Why draw maps?

I’ve been awakening to the power of visuals to help teams with decision-making.

Too often, we don’t have a common mental model and end up talking past each other. This is where I’ve found myself inside my own organization more often than I’d like to admit recently.

Today, Max Harper came to our Shared Ownership workshop and started illuminating a path forward. I put together this 10 min recap video covering a few topics:

+ Why think about power?
+ Why mapping and visualization tools might help?
+ How might it help you with group decision-making?

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So grateful

Here’s Max in our Workshop today:

Here is the google doc that gives an outline of the session Max gave today.

 

Here’s some of what it’s helping me with:

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Here’s what I’m feeling most interested in working on. It’s an example of how I’m trying to draw more of where I’m at to help develop a common mental model with my colleagues.

Here’s the 10-min recap video:

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Thanks to all of our Shared Ownership Workshop participants for helping bring this into life. Shared Ownership Workshop - New Economy Imagination Praxis session

Exhilarated by This Workshop Cohort

It’s hard to describe how exhilarated I feel right now.

The cohort for this Shared Ownership workshop is bringing together some of the most powerful & influential people I’ve met this past decade.
The workshop format integrates insights from some of the most influential experiences and learning spaces I’ve ever been a part of.
The deadline for applications to join us is tomorrow, July 21.
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The cohort includes:
  • leading shared ownership practitioners (i.e. Molly & Sarah co-founders of The Industrial Commons)
  • top influential US cooperative movement leaders (i.e. Doug O’Brien, Paul Hazen, Nathan Schneider)
  • investors that are re-shaping the way we think about risk & return as well as impact, legacy & a livable future (i.e. Marco Vangelisti, Essential Knowledge 4 Transition)
  • cutting edge community development & community ownership leaders (i.e. Jennifer Bryant, Alison Powers, )
We’re also drawing in:
  • young entrepreneurs taking the tools of private equity and applying it tackling the racial wealth gap through employee ownership (i.e. Phil & Todd from Apis & Heritage Capital Partners)
  • movement leaders from Zebras Unite, who are countering existing startup and venture capital culture by creating alternatives.
  • wise leaders from spiritual & religious traditions who are thinking on time horizons and scale of impact — that most of us are just starting to dream of (Myra Jackson, Sr. Corinne Floreck; Ryan Strode, Fr. Seamus Finn, Elizabeth Garlow)

The workshop brings together frameworks from movement organizing, cooperative economics, finance, leadership science & change-making & what’s at stake in this moment.

 

The Workshop Format

 
The format for this Shared Ownership workshop creates space to advance your own project and get feedback from generous peers reflecting back to you what they see.
We introduce frameworks for leadership & movements for change; but flip the traditional format. The vast majority of your time is interacting with peers and/or doing your most important work.
If you’re hungry to know how shared ownership companies work, legal structures, investment vehicles…. We will have prompts and reading lists that will point you towards those resources. However, the focus will be on creating an environment where you can interact with peers — who are some of the top leaders in their respective fields.  In other words, the workshop isn’t about what technical knowledge you’ll obtain, but a deeper self-awareness of how the culture changes and what you need to learn next. It’s about how ideas spread and how change happens. We focus on how you can develop what you have to offer for even more transformative impact — because of the relationships & community we’re bringing together in this cohort.
Applications are due, tomorrow, July 21 by midnight.
Workshop runs August 1 through 29, 2020
Details here and here. Q&A video here or here.
Detailed invitation document

My invitation to you

Friends, as we face pandemics and economic crises, we also face an opportunity to do the work that could shape this decade and this century.
I believe you are the kind of leader we need at the center of this work.
Do you believe in yourself enough to take the leap and commit to your most important work?
We’re here for you when you’re ready.

