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Up Close with the Chaordic Initiative Drafting Team

From: LEAVEN, Vol. 37 No. 6, December 2001-January 2002, p. 131.
Lisa Serebrin
Scottsdale AZ USA

The Drafting Team recently held a third meeting to continue its work. Using a Chaordic process, we are examining the framework within which Leaders work and conceptualizing ways of working together with the goal of allowing both Leaders and the organization as a whole to reach a higher potential. This report is a very personal account of our activities to demonstrate how we work together.

We are a group of 18 individuals from around the world. Most of us are LLL Leaders, although our numbers include one retired Leader, one father (husband of a Leader), and one Medical Associate. We conduct our meetings and communications in English, however, seven different first languages and 11 countries are represented in our group. We sometimes intentionally utilize languages other than English to help clarify the essence of meaning in a particular part of our work.

Our first meeting was held in April 2001 in Rockville, Maryland near Washington, DC, USA. When we came together as a group for the first time, we had already introduced ourselves to each other via email. We spent a little time getting to know each other, and then with the help of three facilitators from the Chaordic Commons, we launched into the work at hand. Our meetings usually run from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. In the evenings we continue our dialogue informally in small groups over dinner or meet with local Leaders.

At that first meeting, we began looking at La Leche League [International] though a series of six “lenses” or perspectives that include Purpose, Principles, Participants, Organizational Concept, Constitution, and Practices. (For further explanation on the Chaordic Lenses, see the Setember-October 2001 issue of Leaven.) In trying to understand these perspectives, we have generated many questions. (See sidebar to answer the questions if you have not done so yet.) These questions have been posed to the LLL community through a number of channels. They also served as the starting point for our stimulating discussions during the World Assembly and Leader Breakfasts at the International Conference in Chicago, Illinois, USA, July 2001.

Our second meeting took place in late May 2001 in Paris, France. We continued our work on the six lenses and participated in some useful exercises guided by our facilitators. On the last day of this meeting, members of the Drafting Team and its facilitators met with a group of French Leaders to discuss their questions and concerns about our process. The Drafting Team values connecting with local Leaders face to face. These meetings provide a wonderful opportunity to incorporate more ideas and perspectives into our work. Another team of Leaders, the Review Network, has been assembled to find many ways to communicate with the LLL community about this process.

Our third meeting was held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in September 2001. Our work is beginning to come together in a more defined form. In order to gain insights and generate new ways of thinking, we use various tools or processes. For example, we sometimes break into small groups and write ideas on pieces of paper that we then group, regroup, and organize to see how the pieces of the “puzzle” might fit together. We may spend 15 minutes brainstorming as a large group to bring many ideas to the discussion table. We may take a walk around the neighborhood with a partner and envision how it would be different if breastfeeding were the community norm, and what we would have to do to make that happen. We find the different perspectives held by Drafting Team members can generate many ways to see the picture. We use endless pages of flip chart paper and have worn out more than one box of markers!

During our time in Montreal, we met with some Canadian Leaders to discuss their questions and conduct a short exercise to share the experience of one step in our process. Our team will continue to meet together until mid-2002 in order to complete our work of bringing the six lenses into our organization.

All of the feedback we receive is read thoroughly, considered carefully, and incorporated into our work as we go forward in shaping the vision of La Leche League for the 21st century. We are excited about the strength the process can bring to this organization, which is so close to our hearts.

Chaordic Explorations

Thirteen Questions

1. What is the heart of LLL (words, phrases, ideas)?

2. Does LLL exist to serve babies? Mothers? Leaders? Parents? Families? How and why?

3. Do you really believe that every mother can know what is best for her baby? How does this belief affect your view of LLL?

4. What are the ideas at the core of mothering through breastfeeding that could live at the center of LLL (as an organization)?

5. How can LLL have a role in changing the world?

6. When looking at your work in LLL, what meaning do the words respect, tolerance, and flexibility have for you?

7. What does support mean to you?

8. What could LLL support look like in your community?

9. How can/does LLL support: Mothers? Babies? Leaders? Health professionals? Fathers? Families? Others (please name)?

10. How could a helping organization such as LLL resolve conflict within the organization or between Leaders?

11. Is it every mother’s right to have information and support about breastfeeding her babies? Why or why not?

12. Is it a baby’s birthright to be breastfed? Why or why not?

13. What is the community of LLL?

Lisa Serebrin lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA with her husband, Frank, and their three sons Dashiell, Julian, and Ezra. She has been a Leader for 6 years, and led a group in Houston, Texas, USA for 5 years before moving to Arizona.

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