I’ve been a solo artist working independently for several years now, occasionally teaming up with others around events or short-term media projects. Lately though, I’ve become less interested in just doing one-off collaborations. For one, it gets lonely, and secondly, I’m unable to take on the scale of projects I want to work on all by myself.
I want to be part of a tribe — a creative community of like-minds with whom I can learn, grow, and deliver awesome value to the world, together.
This tribe has a certain kind of culture, based in clearly defined shared values that we not only agree upon conceptually, but live and demonstrate through our way of being.
Here are a few characteristics of this tribal culture:
* we respect ourselves and each other – expressing gratitude and appreciation for the unique gifts and talents everyone brings to the table
* we’re all leaders – positively influencing each other’s thoughts, words, and actions, and offering support and feedback in service of each other’s growth and development
* we’re playful – we’re aware that creativity comes at the intersection of conflicting ideas, sprinkled with a little mischief. ideas and information are our building blocks, and we share them freely, with an attitude of open-minded curiosity and an experimental spirit
* we learn continuously – about ourselves, each other, and the world, making us flexible and adaptive. we expand into all our capacities, not just the rational and strategic ways of thinking, but also tapping into intuitive perception and the realms of imagination, insight and inner wisdom
* we’re happy – we have a sense of control, a sense of progress, a sense of belonging, and a sense of higher purpose and vision
* we have freedom – this is both a state of mind and a practice of self-management. we’ve released old patterns of fear and perceived limitations, and instead choose to be courageous, focused and committed. we’re empowered to make decisions based on the principles guide us. we let go of the need for command-and-control structures, opting to build personal responsibility and strong relationships instead.
* we love life, and each other – no, seriously. it’s a joy to be around people who are passionate about what they do and take pride in their art. and life is art. we see the world as a canvas, ripe with possibilities to birth magical things. we act in service for highest good of all.
Where do I go to learn to build and become a culture like that??
Well, I found a place I’ll be going with as many dear friends and colleagues as would like to go! – the Agile Culture Conference, this September 12 in Philadelphia and September 14 in Boston.
It’s an unconference-style event being hosted by Agile Boston, with the theme of ‘FREEDOM AT WORK.’ Speakers include Harrison Owen, the father of Open Space, Dave Logan, the author of Tribal Leadership (free download on the zappos website), Traci Fenton, the CEO of Worldblu, Jim & Michele McCarthy, the authors of Software for your Head, and Dan Mezick, author of The Culture Game.
I’ve participated in several open space events now in the past year, have read Tribal Leadership, and if you’re a follower of this blog, you may have seen the posts I’ve written about my direct experience working with Dan Mezick and the McCarthys and their work with culture hacking, communication protocols, and building teams of greatness – (How do We Form Tribes of Greatness?, Personal Alignment Precedes Group Flow).
I’ve been hunting all year for the most (r)evolutionary people and practices defining the future of work, and I have to say, this is the best stuff I’ve found so far.
It seems obvious to me that next-gen organizations are going to be values-based, self-organizing, and have an attitude and atmosphere that’s both fun and productive. No one wants work or life to suck — and those of us who are disillusioned by the current options are simply going to build the new infrastructures of the future that we want to participate in.
So let’s go do it!
I’m really looking forward to learning the tools, practices and social agreements that define a kick-ass work culture, and I hope to see you there too. 🙂
update: use the discount code CULTUREHACKING for $10 bucks off
If you’d like to register for the Boston event, click here.
To register for the Philadelphia event, click here.
And to find out more info about the event, locations and speakers, click here.
The Core Protocols – Jim & Michele McCarthy
Tribal Leadership – Dave Logan
WorldBlu: Freedom At Work – Traci Fenton
The Culture Game – Dan Mezick
We The People – John Buck
Wow, just wow. Very inspiring. Now, if we could expand events like this into virtual open space, we’d have an agile culture cyber-Junto. Fundamental R&D on this very blog has resulted in working prototypes and lasting co-creative connections. Enjoy the future, today.
Lynne DeSilvaJohnson (@OnlyWhatICan) said:
I’m so pleased to see that you’re moving towards engaging in this. But I do have another answer to a question you ask here, “Where do I go to learn to build and become a culture like that??” and the answer is also connected to your feeling of being solitary in your creative processes : THE CITY.
The urban centers have always been the places where culture is made, circulated, amassed, compared, etc. Those who wish to see and be inspired by it come to the city to live amongst it, and amongst the makers of it. The makers of it come and stay to be amongst each other.
In every city of this country and every other country there are countless shared creative communities, both formally and informally coming together for just the process you’re describing here — some of which now rely on and use technology and social media to accelerate their connections to other such communities beyond geographical boundaries, but which, since their inception in early history, have by their very density and passion created just the type of space you describe wanting so badly above.
You may be able to replicate some of that energy by creating a virtual community that occasionally touches down in shared space, but the sort of human, energetic, continuous sharing and foment comes from a commitment to consistent face-to-face interaction, when you’re talking about physical collaboration in the artistic sphere. There are media that lend themselves well to long-distance collaborative creative projects, like music, and some mixed visual media, but nothing beats living and working together… that’s why artists have always and will always gravitate towards cities. Sure, there’s some deviation in intentional, non-urban community spaces and groups, but it’s a scalar differentiation that many find never quite compares, and requires considerable more energy from each individual.
It’s wonderful to want to create a world, and to change the things about the world that we are unsatisfied with. But sometimes we also need to look honestly at the world we are living in to see if we’ve forgotten that many others are and have already been creating what we’re looking for, we just don’t know how to find it. Geography, despite everything the digital revolution changes, still matters.
Poor Richard said:
“Where do I go to learn to build and become a culture like that??”
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Anutha Human said:
Wish we were in the USA and could attend, should anyone reading this from Australia and interested in a place described as above, check out http://diggerstreet.com.
Digger Street is also involved in organising a gathering for this years Total Solar Eclipse at adamsdam.com – http://2012acosmicconvergence.com. Speakers, workshops etc. Should anyone be heading over for the Eclipse, drop in to Digger you are most welcome.
I am so excited about this…will attend the boston event.
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judith katz said:
Wow, I would love to participate in this, or help build an event like this in the SF Bay Area.
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