List of Confirmed Workshop Participants

  1. Doug O’Brien, CEO, National Cooperative Business Association
  2. Paul Hazen, Executive Director, US Overseas Cooperative Development Council, former CEO, NCBA CLUSA
  3. Sarah Clark McBroom, Equity Officer at Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation
  4. Sr. Corinne Floreck, former Portfolio Director, Religious Sisters Impact Fund
  5. Myra Jackson, United Nations Representative, Biosphere consultant
  6. Ryan Strode, Franciscan Sisters of Mary, formerly Arabella Advisors
  7. Marco Vangelisti, Impact Investor, Slow Money, EK4T
  8. Molly Hemstreet, Co-Executive Director, Opportunity Threads, Carolina Textile District
  9. Kevin Jones, Co-founder SOCAP, Co-founder, Faith+Finance
  10. Eli Andrews, Accelerate Change 
  11. Fr. Seamus Finn, President, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
  12. Elias Crim, Solidary Hall, & US Economy of Francesco
  13. Kyle Johnson, Business Services Collective
  14. Alison Power, Capital Impact Partners
  15. Sara Chester, Co-Executive Director, The Industrial Commons
  16. Dr. Tina Facca-Miess, Inspired Foresight 
  17. Jennifer Bryant, Washington Area Community Investment Fund
  18. Elizabeth Garlow, Deputy Director, New America’s New Practice Lab
  19. Phil Reeves, Partner, A&H Capital Partners, Board Member, DC Black Chamber of Commerce
  20. Todd Leverette, Democracy At Work Institute, Partner, A&H Capital Partners

 “As a result of the authenticity and skill of the facilitation, I and every group member were surprised by how quickly we were able to drop into high-trust sharing and collaboration. The amount that we got “figured out” in a short amount of time was remarkable, life changing for many of us, and potentially world transforming.”

~ Sam Hummel, former CEO, Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (Participant in April 2020 Workshop)

Do you cancel? Or do you move it online?

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Might this be an opportunity for you to re-imagine the quality and depth possible through better virtual spaces?

  • For me, most of the past 6 years I’ve built my organization while living at home in another city.
  • I’ve also built many of my deepest, most meaningful friendships, and communities online.
  • I’ve joined spirituality groups that only meet online.
  • I’ve started organizing 150+ gatherings online and made them meaningful for participants by using Zoom’s Breakout Rooms features — allowing us to have 1-on-1 networking and small group time.
  • I’ve also been using Zoom for enlisting my friends to help me make some of my hardest decisions, by facilitating virtual Clearness Committees.
  • Meaningful check-ins with friends from around the globe have made life easier in the hard times.

You can relate generously and in profound ways… all online. 

What I really want to tell you is — I think you would be surprised how much depth and quality you can find from the right kind social interaction online.

  • Seth Godin offers some of the most helpful advice. I highly recommend this post, and the Akimbo Workshops:
    • Here are two of the four leaps Seth says we need to make:
    • Leap 2: There’s a difference between asynchronous and synchronous interaction. We know this intuitively in the real world (a letter is different from a phone call) but online, it’s profound. A discussion board isn’t the same as a Zoom call. It turns out that we can create rich and layered conversations with async communication, but we also have to be just a bit more patient.

      Leap 3: More than one person can ‘talk’ at a time. In the real world, that’s impossible. At a table for six, we take turns talking. But in a chat room, we can all talk at the same time. Use it well and you can dramatically increase information exchange. (But if you try to follow all the threads, or you miss what you need, then it’s actually less effective.)

    • It’s possible, with effort, to transform business communications (and schooling) away from the top-down, synchronized, compliance-focused, off-the-record, hierarchical and slow status quo to something significantly more fluid and powerful. But we’ll need to do it on purpose.

 

Here’s what my experience has been:

  • Two years ago, I took the altMBA — a 4 week intensive workshop that was 100% online.
  • What I didn’t expect is that it transformed my perspective on how powerful virtual spaces could be. When the expectations are set for you to do your most important work and to embrace the emotional labor… and dance with your fear, I found myself being more vulnerable with the 3-4 others in my peer learning group. I found myself being more honest and real than I had been with some of my closest friends. My altMBA peers and I were together 3 days a week for 14 hours, so it was a lot of time together… but we also shipped 3 projects each week, commented on each other’s projects and wrote 3 reflections each week. Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 2.36.26 PM
  • We got a LOT of work done together. I learned to give written feedback in a way that just mirrors back what I’m seeing. The every 3 day practice of writing a dozen set of comments taught me to ask better questions. The practice of writing and publishing online my reflection and synthesized learnings from reading other’s comments has led me to take more strategic risks. My peers in the learning groups taught me to create tension in a way that created change. The whole experience showed me that we can create a culture of reciprocity, where everyone actually does give generously, because they see how wonderful and liberating the culture can be.

