Heroes and the 5 year plan

The current group of planners (the communities highest executive decision makers) are trying to do some long term planning.  They have created a couple of rounds of surveys and in good commune style are bribing people to fill them out with cookies.  They cover a large number of topics: Sustainability, infrastructure, culture, raising quota, shrinking the hammocks business, recruiting more families, giving residences more autonomy and on and on.  For each topic you are asked to give both the  desirability and the priority.

So it is quite likely that there will be a number of people, who for example, want to get the roof of the Ta Chai Living Room (TCLR) fixed.  This roof is already leaking and the insulation is missing in several places.  This project will get both high importance and priority marks.  But it may well still not get done.

We run on an all volunteer system, so often times the difference between us collectively desiring something and it actually happening is there being a hero who wants to make it happen.   In the case of this example it need not necessarily be someone who can physically fix the roof, it can just be someone who wants it done and is willing to organize the work.

Sometimes you just need a hero

And at the same time we are rough on our heroes.  You can get appreciated for getting something desirable done, there are thanks and respect and those good things.  But there are also lots of concerns, and challenges and suspicions around people taking leadership roles.  You need to have the right kind of personality to make championing a cause work for you in this environment.

Deborah used to joke that we worked on a system of reluctant leadership at Twin Oaks.  Members did not really want to be managers, or planners or responsible for larger things.  And people took this on (reluctantly) because this is what the community needed.  And thus we were somewhat protected for the less noble motivations that many leaders are driven by.

And it mostly works that way.