Our RVC Block Party has been postponed to fall 2024.

Terms We Use

We have discussed many of these terms in our blog about our new organizational chart!

“co-ED’s” = co-Executive Directors


Self-managing organization

Based on the Reinventing Organizations mean that our staff are trusted to make important decisions, initiate necessary changes, and organize more fluidly. We recognize that each person in the organization has different wisdom and skills to offer, so each person within the system is trusted to make decisions within their realm of responsibility. And for us, self-management is about more than just that. We are guided by the concepts laid out in the book Reinventing Organizations, that sees self-management as one of three core, interlocking tenets, the others being wholeness (set of practices that invite us to reclaim our inner wholeness and bring all of who we are to work), and evolutionary purpose (that the organization has a life and sense of direction of its own). Together, these building blocks set a foundation for a different way of running an organization. 

Shared leadership

In which executive leadership is shared internally by two or more people.

Distributed leadership

Decision-making is highly distributed. Decisions do not need to be validated by the hierarchy nor by consensus of the community. Any person can make any decision after seeking advice from 1) everyone who will be meaningfully affected, and 2) people with expertise in the matter.

Advice Process

Key component for distributed leadership. Who is “the person most closely linked to the decision, or the person with most energy, skill, and experience to make the decision?”

That person needs to go out and seek advice from the following:

  1. Everyone who will be significantly affected by this decision
  2. People with expertise in the matter being decided

We talk about how we use Advice Process in further detail in this blog post about liberatory decision-making. You can see the comparisons with other decision-making models here in this blog post laying out the different approaches. You can also learn more at Reinventing Organizations wiki!

Liberatory

We say liberatory to center equity and justice in our work every day. We want to orient towards liberation by, in the words of the Liberatory Leadership Partnership, inviting ourselves and each other to “assess, reflect on, unlearn and discard relationships that center power based in supremacy, division and dominance, and invite in models based on equity, community, and self-determination.” 

Natural hierarchy

We say natural hierarchies to honor that power is real, and our structure is not truly “flat,” because we do not make all our decisions by consensus. The goal is to make everyone fully powerful within their role. Imagine a healthy natural ecosystem where different kinds of plants and animals and insects collaborate, each one having different kinds of power and showing up in different sizes and shapes, flourishing in the niche that best fits its needs. The natural world is incredibly complex, with millions of living organisms interacting with one another every day. And yet, nature flourishes, and can adapt to changes with incredible speed. The author Margaret Wheatley would invite us to use the term “self-organizing,” meaning to have the capacity to walk on “the edge of chaos.”