
Right now, several of us are ready and committed to do this longer-term work. We see short-term value in diving in now, and we’re ready to step up.
We know others value our leadership, and we know that we can’t play these roles by ourselves forever. At some point, others will have to step up and play a bigger role. If enough of us move up our participation, we can amplify our impact while distributing the burden.
We will support each other by “tagging in” when we’re ready and by “tagging out” when we need a break. Communication of when we’re tagging in or out is essential. We will be as explicit as possible about what the roles are in the network and who’s currently filling them, so that needs and expectations are clear.
When you’re in, you’re in
When we commit to a role, we will fulfill that role to the best of our ability. If we find that we cannot consistently do that, we will tag out. We will be compassionate and understanding to those who have to tag out, and we will welcome those people back when they’re ready to tag back in.
Be compassionate and joyful
Our work is fundamentally hard. To do it well, we will need to change many of our mindsets and behaviors, which will make it even harder. If we’re not failing, we’re not trying hard enough. We will hold ourselves accountable, but we will also be realistic and compassionate both to ourselves and to others about the difficulty of what we’re trying to achieve together.
Our work is also fundamentally meaningful, and we are blessed to be doing it in community with other great people. We will come into this space together with joy and good humor, and we will continue to make space to deepen our relationships with each other.
While we will assume good intent, we will also take responsibility for the reality of our impact. Communication when intent and impact don’t match is essential to avoid festering resentment.
Our relationships are resilient. Conflict will improve the quality of our thinking, increase trust, and make us stronger.
In order to make sure we have a chance to object and debate, we will be transparent in our thinking, and we will make space for others to contemplate, consider, and respond. Silence will be considered approval.
We will not have the impact we want unless we reach many more people, which will require us to do our work more openly. Working more openly will increase the diversity of our voices, which will improve the quality of our work and lead to emergence and innovation. At the same time, we understand we have to be sensitive and thoughtful about what we share with broader audiences.
We will assume that the things we say and the artifacts that we produce from our gatherings can be shared, unless stated otherwise, and we will trust each other’s individual discretion about what to share and how to share sensibly. When people ask that things stay in confidence, we will honor those wishes.
The strong relationships and culture that we already have, along with these working agreements, will help us maintain a bedrock of trust while helping us grow.