How do I know when I’m self-organizing? How do we know if our group is self-organizing?
Indicator #7: Spontaneously demonstrating something, learning in the moment, and reflecting and learning more in hindsight
I am self-organizing when I spontaneously demonstrate something, learn in the moment, and reflect and learn more in hindsight. Demonstrated in the following examples:
- Spontaneous demonstration: Using “we” and “us” to refer to a larger collective (group/division/organization) that I am no longer a part of.
- Learned in the moment: I keep inappropriately using the present tense to refer to something in my past. I wonder why that is.
- Learned in hindsight: We group members who left the division/ organization (at the time of the research study) are still comfortably speaking on behalf of the group/organization/division/district that we are no longer formally a part of. I am still deeply connected to this larger collective. I still think of it as part of myself. I still want it to succeed.
- Spontaneous demonstration: Continuing to be open, listen, and share ideas in the moment through multiple disagreements (while the person you’re talking to/disagreeing with does the same).
- Learned in the moment: This person doesn’t see what I see. This person couldn’t possibly see what I see from her perspective.
- Learned in hindsight: Examples:
- Although the experience was difficult, I can see more today thanks to the person I disagreed with.
- I have been influenced and changed by someone with whom I disagree.
- I can be influenced and changed by those with whom I disagree and continue to be myself.
As a group, we’re self-organizing when we spontaneously demonstrate something, learn in the moment, and reflect and learn more in hindsight. Demonstrated in the following examples:
- Spontaneous demonstration: Group members brainstorm spontaneously around an idea. They don’t all agree.
- Learned in the moment: We think from multiple perspectives. We do not agree. We still value each other more than the disagreement—enough to keep working together.
- Learned by someone close to the group in the moment: These group members keep respecting each other and working although they have different perspecitves. I’d like to work with them.
- Learned in hindsight: Examples:
- As a group, not only do we not always agree but we often do not even experience the need to agree.
- As a group, agreeing is less important than valuing each other and continuing to move together in the same general direction.
- The idea of moving together in the same general direction, without needing to agree, can be applied to other groups and people that we are working with.
- Learned by someone close to the group in hindsight: I’m as flexible as they are. I can do what they do with them. I could do this with others.
- Spontaneous demonstration: Group members spontaneously start using language shortcuts with each other. For example, “A’s kids,” “B’s kids,” “C’s kids,” “our kids,” and so on to refer to various groups of students for whom particular teacher(s) has/have primary responsibility.
- Learned in the moment: This saves me time. This saves us time.
- Learned by someone close to the group in the moment: As a group, those teachers are doing something that is saving them time.
- Learned in hindsight: For example:
- When we shared our language shortcuts with our students, we saved even more time—ours and theirs.
- As we worked more closely, we could take more shortcuts with each other, saving ourselves more time.
- As we saved ourselves time, we devoted more time to the people who mattered most to us in the moment. Most of those people, in turn, responded by improving themselves, which saved us even more time.
- As a group, we had more time (than others outside the group) to think and experiment.
- Those who matter most to me, including me, are better served when I work as a group than on my own.
- Learned by someone close to the group in hindsight: The group of teachers got more efficient over the year they worked together—by the end of the year everything worked so well it was amazing to me. I think I could do what they did. Working with other teachers this closely would benefit me and my students.