The problem is, many of us interact online in crappy ways, and so we judge ourselves because some spaces are a bastion of negativity and distraction.

Take the leap. You, too, can create a culture of generosity, deep relating — all online. 

My hope in this time where we increase our social distance and stop our large gatherings, that you might see this moment as an opportunity to leap. An opportunity to take a risk, try something new — and collaboratively create online spaces that build the culture of reciprocity, gift, and mutuality. You can create the kind of culture that we most want to see.

In the next few days, I’m going to share the frameworks and strategies for how the online communities I’ve been part of have completely re-shaped my thinking for what’s possible online.

I hope you’ll join me in taking a leap to try re-thinking the possibilities when you bring the right tools together. With Zoom, Slack other similar tools, I think you may find the transition easier than you thought.

But there are a few critical elements…

Let me know if you’re ready for the leap, I’d love to talk.

I also have a live Q&A, best practices sharing, and more intensive spiritual community workshop that I’m leading coming up.

Patrick Hidalgo: 5 Exhortations

Where do you start when somebody you look up to so much suddenly slips away.

Patrick or “Primo!” as we affectionately called each other was the cousin who I shared the most with.

In that spirit, here are 5 exhortations I think Patrick might have for us today as we seek to honor him.

  1. Write to your spiritual / political / movement celebrity crush. “Dude, you should write to him!” Patrick would exhort me. “Just reach out, tell him what you’re doing and what you’re thinking about — they’ll love it!” Whether it was Fr. Richard Rohr, Marshall Ganz, a New York Times columnist, or Pope Francis, Patrick would see the potential in me and also in celebrities. He saw the way a potential new connection could be mutually nourishing. Patrick saw authenticity and integrity and was drawn to these values and a desire to connect people who shared these values.
  2. “This should be a case study.” Patrick consistently wanted to elevate examples of authentic relationship-based organizing, movement building, cooperative business, and shared leadership. From his training at Harvard and MIT, Patrick saw how the next generation was learning and what kinds of ideas and possibilities they were exposed to through case studies. If he were here, he would try to persuade each of us to tell our story in a way that Harvard Business School or the Kennedy School would read and appreciate it. Go Deep. Define your terms. Explain your analysis, the hypotheses, the real impacts and the results.
  3. Embrace the political challenges by leaning into relationship. One motivation for Patrick’s move back to Miami these past few years was a decision to lean into his most important work. It was about embracing the emotional labor of having really difficult conversations and making lasting change. It was about creating tension, but doing so from a place of real authentic relationship. I think this was the core of his approach at Miami Freedom Project and also to his work at Future Partners. For example, in exploring community wealth building strategies in Miami, he would tell me about conversations with our cousin Francis Suarez, the Mayor of Miami and others who had meaningful power and real relationships with Patrick. While he may differ from their thoughts and policies on many things, Patrick sought to engage them on topics where there was potential to work together — on economic development, housing, real estate, energy policy, entrepreneurship, faith partnerships and more. While Patrick held his views and values deeply, he leaned more into his belief in the power of relationships. I can hear his voice clearly: “I was just texting with Francis… I think there might be a real opportunity…”
  4. Honor and take care of your parents. Patrick would often talk about his parents. He would give me a lot of credit for what my parents did as well. He often saw me as a continuation of decisions my parents made (for example, to live with and organize with and among migrant farm workers for many years in Immokalee). He always gave me credit for this work that my parents did, but it’s because he honored his parents as well. So much of the last few years of his life he was aware of his parents, and wanting to spend more time with them. I remember just a few weeks ago Patrick sitting next to his father in a big chair as they joined one of our Zoom video calls together to talk about Pope Francis and his call to young economists and entrepreneurs.
  5. Live Generously.  A few months ago, I was with Patrick and we were walking out of the Starbucks on the ground floor of the Citi bank tower in Miami. IMG_4172We were headed to one of the upper floors for a meeting with Ines & Valeria.  “You want anything?” “How about a coffee?” He then proceeded to insist on buying me a bottle of Fiji water…. then chocolate covered espresso beans, then pivoted to grab something healthy… He was doing what any loving friend or Latino parent would do… pushing food on me to make sure I was healthy.  It actually reminded me of Esperanza, and her unbelievable generosity to us when we would go back to Cuba and visit the Gaston family sugar mill — el Ingenio Dolores. Patrick along with his siblings, led our family in reconnecting with our parents’ roots and the lives of our parents and grandparents back on the island. He would want us to continue that work and to do so generously and with love. No matter what the situation, Patrick lived generously & would want us to do the same.

