The Relational Environment
Nurturing a cooperative culture is essential for the social aspect of sustainable community. As our current culture is rooted in separation and competition, a cooperative culture and worldview is nurtured in connection and collaboration. We encourage the following key principles as a foundation to establish and nurture a cooperative culture.
Nurturing a cooperative culture starts with common foundational understandings for relational design, and the context of intentional circle structures that hold the space for empathic connection and effective collaboration. Cooperative relationships require authenticity, self disclosure, and shared expectations. They require the cultivation of collaborative awareness, clarity of intention and motivation, and communication of the outcomes we desire. Collaborative relationships move beyond our preconceptions by opening to the co-creative possibilities.
Clear Intention and Collaborative Awareness
Clear intention is a prerequisite for effective cooperative relationships and is established through personal and collaborative awareness. Awareness requires the ability to step back and observe without evaluation. It requires the willingness to explore beliefs, emotions, intentions, assumptions, perceptions, needs, motivation, etc. It also requires the willingness to look at others without judgment, as well as an understanding of the control issues and dysfunctional patterns we tend to gravitate toward in conflict.
Empathic Connection and Compassionate Communication
Relational connection is the result of conscious and compassionate communication. In listening as an observer, we can go beyond evaluation and judgment based on our personal experience and belief system. We can listen for the emotion behind the words and the needs and values behind the emotion. We can listen for understanding, express empathy, and create intimacy.
Relational Alignment and Conscious Agreement
Relational alignment is explored in self disclosure as we share vision, values, and expectations. Collaboration is established in language by making implicit and explicit agreements. Transparency and agreement is the foundation that must be laid for relationships and organization to be built upon. Without clear agreement we only have personal expectation and assumption to guide the process.
Cooperative Decision Making & Collaborative Governance
Participatory decision making is another requirement for effective collaboration by embracing the competing perspectives, values, needs, and desires of everyone as creative opportunity.. It is built on the foundation of agreement and in the context of collaborative awareness and conscious communication. Based in the values of equivalence and transparency, it is the foundation for a dynamic process of collaborative governance.
Conflict is where seemingly incompatible perspectives, values, needs and desires compete for control. It is apparent in both our inner and outer world – internal and relational conflict often overwhelms our lives and the world we live in. Our orientation toward judgment and dysfunctional patterns fuels our fight or flight response.
Conflict can be a healthy part of life and is vital for empowerment. Successful collaboration embraces conflict in an attempt to meet the needs of everyone. In the context of collaboration, conflict can be transformed for win/win solutions and co-creative synergy.