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Communal Effort


“Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art and methods of communication that support such interaction."


Communal effort seems fitting as we enter build week- go team! Collaboration requires strong methods of communication especially in extreme conditions like the playa. Having a diverse set of perspectives brings a wide set of strengths. This also brings competing values which is typically the root of most conflict. Understanding how others work and what they value and being mindful of that is a quick way to deescalate a situation and create trust and connection amongst conflict.


HBR released an article, The New Science of Team Chemistry, and defines work styles that guide people in making decisions and solve problems. We are a composite of each style but we usually lean more towards one or two. Can you identify with one below?


“Pioneers value possibilities, and they spark energy and imagination on their teams. They believe risks are worth taking and that it’s fine to go with your gut. Their focus is big-picture. They’re drawn to bold new ideas and creative approaches.

Guardians value stability, and they bring order and rigor. They’re pragmatic, and they hesitate to embrace risk. Data and facts are baseline requirements for them, and details matter. Guardians think it makes sense to learn from the past.

Drivers value challenge and generate momentum. Getting results and winning count most. Drivers tend to view issues as black-and-white and tackle problems head on, armed with logic and data.

Integrators value connection and draw teams together. Relationships and responsibility to the group are paramount. Integrators tend to believe that most things are relative. They’re diplomatic and focused on gaining consensus.”


You can see how conflict may arise given what matters to the various styles. For example, integrators hate conflict, drivers love to debate. A guardian’s detailed plan can feel aggravating to the visionary pioneer. Vice versa, the guardian can view the pioneer’s ideas as an impractical mess. Often times we are in conflict due to conflicting perspectives and approaches and we get into the blame game. Alternatively we can appreciate that there are other ways of working and learn how to better ask for our needs in the situation to step out of judgement and into creation.


Broken Agreements- Accountability, Curiosity, Vulnerability, Impact

Broken agreements happen when collaborating on a project in Distraction City, I mean, Black Rock City… Broken agreements cause a chain reaction of consequences and how we handle them is paramount to creating a healthy culture.


Accountability is the first step to handling broken agreements ie. posting our shift schedule so everyone can see it to hold each other accountable. Often this word accountability comes with the stress of “if I don’t hold up my end of the bargain, I will be shamed, blamed, or worse, thrown out.” The key to practicing shame-free accountability is by leading with curiosity rather than assumptions and/or judgements.


Curiosity gives someone the chance to feel understood and they will be less likely to be reactive and defensive, and more likely to take ownership of the broken agreement. Curiosity can be hard to access when we are frustrated, full of blame and resentment. Owning our feelings and sharing the impact of the broken agreement here is key.


When we are vulnerable with our feelings, and clear about the difference between our feelings and the impact of the broken agreement, we create a human connection and a place where we can move forward from.


My team happens to be hosting a free “Clearing Broken Agreements” workshop next Wednesday the 12th @4p in downtown SF that you all are welcome to join! I pulled the above content from some of what the wise NVC trainer, Kat Nadel will be teaching us.


Communication Framework - De-escalating Conflict

I would like to leave you with a simple framework inspired by Aikido, the martial art of using your opponent’s momentum to de-escalate conflict without causing harm. The following information I pulled from a workshop called Authentic Relating that I highly recommend.


3 Steps of Aikido:

Listen - To really listen, you need to breathe, get centered, open your eyes and ears, and make contact with the human on the other side. By really listening, you let them know it’s safe to express. Ask, “is there anything else?”

Reflect - Let them know you understand them and get them and are hearing them. “So it sounds like you…” “OK, what I’m getting is that…” This alone can calm down the most charged person quickly and efficiently

Share Impact - Let them know how their expression impacted you. Don’t blame them or attack them, stay with your own experience. Own your experience, make it inarguable. Express gratitude that they came to you with their charge rather than holding it back.


Always stay connected. Stay in your dignity and stand your ground, and stay with your humility and pay attention. Stay composed, grounded, calm. You will always have more power over any opponent if you can do this.


Communal effort requires ownership in how you are showing up and impacting others and/or the situation. So ask yourself, when are you at your worst? What are you creating when you are at your worst? Who suffers the consequences? When are you at your best? What are you creating and who benefits at your best?


Stay curious.

Be courageously vulnerable.

Focus on sharing the impact.

Own your experience.

HYDRATE <3


Additional info:

Here is a friend’s Ted Talk on anger explaining the “amygdala highjack”.


“If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together.”


Be well,

The Show

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