We support trusting and respectful relationships, along with open communication, for meaningful interpersonal connection and a collaborative governance.
Community is the context for a new story – a story of intention, connection, alignment, and cooperation.
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Rather than an ideal definition of community, we believe that true community is the collaborative result of our collective intention. We encourage the following key principles as a foundation to establish that intention and to nurture a cooperative culture.
- Cultivating the relational environment is our primary emphasis on community building.
- Establishing design parameters and foundational components allows for optimal relational experience.
Nurturing a cooperative culture is essential for effective community building. As our current culture is built on, separation, competition, and unconscious agreements, a cooperative culture must have connection, collaboration, and conscious awareness as a foundation.
At the heart of collaboration is a paradigm shift towards nurturing a culture that is built on the foundation of the following key components.
Collaborative relationships require authenticity, self-disclosure, and shared expectations. They require the cultivation of collaborative awareness, clarity of desire and motivation, and expression of the outcomes we desire. Collaborative relationships move beyond our preconceptions by opening to the co-creative possibilities.
Collaborative Awareness and Clear Intention
Clear intention is a prerequisite for effective collaboration and is established through personal and relational awareness. Self-awareness is a prerequisite for collaboration, and collaborative awareness is a prerequisite for co-creative synergy. Awareness requires the attitude of an observer – the ability to step back and observe without evaluation. It requires an inner journey to explore beliefs, emotions, intentions, assumptions, perceptions, needs, motivation, etc. It also requires the willingness to explore the inner world of others without judgment, as well as an understanding of the control issues and dysfunctional patterns we tend to gravitate toward in conflict.
Compassionate Communication and Relational Connection
Relational connection is the result of conscious and compassionate communication. By cultivating a holistic approach to collaboration, we can learn to listen without judgment. In listening as an observer, we can go beyond evaluation based on our personal experience and belief system. We can listen for the emotion behind the words and the needs and values behind the emotion. We can listen for understanding, express empathy, and create intimacy.
Relational Alignment and Conscious Agreement
Interpersonal alignment is explored in self-disclosure as we share vision, values, and expectations. Collaboration is established in language by making implicit and explicit agreements. Transparency and agreement is the foundation that must be laid for relationships and organization to be built upon. Without clear agreement, we only have personal expectation and assumption to guide the process.
Cooperative Decision Making & Collaborative Governance
Participatory decision making is another requirement for effective collaboration by embracing the competing perspectives, values, needs, and desires of everyone as creative opportunity.. It is built on the foundation of agreement and in the context of interpersonal awareness and conscious communication. Based in the values of equivalence and transparency, it is the dynamic process of a co-creative path.
Conflict is where supposedly incompatible perspectives, values, needs, and desires compete for control. It is apparent in both our inner and outer world – internal and relational conflict often overwhelms our lives and the world we live in. Our orientation toward judgment and dysfunctional patterns fuels our fight or flight response.
Conflict can be a healthy part of life and is vital for empowerment. Successful collaboration embraces conflict in an attempt to meet the needs of everyone. In the context of collaboration, conflict can be transformed for win/win solutions and co-creative synergy.
As in building a house, choosing and learning to use adequate tools helps to assure the desired results for collaborative projects. The following is an introduction to some of the tools we incorporate for nurturing a cooperative culture.
Mindfulness / Heartfulness
Practicing mindfulness and heart/brain coherence helps to intentionally shift our energy from stress to peace, and to facilitate our personal and collective awareness. Studies in brain science and heart science clearly support practices that keep us present and grounded, while addressing the triggers of the past and the fear of the future.
The Institute of Heart Math has thoroughly tested the effects of “coherence” techniques on heart rate variability, brain wave patterns, and our electro-magnetic field. For an introduction to HeartMath, try the Quick Coherence Technique and, for more information, visit their website at: www.heartmath.org
The study of emotional intelligence focuses on the four areas of emotional awareness, self-management, relational awareness, and relational management. Studies have indicated that individual growth in these areas supports internal well-being, healthy relationships, and job satisfaction and success.
Talent Smart has been studying the effects of EQ in business, along with providing training and coaching services. Their book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is a simple read and provides access to their assessment tools and growth strategies. For more information, visit their website at: www.talentsmart.com
Unconscious triggers and patterns often hinder effective communication skills. Incorporating conscious communication practice can be a vital support to personal growth and deeper interpersonal connection. Practices of reflective listening and deep inquiry, along with authentic expression of feelings, needs, and values, helps to nurture empathy and provides a foundation for understanding and growth.
Visit the following websites for information and resources related to conscious communication:
Blueprint of We
Most of us come to relationships with our best foot forward, along with our personal baggage and a list of hidden expectations and assumptions. We often overlook serious considerations and don’t think about an intentional design for our relationship container.
The Blueprint of We takes communication and collaboration to the next level in establishing graceful agreement. It is a structured collaborative process for designing a co-creative blueprint for relationships. The Blueprint of WE helps to lay a foundation for authenticity and ease as we co-create our story, disclose our styles, clarify our expectations, and establish a process to navigate conflict. For more information, visit the website: www.blueprintofwe.com
Governance relates to organizational structure, leadership style and empowerment, and decision-making. Whether conscious or not, every effort at collaboration (whether a family, business, or country) operates within some for of governance structure. A co-creative living environment requires equivalence, transparency, and a participatory process for success. Along with communication, decision-making is a most crucial component of collaboration.
The process of Sociocracy provides a structural framework for empowering collaboration. Sociocracy is defined as “rule by the socios” (people who have a social relationship with each other) which is achieved through the principles of “creative self organization” and “consent decision making”. After working in a variety of structures for group process, I have found Sociocracy to be most effective and efficient in organizing people and projects, facilitating meetings and solution oriented decisions, and cultivating shared leadership. For more information, visit: www.sociocracy.info
There are a variety of support tools that further help facilitate effective collaboration. Some of these that I encourage include Appreciative Inquiry, The Empowerment Dynamic, The Work, Mediation, etc. More information about these and other collaborative tools can be found at www.acocreativepath.com. Check out our list of recommended books.