Here’s the latest page I posted on the www.worlditcnet.org site, which I’m developing as a possible template for future ITC groups that might want to try this comprehensive approach to ITC.
If resonant human minds act as a battery for an ITC bridge, then communication and involvement among members determine the power level of the battery.
If facilitators can be “of one mind” and foster that oneness of mind throughout the membership, the ITC bridge will be easier for our spirit friends to work with.
Without resonance, leadership can default quickly to management by personalities and egos, and then fears, doubts, and mistrust can start to suck the life energy out of any group.
It’s True in Fiction
Lots of us enjoy stories about a future in which the unruly masses are brainwashed or bullied or barbituated into submission… until a few rebels escape or prevail in their efforts to restore our “humanity”… 1984, 2081, Brave New World, Equals, Equilibrium, Inhabited Island, Maze Runner, Metropolis, Scanner Darkly, Star Wars, THX 1138… to name a few.
These dystopian books and films are about utopian dreams gone awry. Leaders have (presumably) noble intentions of improving or refining the human population for the sake of peace and order… taming the unruly masses… until those leaders, driven by their egos, become brutal repressers and abusers. The rebels, then, tap in to their own latent savagery (carnal desire, fear, anger, vengeance…) to escape or defeat the artificial order… and we’re back to square one: an uneasy, noble-savage equilibrium.
An ITC group can avoid that dystopian mess by fostering communication and involvement, and facilitators can lead the way, as I’ll explain in a moment.
It’s True in Fact
Probably the best place to look for real-life examples of communication and involvement, for better or worse, is in the big multinational corporations.
(Bear in mind, though, that success in business is usually measured in money, not in corporate culture, so to make an ITC comparison we have to look at the contentment of the employees, not of the shareholders.)
There’s such a variety of companies in the world that it can be like comparing apples and oranges… or in the case of corporate cultures, Apple’s and Google’s.
Apple and Google both enjoy massive success (in terms of profit) but are very different in terms of corporate culture and employee happiness.
Despite great health benefits and on-site “beer bashes,” the high-stress working environment at Apple has drawn more complaints than compliments. The Apple corporate workplace has a reputation as oppressive, disrespectful, secretive, sexist, and generally toxic, where men joke about rape and women’s complaints of harassment are ignored. Apple seems to be a good place for bright, competitive men, but maybe not so pleasant for people looking for a friendly, trusting workplace.
Many big companies today have similar reputations of being sexist and/or toxic in their corporate cultures.
Google, on the other hand, incorporated the slogan Don’t Be Evil into its prospectus (alluding, perhaps, to some of its competitors) and developed a code of conduct to discourage conflicts of interest and favoritism. Over the years Google built an enriching corporate culture of subsidized massages, afternoon volleyball breaks, bowling alleys, basketball courts, free chef-prepared food, and cut-rate haircuts. More important, Google has developed several innovative management tools and techniques that foster communication and involvement throughout the company. They include:
- Google Cafés, where employees from different teams can work and play together,
- Google Moderator, a program that prioritizes questions during meetings, allows voting on each issue, and keeps a running tally of votes on long-term issues,
- Weekly TGIF all-hands meetings,
- A high-tech “suggestion box” called GUTS (Google Universal Ticketing System), and
- FixIts, days when employees “drop everything” to focus on solving a critical problem.
An enriching corporate culture like Google’s (fitness, massage, free snacks, etc.) is becoming a part of several high-tech companies, such as Salesforce.com, Facebook, and NetApp.
More and more companies are coming up with clever ways to help employees feel important and get involved in the company:
- Cummins has an EEEC (Every Employee Every Community) program that encourages employees to do innovative community service… rebuilding homes after natural disasters, overcoming traffic congestion, growing fresh vegetables in poor areas, improving educational systems, protecting the environment….
- New York Life Insurance also encourages community service among its employees while emphasizing women’s rights and opportunities.
- Information Technology company EMC assigns an “alum chum” to new employees to help them get acquainted with the company culture, and there are team sports and lunch-and-learn sessions for employees.
