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RSS: Comments

Book Project for Poor Students in Uganda


Kicked Out

Posted to: Book Project for Poor Students in Uganda by John Powers (139), Thu, 01 May 2008 18:56:42 PDT
Feedback score: 0 +|-
Comments: 11 by 6 members
Viewed: 109 times by 14 members

It's a bit of a glitch, perhaps temporary, but Kasinja wants to sever ties with me. Certainly I don't want to delete the group or discourage this effort in any way. But clearly I need to honor the Kasinja's feelings on this, so I'll stay out of the way here. I'm sure I will read anything posted to the group, if it remains active. I do encourage anyone who has something to offer to support the project. The production of educational materials specific to countries around the world using computer and communication technologies is very much worth supporting.

By Mukasa mulwana peter (26), Fri, 02 May 2008 02:22:32 PDT
Comment feedback score: 0 +|-

I did not send you a way because as a person i can not decide for the whole Organisation. The difference we had were personal and i called for atalk with you. The point comes back to responsibilities each of us was assigned. We have to check on the progress of each member and account to why failed to do his or her responsibility. come back and we take the organisation forward.

By Linda Nowakowski (230), Fri, 02 May 2008 02:49:54 PDT
Comment feedback score: 0 +|-

I am interested in assigning tasks in a collaboration.

Usually when ever anyone is assigning tasks in any structure of organization, consideration is given to their skills. From the beginning John was totally out in the open that some of the tasks "assigned" to him were not things that he had any skills in.

Last night Kasinja and I talked. He wanted to know what I was doing for the project. SPACE has assigned me these tasks:

  1. Promoting the organisations awareness in USA.
  2. Establishing and maintaining links with local government and non government agencies, international agencies in Canada.
  3. Organising fundraising events for the Organisation in USA.
  4. Recruiting Volunteers from USA.

We'll see how it goes, I'm not sure I'm really the right person for all those duties.

ON top of that, that post was April 26th. Today is May 2. That is less than 1 week and he is being called to task for having "failed to do his or her responsibility"?

Collaboration is about people plugging in to tasks that they are comfortable with and working as they can. John has used a term on a number of occasions that I really, REALLY like. HERDING CATS.

This is not a business. No one is getting paid. No one has a boss. We come here to work together giving what we have. I have been really impressed with some of the people around here who are incredible cat herders. They can inspire a cat to mother a bird. The operational word there is inspire. You can't assign a cat the task of mothering a bird.

A number of people have offered you guys advice. Good, sound, experienced advice. And sometimes it feels like you don't just ignore them but are rude to them when they offer. That isn't the kind of behavior that inspires cats.

John is one of the finest cats we have around here. I have never met a guy with more intellectual resources at his finger tips. Of what I know of John though, I don't think I would have "assigned" him any of the tasks you did. (For starters, with all of the work I have done with all of the people in this community over the last 2+ years, I have never ever assigned anyone a task. Things got done though. Incredible things.)

Maybe we need a discussion on cat herding techniques?

By Mukasa mulwana peter (26), Fri, 02 May 2008 22:32:21 PDT
Comment feedback score: 0 +|-

There is a point you are missing Linda, every one agreed to take responsibility to make the organisation move. You have talked about us being rude, in how many times have we been rude to you? can you list the any case we have been rude? I mean we have to have responsibilities and we need to check each others progress, for us we are moving forward. Assigning tasks was not my suggestion, it was a suggestion of members and we can not force some body to take on responsibility he or she doesnt like. So linda i dont think assigning responsibilities to members was a bad idea and in any way we have to continue with our project because other members are still intrested and our clients are promising. Thank you.

By Mark Grimes (222), Sat, 03 May 2008 07:35:46 PDT
Comment feedback score: 0 +|-

Having worked with hundreds of volunteers over the years, I can't remember a time when one was kicked out.

That being said, any goals and jobs are usually tied to timelines and expected outcomes. 7 days is a pretty short timeline, and the goals as written above are really rather broad.

By Evvy Bryning (130), Sat, 03 May 2008 09:09:36 PDT
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I just have to step in and add a few thoughts here. Mark is right about the goals being rather broad. In fact, as I read them over several times, they are enormous. These are the same kind of tasks and goals I have been working on for LiA. I have been working diligently for 4 months and am no where near accomplishing anything of significance. Plus, the whole thing just collapsed on us and now we are in the process of having to start all over again. It happens and these things take a lot of time and effort. You have a lot of failures before you have a lot of success.

John, I admire you for even considering taking on these tasks as an idividual. I of all people understand what kind of commitment that is and what kind of sacrifice it will entail. I cannot believe that someone would be eliminated or even criticized for not completing these kind of tasks in 7 days!!!

By chris macrae (22), Mon, 05 May 2008 01:54:44 PDT
Comment feedback score: 0 +|-

my experience on kicked out is the opposite of mark's and linda's - it happens very often when 2 entrepreneurs life work's accidentally clash; deep innovation at a practical level is always (subliminally if not consciously) about steering different groups of people through conflicts as anyone who has practised harrison owen's Open space methods can attest to

trying to learn from this is important but also very contextual; in the unlikely event that john and kasinja want to join in an external email conversation with me at - my advantage being I am independent of either; I edit education entrepreneur guides as one of my main activitoies but dont know the case involved; and yup I know many of the unluckly accidental conflicts that get between 2 people when they passionately want to save part of the world

By Linda Nowakowski (230), Mon, 05 May 2008 02:46:12 PDT
Comment feedback score: 0 +|-

What you are describing Chris is not a collaboration.

