Can a project run without leaders?
How do you coordinate a project when there are not designated leaders?
I’d like to try and answer these questions by looking at our pet project – the gift circle.
My friend Matthew and I have played more of a leadership role in getting our gift circle going. Its been going for 6 weeks now. Would the gift circle survive if Matthew and I both disappeared? Its probably borderline right now whether it would keep going without us. The project has a bit of a group-owned energy to it right now that maybe enough to keep it going, or maybe not enough. I can forsee how we could transition to a state in a couple of weeks where it runs more on the power of everyone and then the circle would survive if Matthew and I were not around.
What would help it transition to an open collaboration ie nonhierarchical, emergent, participatory, open, and non-owned?
I think giving more people a chance to facilitate the meetings would empower more people to understand more fully how the circle works and to feel more ownership and responsibility for it. As one of the early facilitators I can help bring people up to speed of the a number of subtle things to be aware of in facilitating.
Engaging people to think about what is the best way to run the circle is helpful, and then giving them the tools to help bring about those changes is helpful.
Creating a task list which is open to anyone to volunteer to help with is useful. As people volunteer they become more involved with the project, and meld their energy with it.
Helping the network grow, facilitating people to get to know each other more and more will create a community around this project which will then distribute the intelligence of how to run it throughout.