New Notes to Self

  1. Silos got us here; they won’t get us where we need to go next.
  2. As a writer and communicator, be wary of cutting and pasting. Cutting and pasting is a lazy shortcut that allows anything you didn’t see or tend to the first time to persist the second time. Write and speak new sentences from your most up-to-date understandings and commitments.
  3. The work: updating your understandings and commitments.
  4. When asked to comment on policies, job descriptions, agendas, or anything written to guide others or guide process, don’t simply update or change content. Update and change — and challenge — format, perspective, structure, the frame, the order, the implied narrative, etcetera.
  5. Pay even more attention to language than usual.
  6. Actively manage your inputs. How does information get to you and what is it trying to get you to do? What information — that should get to you — does not get to you?
  7. Don’t ask the vulnerable in your community to lead education and understanding during a crisis that intensifies their feelings of vulnerability.
  8. If you haven’t met and known the vulnerable in your community, then shame on you.
  9. Center or decenter? Stack or Progressive Stack? Fast or slow. Understand the choices available and your own choice making.
  10. Build into your schedule more unstructured time, more moving about, more listening, more conversations without agendas. (Efficient systems cut out, soften, and smooth over the very things you might need to hear or see.) Time on task vs. time off task.
  11. Have a team around you that tells you when you’ve screwed up — a meeting, a speech, a turn of phrase, a decision, a blindness. Invite this intentionally; incentivize it, at the very least, with gratitude.
  12. See and credit the unseen labor that makes your community special and that keeps your community safe and healthy and kind. (Hint: it’s often happening outside of committees and unattached to titles.) [H/T to Dr. C.]
  13. How the system changes or stays the same should not be a secret.
  14. Do the work/update the software. Every day. There are no shortcuts.
  15. Insist that your community be big enough to hear and hold “Do better” and “Thank You,” to accept critique and invite repair.

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