Monday, September 4, 2006

Right Here In River City

The Fifth Discipline has turned out to be one of those books that comes along at just the right moment and helps to structure all the chaotic, unstructured feelings and thoughts you have about a topic, gives you a language to talk about them and helps you see that these things DO make sense, if you have the right context in which to approach them.

The book provides a bunch of practices you can implement on your own:
  • Using system archetypes

  • Clarifying personal vision

  • Test assumptions

  • Acknowledging current reality


But I find myself full of doubt -- can I really implement not only these smaller practices but the more "big-ticket" items like world cafes, workshops, the "U" process and Open Space meetings at a company like mine? How can the drive to make a better world prosper in a company that makes software for a GAMBLING operation, for heaven's sake? Sometimes I wonder what I'm doing here. How can I make happen the sorts of transformations I want to make next to a sportsbook/poker/casino company?

But maybe these are lessons I need to learn. How could they be otherwise, really? I've often quoted at other people the glib little comment: "You find the teachers you need." Maybe it's truer than I knew. When I was living in Japan I needed Sugino sensei. Here at Riptown I need... maybe Riptown. Maybe I need to face the challenge of finding and fostering the strong, dedicated community that truly wants to achieve "mighty things" (to steal a phrase from Shaw, via The Fifth Discipline) right here, amidst server farms and hold percentages and slick advertising.

At any rate, I have to try. I can begin with the little things -- which is best. I often get seduced by the big things, probably because they afford me a more dramatic role, fattening up my self-importance, when I what I really WANT to do is to just be a part (even a wee tiny little part) of facilitating change.

I don't know where it will go. I don't know what it will lead to. I don't have any answers -- only faith that there is a better way to do things, a way that is based on respect and love for others, and generates community and trust and wisdom. If there isn't, well, I'd rather find out now.