Saturday, March 24, 2007

Radical Transformation for Integral Salons

After reading Keith Bellamy's article on Integral For the Masses: Integral Leadership - Steve Frazee on The Gulf Between Theory and Practice (Integral Leadership Review), I posted the following comment:
"Wonderful insight into what a second tier organization and a path to it can look like. Particularly interesting to me is the lesson for integral salons, and the continuing reminder it's not enough to just operate a non-profit organization from later stage perspectives, but that the earlier structures must be in place, including legal and financial. It's not enough to be a benefactor, or for a bunch of individuals to come together, no matter where they might be developmentally, and claim second tier organizational status. Ultimately, if our non-profit salons/organizations are going to stand on their own, they have to be able to pay their own way, either through organized donations or membership fees. Sometimes the reason we seem arrogant is because we are."

I've been thinking about this for several years. It first came up with my friend Cherie Beck, who is on the Board of Directors for the Center for Human Emergence, when we talked about how our salons might support themselves, and how could we facilitate that shift?

I think we (SeattleIntegral) is at the point where not only can that shift happen, but in terms of evolutionary organizational development, it must happen. Let me explain.

For the last four years, I have been, and remain, SeattleIntegral's only benefactor. During that time, I've gone through printer cartridges, paper, office expenses, etc. For the last three years, I have totally supported the expense of maintaining our Meetup groups at $9 a month. For the last year, I alone have born the cost of monthly web hosting, domain registration, and more. Now, in the greater scheme of things, that's not a lot of money, but I'm a professional working stiff, and it is something.

In other words, I literally own SeattleIntegral. I'd like to give it away, but I can't: It has to be taken from me. You can't give away responsibility, it has to be taken. I can provide the context in which others can step up and assume the responsibility, but that's their choice, to do it or not to do it.

I understand SeattleIntegral is bigger than one person, and quite frankly, besides my children and my love, it is my greatest legacy to date. If I were to go away tomorrow, SeattleIntegral would continue, but it would be very different, at least for a while. The Core (leadership) Group has been a major step forward in the planned transformation of the salon, and I've been the major proponent of that vision.

Now my vision continues to expand, and it's clear to me that for the salon to move forward, evolve, not stagnate, and to step fully into second tier, it must first develop a healthy, prosperous first tier structure. That means it must support itself somehow, and that's what I'm going to lay out in the next blog: How this can, and must, happen.

Meantime, there are other compelling reasons why this must happen. SeattleIntegral has always been a model for other salons to emulate, and we have an opportunity to continue doing so. In addition, Integral Institute will one day begin asking for membership dues from salons to be recognized. If we already have a model in place, it will be difficult not to have I-I take our model into consideration as they establish their own. Not only will that benefit us, but also every other salon that follows us.

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