- Southwest Airlines has developed a fast, fun, and friendly corporate culture that employees find innovative and cool.
- At Cisco, two-thirds of the employees can work from home. For those who commute to work, there are fitness centers and bike paths, cafés and gourmet food trucks, child-care centers and mothers’ rooms, and “fun funds” for team celebrations and team-building exercises.
Multiple Languages, Locations, and Cultures
Well, these are all companies based in the USA, where it’s taken for granted that everyone speaks the same language.
Successful ITC groups of the future will probably tend to be more like the Europe Union (EU), where residents have to contend with many languages and culture-personality differences. (Read more… ) Members of the same ITC network could come from many countries and speak many languages, as was the case with INIT.
So, let’s return to that US company Google for a moment. With its Google Maps, Google Translate, and other tools, I think it’s safe to say that humanity has never had a more powerful and effective melding force than Google. (At least, no worldly force. God, or finer spirit, is the great unifier in all worlds, but that’s discussed elsewhere on this site…. )
The Google Chrome browser has a feature that automatically detects your preferred language(s) and offers to translate any foreign-language webpages and documents that appear on your browser screen.
To get there, just click on the three dots near the top right of the browser window, and select Settings, then Advanced Settings.
Communication and Involvement
So we could probably learn a few things from the big companies about communication and involvement, and adapt their techniques for a worldwide research network of volunteer, part-time ITC researchers who collaborate on-line for the sake of harmony or resonance… the key words being:
- Elective (voluntary), and
… or POWER.
Again, our goal is to develop a set of tools and techniques to sustain resonance or harmony by fostering communication and involvement among the members. Here are some ideas:
- Q&A Sessions. Facilitator question-and-answer sessions, like EMC’s alum-chums, could give new members an opportunity to get a better feel for the culture of the ITC groups. The private website could include a Request a Facilitator Q&A button for new members, which would be like the popularChat with one of our representatives button on many companies’ customer service websites. The Q&A button wouldn’t open an immediate chat, though. Instead, the request would be logged, and a facilitator would contact the member to set up a convenient time and preferred mode (video chat session, online messaging chat, phone call, or email dialog).
- Chat rooms or blogs. Several chat rooms and/or blogs could be managed on the ITC group’s private website, where members can post articles and express comments and opinions on important issues about the group or its on-going ITC projects, or about ITC research in general.
- Auto translations. The website of a worldwide ITC network should take advantage of automatic language translations, like those made possible by Google Chrome. Comments and articles posted in any language could be understood by any members.
- Videoconferences would allow members to hold meetings online. Skype comfortably supports 5 participants. Zoom claims to handle 50 participants. There’s also Google Hangouts, Oovoo, and some other videoconferencing tools.
- Reflective listening sessions. These one-on-one discussions would be similar to Q&A sessions (above), except that facilitators are addressing a member’s personal issues with genuine empathy, rather than discussing general information about the ITC group.
- Community service. Doing volunteer work in the community is good for the heart and soul, and whatever’s good for the heart and soul is good for an ITC group. Serve at homeless shelters, animal shelters… anywhere you can help to alleviate suffering or make the world a better place.
- Games. A playful company culture helps keep employees happy. Most ITC researchers who collaborate with each other do so online, so some appropriate online games could be developed and accessed from the private site. The most popular games nowadays, such as League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Counter Strike, Smite, and Battlefield 4, (which entertain about 1.2 billion people a day!) are those that stimulate our fight-or-flight hormones, which of course wouldn’t be suitable for ITC. Games could be developed with plot-lines that urge players to make choices and take actions that develop resonance through good will and trust, building relationships with each other and with the spirit group. I’m not sure how “fun” games like this would be, since we carnal humans usually equate game-related fun with conquest, acquisition, and other hormone-driven activities. Still, I think it could be worth a try. A well-developed game with noble plot-lines could enliven an ITC group. Eventually we might even be able to develop games that our spirit friends would enjoy playing with us. Just sayin…. 🙂 Here’s a site loaded with free games to give you an idea of the possibilities….