By chris macrae (22), Mon, 05 May 2008 10:50:35 PDT
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thanks for your definitive judgement- I am however surprised there was enough information to make this call; conversationally what was the intent if I may dare ask?

By John Powers (139), Mon, 05 May 2008 11:37:38 PDT
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Thank you Chris for your wise observation about how common conflicts are in among entrepreneurs! I also thank you for your kind offer to mediate this issue.

I very much find value in the public transparency of online collaborations. Back channel communications are frequently necessary, but there are some dangers too; dangers not so unlike gossip. Sometimes it seems that the piling on that goes on too frequently in online disputes are fueled by back channel discussions.

At least from my perspective I'm ready to move on to address the need of the production and provision of educational materials outside the structure of Uganda SPACE. They have an organization with members, so my participation is hardly critical to their success. The best I can do is to be helpful. My take on the current situation is that resolving the issues about my participation is more a distraction than a help.

Thank you again for your interest! Many of us here at Ned are eager to address the need for educational materials. This is work that we all can find ways to support.

By Mukasa mulwana peter (26), Tue, 06 May 2008 03:19:00 PDT
Comment feedback score: 0 +|-

Thank you all for your comments. It is too bad that the cause we started at ned may end up with out prodution results because of management. As a group we sat yesteday and dicussed our issues.On the behalf of Uganda SPACE, i Convey our apology if what we did has raised many people's voices. But as agroup we have a plan of how we mananage the group activities to drive it to sucess. I have been talking to John Powers quite often and on many issues. He proposed that members should be assigned tasks, which we did. John powers was not happy with the role we gave him and i told him that am going to call a meeting so that we can give your responsibilities to some one else and i think this led him to think that we have kicked him out. John powers requested me to own the group which i declined.We can not force John powers to serve the group. I think we started the idea without his consent and we can not stop working with the group because he has left. If John powers is still willing to work with us, for us we have apologised if what we did isolated you from the group but remember you are the one who told us to assign responsibilies. So feel free to tell us what role you want to do for SPACE and we resume work. We are ready to work with you again, the indifferences came in but we apologise for that. Thank you.

By John Powers (139), Tue, 06 May 2008 20:29:47 PDT
Comment feedback score: 1 (*) +|-

Kasinja I acknowledge your apology :-) And I am so very happy to see you write:

[W]e can not stop working with the group because he has left.

That's exactly the right spirit! Work diligently towards your goals and you'll be amazed how far you can go.

Online collaboration is interesting. Sometimes people talk about a gift economy and an abundance versus scarcity model. Like a whole bunch of topics, this is one that a person can delve very deeply into. Now probably isn't the time, or you may not have the inclination to look into it. But should you ever want to, there is a series of four articles by Theriomorph --that link is to the first one at Creek Running North, and at the end is a link to the next, and so on--which is the best exposition on the subject I've read. I want to quote a little bit from the last of the four essays. Theriomorph writes:

The people I’ve seen who live well and comfortably, and who effect real good in the world share. They are generous with their resources, no matter how limited those resources might be. They also surround themselves with people who do the same; a generous community prevents any individual from being depleted.

They create a micro-culture in which the baseline assumption is that it benefits the whole community when its members care for each other, actively. Not ‘what are you looking to take away from me,’ but ‘how can I help?’

Almost all the time the people here at Ned are operating from this sort of perspective. There are many people in the world and online acting from this perspective, but not everyone does.

Everyone here is involved in some sort of work where they are giving their time and interest. A lot of this giving is done publicly and some of it online. So we're all quite familiar with some big messes, rough set backs, and impossible situations.

The people you see here are nodes in a network that is so big it's hard to imagine. Over time, just by hanging out at approximately the right places online, parts of the network of people operating from an abundance perspective get revealed.

Just for example: I have really only read one of George Ayittey's books, "Africa in Chaos" but his writing and thinking is very much an influence on many who I read and converse with regularly. Last June in Tanzania was the Ted Global Conference and it was Ayittey's Ted Talk that really framed the conference and sparked much conversation. Jim Carroll started a thread here to discuss his talk. In some of my posts I was pushing against some of Ayittey's ideas, probably in a not too generous way. But the next thing I knew, on Linda's invitation George Ayittey was here pushing me back--very nicely.

I'm here at Ned, I'm online at other place too. Ned is not for everyone, and it may not be the community that you or other at Uganda SPACE find fits well for you now. The spirit of the place is still a generous community.

You can find much value here. The approach that will go a long way, not just here, but generally in pulling people in to Uganda SPACE's efforts to make educational materials available to students in Uganda, is the shift that Theriomorph points too: Not ‘what are you looking to take away from me,’ but ‘how can I help?’

Kasinja, you've gotten lots of positive feedback here, and the other members of SPACE are most welcome. Trying to help, trying to reach the goals of the organization are good. Keep that in the forefront.

If there are ways I can see to be of service I will try. Right now I've put lots of ideas out, but really I think the work is in building the organization there in Uganda. I'm not sure what I have to offer on that. One suggestion I've made is that the Uganda SPACE members make online portfolios about themselves. I think these pages may be useful not only for the organization but in job seeking. That's just a suggestion, but something I'd be very happy to help members do.

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