Not for Profits as Starfish in Postmodernity

I am intrigued by the starfish concepts (as defined by Brafman and Beckstrom). I’d like to present them to a fledging organization that I think could benefit from the concepts.  While I am fascinated by such theories, most folks aren’t interested in the academia and organizational management theory.

My challenge? Locate (or create?) an engaging, easy-to-digest presentation. In 3 days.

Items I’ve located so far:

Why I think the starfish holds promise for our group:

We want to work WITH people, not FOR people. Why?

WITH implies EQUALITY, every person has value and has a contribution to make and every person is also broken; not a one of us has it all figured out. Not a one. (Asset-based community development)

WITH implies INCLUSION, every person is welcome.  To quote Joe Reggin: “if you have no friend, if you have no home, if you have no place, if you are a stranger, you are hurt or wounded, rich or poor, black or white, no matter who you are, there is a place here for you. And if I need to, I’ll even scoot over and let you sit by me”.

Starfish is “what happens when there’s no one in charge. It’s about what happens when there’s no hierarchy. You’d think there would be disorder, even chaos. But in many arenas, a lack of traditional leadership is giving rise to powerful groups that are turning industry and society upside down.”

But it’s more than decentralized leadership.  It’s also connected to native and eastern ways of being which recognize that everything is connected to the WHOLE. Decisions are made by CONSENSUS.

Does our lack of rules and structure, our unwillingness to elect officers express our desire to remain a starfish?  to maintain decentralized leadership?  Look at how we have operated to date. We are using a just do it model for fundraising: Altrusa, Christmas Ornaments; for projects: Lloyd’s grant, PADS.

The importance of setting the vision. What does the OUTCOME look like?  HOPE. We are selling hope, the promise of a different world. If we can agree on values, and if we can trust each other, we can operate this way. Trust the Spirit, let go of the outcome.

Fiduciary, Strategic, Generative: great video from an inspiring speaker.

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