 

More Reflections

Patrick & I were part of a  5-person spirituality group that began gathering in early 2019. We took time in silence together. It was contemplative prayer that was so deeply nourishing for each of us. Then we would share vulnerably with one another. We would share our latest visions, hopes, but also the pain and grief, and suffering that each of us was in the middle of.

Patrick loved deeply. We all know how much he grieved the loss of his mother. For me, this was part of Patrick’s tuning in. He was being called into closer communion with the Spirit. He was feeling pain in a deeper way.

Patrick knew pain, heartache, and also joy in a very real way. Patrick was a romantic.

Patrick ached for love. Patrick yearned for a better world.

Patrick was always building community wherever he went. One of my recent memories was going to a rally for Elizabeth Warren last summer at FIU in Miami and everywhere we went, Patrick was introducing me to somebody new.

Patrick had this unique warmth. He would always speak so highly of me. Nobody in the world introduced me in the way Patrick did. He always spoke to the parts of me that I was still aspiring to. The way he introduced me made me feel so respected, so appreciated, and so “seen”.

Patrick really could “see” people for all that they were. He loved people. He fell in love often and lived his life from that place of love… that passion that takes hold and carries you.

Aching for Love

Thinking back to the Patrick I knew in Washington DC in 2011, he was somebody loved by so many. I remember an early February birthday party at a restaurant on the corner of 14th and U St NW. There were 25 or so folks there… many were colleagues of his from the Obama Campaign or Harvard or MIT folks or other “political elites” as he would say. Patrick was running in circles where people had lots of worldly success… and while Patrick loved those people, he was also aching for a deeper kind of love. He was wrestling with his own call to love more radically and profoundly. He was at once part of the material and political world and making change through institutions, but at the same time believing in a God that loves all people and has greater power to transform all things.

He was wrestling with how to give his life to public service in a way that paid tribute to all the privileges and opportunities he was afforded, but also listen to the cry of the poor and the call to organize for justice.

I remember this time vividly because I would recall ups and downs of his love life. The ups and downs over the years felt endless, but it was because he was aching for a deep love and part of that ache was his own searching and yearning.

A few weeks ago Patrick texted me a page out of Dean Brackley’s The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times. This book has had a profound impact on me over the years — it’s a modern-day re-interpreting of St. Ignatius Spiritual Exercises. At the end of the book it talks about “Downward Mobility”. It was something that I struggled openly with Patrick about all the time and I think it was something he was struggling with right now as well.

As the wealthiest country in the world — and as people privileged by our refugee/immigration status from Cuba — how do we make sense of our story? How do we make sense of all the privilege we have as people living in America?

How do we reconcile that with the pain and suffering of so many in Cuba? How do we reconcile that with the suffering and poverty of so many in the US and around the globe?

Patrick felt called to serve. He felt called to serve by being a public servant, but more than just being in politics, he was an organizer. He was a movement builder. He brought his whole self to the work of encountering other people, and building something from the relationships and the connections that formed when we were together.

I remember going to one of our epic Gaston family reunionsIMG_4247 — I think it must have been 2004 — and hearing about our cousin who had gone to live in Dubai. That was Patrick. He moved there for love.

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I think Patrick’s journey to heaven this week is marked by his following God’s call of love.

Yearning for a Better World

My first real encounter with Patrick was in 2007 at a Raices de Esperanza conference.

He had convinced me to go and since I was just finishing a class with a professor who was a journalist who had spent several years in Cuba — I was just awakening to my own identity as a Cuban American.

