08: A toolbox for decision-making
David Baldwin Fri 4 May 2018 12:01AM
"a network of relationships with no central point of power and control, no single point of failure". This comes at the end of a list of attempts to capture what you are trying to describe, almost as a throwaway, but to me this touches on a very significant fundamental principle. This is very, very different from connected hierarchy. This is the Internet; this is Al Queda--this is culture. Which therefore puts significantly more emphasis on the Culture pattern. Suddenly it seems that all these other patterns are in service of building culture. Because culture is what determines what people will do in the absence of supervision or specific instruction. You use the tools to build the culture; the culture takes care of the behavior. "you have to put in the work to build a new set of habits, behaviours and reflexes. You have to produce a different kind of culture."
David Baldwin Fri 4 May 2018 12:12AM
I would lavish a lot of attention on the comms tools pattern. Experiences, how-tos, examples, encouragement--anything to help people see that a seemingly complex basket of tools might absolutely be the best way to support "no central point of power". The corporate legal community lives in one tool: Outlook. If you're not going for monolithic, then you're going to need a Tool Belt, not just a single tool. I think in retrospect this chapter is very important, worth investing in. Also I like the way the Map suggests that FB is kind of subordinated, in the background. If you have something to say about individual tools like Facebook, that relate in your view to building culture (and not just getting lost in whatever Facebook is bringing to groups), I would say it.
David Baldwin Fri 4 May 2018 12:23AM
Given the title, and given my bias arising from having fallen totally in love with "Design Patterns" when I came across it, I would advocate for firming up the Patterns pattern. No, it's not a book on programming, but if patterns are patterns then it would seem they would share attributes like pro/con, specific application, prerequisites, examples, etc. Not that you want to shape each chapter the same, but checking a checklist might help ensure comprehensive coverage of each one, and any regularity in exposition would aid in comprehension and retention. For example, whenever there is a list with explanations following (I think I made this point elsewhere, but it's worth repeating), if instead of just an undifferentiated stream of text with the list items blended in there are headings or bolded text corresponding with the list items, comprehension and retention are automatically reinforced. It's a pattern.
David Baldwin Fri 4 May 2018 12:45AM
Overall I find the text to be fluid, eminently readable, intimate, comfortable, clear, at seemingly just the right level, with a relaxed style that draws the reader in and draws the reader on. The story is just as present as the technical explication, and the story is just as important. There is a culture and an experience suggested by the descriptions that is heady and alluring--this is not just theory; this is being done. I very much enjoyed reading the text. There is an enviable smoothness to the narrative. I hope you will allow yourself the time and space to maintain some level of expansiveness as you flesh out the unfinished portions. All of it comes across as relevant and pertinent--that is, there are no tracts of meatless filler to traverse between elements of useful information. Reading about it the way you tell it makes a person want to do it. I can't begin to tell you how much satisfaction I have derived from reading it this closely.
Richard D. Bartlett Thu 10 May 2018 9:14PM
This is the most encouraging feedback I've ever received on my work.
Thank you so much for your effort on each chapter, you've illuminated so many points for improvement.
I'm heading into another intensive travel period for the next few months, but I'll be finding opportunities to get back into writing space. I'll be working through this list of homework you've given me! :laughing:
David Baldwin Fri 4 May 2018 12:55AM
Lastly: "This is a book about working in groups. I’m not so interested in what you’re working on together, I’m just going to focus on how you do it." I'm not so sure. I've heard you talk on Richard Wolff's show. I suspect you realize that turning away from hierarchy is turning away from the fundamental nature of our socioeconomic system, which is therefore to build a new one along different lines. "Here is nuclear fission. I'm not so interested in what you do with it, I'm just going to show you how to do it." I think these patterns are bigger than just working in groups; I think they are the seeds of a new civilization. They are precious; your work in surfacing and articulating them is enormously valuable. They could make the difference for people whose lives are on the line. I think you should go ahead and let yourself think about them from that perspective. None of my business, but that is how it looks to me. Cheers.
David Baldwin Thu 10 May 2018 10:22PM
I am so glad you found it "encouraging"--I always fear I com across as pedantic. But it is my intention to encourage. I sincerely believe that what you are doing should be encouraged, and it is--as it happens--one of my great joys in life to generate such feedback. So it works out!
I hope you enjoy your travels, and I look forward to being able to help down the road.
David Baldwin Thu 10 May 2018 10:24PM
P.S.: With your permission, I would like to add the first two lines of your email to to the testimonials on my LinkedIn page--in the hope of someday finding paid gigs doing this same kind of review.
David Baldwin · Thu 3 May 2018 11:55PM
Perhaps the fifth decision mode is: knowing which mode we are going to use for this particular decision. Especially in the case of #1, it is important to make the mandate clear at the outset, lest people be misled about their role and the disposition of their inputs. I definitely recall this being emphasized in training around decision making--let everybody know what the process is going to be, up front.
p. 56: decisions? what’s are our priorities?
p. 56: "I’m going to look at four modes here:" So one expects four labeled blocks of exploration, one for each decision mode. But there is only "Some decisions are ideally suited to consensus: what’s our purpose and principles? how do we make decisions? what’s are our priorities? You can use advice or consent for decisions with less
impact, like what words are going on the website?" Which is a great thing to include--examples of where each mode is useful, where it is not, etc. So I am assuming that this chapter is incomplete and there is more to come here?
p. 57: "there’s a clear pathway for people to gain that level of responsibility;" Not clear which people, or what level of responsibility we are talking about. The level of responsibility of delegating? Of being delegated to?
p. 57: mandate being retracted if it not being
So we seem to have reached the point in the road where it tapers rapidly off into wilderness, and construction equipment is laying about waiting for roadbuilding to commence again. So some comments on where the road has gone so far: