Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Building The Wall Rapidly / #socialresponsibility #Formula1 #community #positivedisruption



At the skatepark yesterday, I picked up plastic bottles, beer bottles, beer caps, cigarette butts, abandoned clothes, pieces of broken skateboards, candy wrappers galore and lots of empty cheap cigar packets. I pick up broken glass, napkins, and even more plastic bottles. There seems to be no end in sight to the garbage in that area. Fresh garbage lands like breaking waves each day. 

As I was doing this a skateboarder with a Martha’s Vineyard ‘Black Dog’  shirt came into the park and started practicing. He was stiffly working the smaller skate bowl. I could tell his board was brand new. In talking, Josh, a young black man, was very emphatic  several times on his strong desire to get really good at his jumps and tricks on the board. I said all the customary stuff we all know about what it takes to progress. “It just takes practice. Commitment.. and one day at a time you get better at it.”

I’m no Tony Hawk by any stretch of the imagination, but I AM in the midst of co-creating a team of teachers to instruct in skateboarding classes at the very same park. I figured I could teach-practice by helping him. He’d also be helping me. We worked on ollies, the small ramps and what is known as ‘dropping in.’ At 6 feet one inch it’s not like it was easy to give him the right kinds of supports, but being that I am 6’2 I was able to do so. I needed help learning to drop in and he even helped me! I’ve done it before but I had a very nasty fall about three months ago dropping in. Thought I would not be able to walk. I can still feel the bruise in my lower back today. Epsom salt baths help alleviate the bruises.

Giving him space, I held him by the elbows as he brought down the skateboard onto the surface and would take off. We did this from different easy drop in areas around the bowls. Later, I guided him in going up and down the concrete humps, pumping the board for speed and we worked on how to hold his body when doing a 180 degree turn in the biggest bowl. 
Within a couple of tries and with the coaching help, he was doing everything on his own by the end of our 30 minute session. I was pretty happy for him. 

With the right mindset
one can move 
what seems like mountains
very rapidly

As it so happened we were talking and I asked him if he was a student. He told me he was a freshman in college studying marketing. I asked him if he had heard of the holocratic management model for business. Of course, he had and it was a subject widely-discussed in class. I said to Josh that at the skatepark we were using holocracy to achieve our goals. 

  • Creating and successfully running skateboarding classes starting Spring 2016. Differentiated Instruction. All ages welcome.
  • Empowering youth to run a business by co-leading with local skaters new initiatives
  • Establish mural art work by 1-3 artists.
  • Creating awareness in the autism and special needs communities about the benefits of skateboarding for their children.
  • Working with the city and corporate sponsors to set up ‘night lights’ at Scalzi skatepark so that experienced skaters can enjoy the park facility and be placated given the growing influx of beginner skateboarders into the limited time and space.
  • Working with the city and corporate sponsors to expand the skate park street course in the direction of the restroom facilities.
  • ‘Art on the Fence’ - Redirecting artistic self-expression from skate park walls and surfaces onto the fences with giant 8 x 4 foot wood panels.

Yes, I listed them like that to him. Josh replied an example of when this ‘holocratic’ method did not work for a company.. that it bred cronyism. I can see how that could happen. To this I replied that I liken holocracy to the servant leadership model and that in and of itself, holocracy is not strong, what makes it strong comes down to the actual people in the system. In the case of Scalzi skate park, instead of making it about one person leading a campaign (boring), it becomes about ‘us’..because it is by and for the community. This means that the leader actively listens and supports the discussion, consensus and follow-through of new ideas with an eye on supporting the team’s leadership dynamic.If revitalizing the skateboarding park were about one person then who would want to be a part of that? 


The best leader is the smart servant who looks to empowers and guides others to lead also. By decentralizing leadership, humility and teamwork can be put front and center and new initiatives by different people can be brought forth which serve the common goals. Intuitively, people welcome this attitude because it is an attitude of serving, respecting and honoring each other in healthy ways. As it is in the classroom, the success of a management system comes down to the unique individual relationships which compromise it.


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Don’t Just Be Another Brick In The Wall; #positivedisruption #education #theFreedomPapers

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