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Patrick was my older cousin who was already well known in this space and was the most generous cousin you could imagine. He made me feel so welcome. He introduced me and helped me feel at home as I came out and began to realize how it was okay to identify as the son of a Cuban immigrant. He did it in a way that made me proud.

My affection grew for Patrick when we hung out in 2008 and 2009 in Boston while he was getting his graduate degrees at Harvard and MIT.

One of the papers he wrote in grad school was about the need for a new kind of climate movement. He was very influenced by Marshall Ganz (Harvard Kennedy School sociology professor & community organizing guru, who had worked with Cesar Chavez) and Rebecca Henderson (MIT Sloan School Professor of Strategy) and at the time invited me to a special gathering in 2010 that had a profound influence on my life.

That 2-day gathering of environmental leaders helped me find a way to integrate the energy consulting world I had been in with community organizing, and the hopeful movement building that Patrick knew was part of what was and is needed to build the beloved community.

Most recently, over the past year, I’ve watched Patrick’s drive and passion come alive as he’s begun to birth the Miami Freedom Project. A couple weeks ago he was scheming with me about how this initiative could change the political and economic narrative of south Florida, by bringing together the best from Pope Benedict, Pope Francis, the call of St. Francis of Assisi, and our current political and economic moment.

He was in the middle of building the kind of movement, the kind of community that Patrick always built.

It was the kind of community that you wanted to be part of. It was one that was fun, liberative, free, loving… but also grounded in reality. It was sober in it’s assessment of the world as it is.

And at the same time it was full of possibility. It was full of hope and belief and trust that God would be in the midst of us, moving in and through us, and breathing life into every conversation.

I think Patrick trusted that with all of his being.

He knew God was present. He brought that intense presence to each conversation.

One of my last in person conversations with Patrick was in July 2019, on the roof of my aunt Maria Luisa Gaston’s apartment in Calle Ocho. We had just picked up some food and it was a warm night, but cool in that the breeze was blowing beautifully on the top of this building.

Patrick opened up with me about his writing life. He was finding so much meaning and purpose in his writing. He was integrating the story of his grief with his mother, with the new spiritual calling that he was finding more life in.

He was telling me about a retreat he had gone to in the Southwestern US with Mirabai Starr and how much spiritual nourishment and healing he was getting from that experience.

It was helping him live each day from a deeper, more grounded place. A place that I believe was more in tune with God — and the Spirit.

While I still have so much more to process, I wanted to share these initial reflections.

I loved Patrick so much.

This is Why I am Writing

I believe you have a hunch about your most important project. The one that if it really succeeds could really make a difference. It could contribute to something extraordinary.

I’m writing because I want to invite you into a caring community that has also glimpsed this part of themselves and knows they need more support and encouragement to work on this most important project.

As an organizer, I see my work as bringing people together, helping to create and hold the space where we can listen and help each other see what’s really holding us back.

In this blog, I hope to share some of what I feel might be my most important work — reflections on co-op economics, heterodox economics, better ways of thinking about our retirement and college investing and personal finance…Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 11.17.34 AM

But also to share other ideas and reflections on what I’m trying to do with a young small organization that is desperately trying to find where it can have the most powerful impact — on the economy, in our schools, in our religious communities, in how we collaborate.

The journey has been way more emotional and rigorous than I expected. The stakes keep feeling higher and the fear and anxiety grow. But our potential to do good in a deep and meaningful way is growing as well. My missteps and shortcomings as a manager — something I once thought I’d be great at and really enjoy — are also giving me lots to reflect on. I believe that in sharing all this with you, you might have some advice and suggestions for me.

My hope is that by writing an invitation to you every month (and perhaps a couple other quick notes in between) will feel compelling to you — so much so that you’ll write back and engage.

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Once I hear from enough of you that you’d like to take a leap with me, I’d like to launch an intensive workshop. This would be a curated cohort that will combine the best of what I’ve been learning from a truly transformational leadership workshop I went on in early 2018, mastermind groups I’ve been a part of over the past year, a couple coaches and colleagues who have been shaping me, and my desire — my desperate desire — to see more of you deeply committed and ruthlessly pursuing what you feel might have the biggest chance at really making a very real and significant contribution.