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I’ve just returned from a two-day workshop sponsored by Agile Boston called The Core Protocols BOOTCAMP. The purpose was to go through an immersive experiential learning process to understand the fundamental mechanics and dynamics of forming GREAT TEAMS. Specifics included:
  • Results-oriented behaviors
  • How to enter a state of shared vision with a team and stay there
  • How to create trust on a team
  • How to stay rational and healthy
  • How to make team decisions effectively
  • How to move quickly and with high quality towards the team’s goals

The course was facilitated by an amazing couple, Jim and Michele McCarthy, authors of the book Software For Your Head.

My Takeaways

The outcome of the past two days is that my focus has been sharpened and honed on some critical components for forming extraordinary teams that can SHIP, scaling, and ultimately impacting epic cultural transformation.

The learning community in which I participate has actually been noodling over this inquiry for several months now, framed something like:

If we were to form a ‘next-gen Agency’ that utilizes swarm intelligence to build solutions, what is the most rapid and elegant way to:

1. Form a team.
2. Envision a product.
3. Agree on how it would be made.
4. Design and build it.

Turns out this is the exact simulation we ran through at BootCamp.

The process begins with a commitment to the Core Protocols – the sets of practices that enable people and teams to be exceptional. This really is ‘software for your head’ — what some friends and I have been referring to as “wetware programming” — rebooting the mind and creating new human protocols for communication and interaction that make us more effective, happy and empowered.

The protocols we used in the workshop included:

Pass (Unpass)
Check In / Check Out
Ask for Help
Protocol Check
Intention Check
Decider
Resolution
Perfection Game
Personal Alignment
Investigate

The protocol that was of large focus during the two-day session was Personal Alignment. The idea is to really level-up your self-awareness and ask - “What specifically do I want?”

This question is kind of scary, (at least it was for me.) The initial response to the question from my lizard brain: Run.

Instead, I went through the inquiry process (which was assisted by a partner engaging in the Investigate protocol), until we got down to the heart of it. We asked ourselves questions like:

“What is blocking me from having what I want?”
“What virtue – if I had it – would shatter this block of mine?”

We kept refining until the virtue that would shatter all blocks was identified.

The next step was to write down a personal alignment statement in the form of “I want [virtue].” Then we created a Signal to let others know when we are practicing our alignment, and a Response they can give you to demonstrate support. “When I say/xo ‘X,’ will you say/do ‘Y’?”

My initial virtue word was “Integrity/Integration,” because I often feel my energy pulled in different directions, making me feel weak and overwhelmed. We had the opportunity to explore our personal alignment via art, the result of which is the painting I made, posted above. I think I was trying to convey that I feel I live in three worlds -

on the upper left: the Darkness within me, my shadow world, filled with fear, doubt, hopelessness, negativity, pain, disappointment, anger, guilt, shame

on the upper right: the world I envision, the one I am constructing towards, the one singing the tune for which my heart yearns, filled with light, hope, beauty, truth, possibility, imagination, creativity, and love

on the bottom: the world in which we live, grounded, embodied, a beautiful tree of life with golden braids interweaving everyone and every thing, the place from which we build the world we want to inhabit

The exercise was a useful one, and actually revealed to me that ‘Integrity’ wasn’t necessarily the virtue I required to handle traversing these worlds — my desired virtue is “Self-Care.”

This was the big secret – The quality of the alignment will be equal to the quality of the results.

Great teams are formed by great people, who know what they need to be personally great and aligned in their flow, and feel safe to ask for help from their tribe to keep their well filled.

So my alignment statement was:

I want self-care. When I say “I can’t handle this,” will you say “You are not alone.”?

(I later realized I wanted an even more intimate signal/response of something like: When I say “I need to be held,” will you give me a hug?)

At any rate, I felt like I had a bit of a personal breakthrough, and made some new commitments to myself and the needs of my body/mind/spirit (self-care daily – combination of yoga, meditation, time in nature, healthy food, rest, time with family & friends, self-development retreats, time alone).

I usually feel guilty about “using up time” doing many of these activities, feeling like I “should” stay focused on the “real work,” not on personal “indulgences.” Now I’m experiencing a shift in consciousness and realizing that I’m not good for anyone — not myself, not my family or colleagues, and certainly not the greater world at large, if my source is not centered and continually fueled with the energy required for greatness.

So I return home with a new lust for life, and a toolbox of effective human protocols! Yay!

The workshop was only Part 1 of the BootCamp, as the conclusion is about designing and building together. A few of us are already bubbling with an idea for an “epic win,” which may involve the participation of several thousand people. (It turns out, if we gather our tribes, our numbers are pretty significant already.)

I’m very much looking forward to Part 2 of this adventure, and recommend checking out Jim & Michele’s work to any teams looking to be great.

<gratitude> to Dan Mezick of New Technology Solutions for inviting me to the bootcamp :)

Further exploring:

Live in Greatness: Core Protocols for Shared Vision
Software for Your Head
The McCarthy Show
World Building, McCarthy Style