27 June 2022

Rust never sleeps

For those under 64 years of age – the title of this blog is the name of a 1979 album released by Canadian-American singer-songwriter Neil Young and the band Crazy Horse.

Throughout the Collective Intelligence community in this post COVID-lockdown era, we’re having to dust off our rust and get back into the mode of meeting in-person. It’s been a bit of a wake-up call to see how squeaky our well-oiled meetings-machine has become at times, and how some of our members are rusty too when it comes to engaging with their teams. Real face-to-face human interaction takes practice!

It’s truly wonderful to be back in action and getting feedback from members after their catch-ups over this past month. We never got this type of rich feedback from the online team sessions. We love our work with people.

The gift of COVID has been that many of us have learnt how to engage effortlessly on Zoom meetings and the like. It’s an awesome way to do business, cutting down on climate-unfriendly travel, and allowing us to work from home more. However, as we know, there’s nothing like being in the same room with people to really connect.

Team Whanau Harakeke

Image: One of the first Collective Intelligence peer support teams to meet in June – Team Whānau Harakeke – pictured here in the Wairarapa with facilitator Sue Johnston (far left). Empty chairs around the table are still a feature of face-to-face meeting life – as sickness and a host of other big life’s-getting-in-the-way reasons continue to keep people apart.

Recently our Collective Intelligence Advisory Board got together in person for the very first time and it was awesome. What I found interesting was at the next board meeting (which was back online) we had a whole new level of trust and interaction because of that previously nurtured in-person connection.

So, here’s what I have been pondering. Are some people just happier connecting virtually than in person? I don’t know the answer to that but I suspect that it might be the case. Or are we losing/forgetting the skills so essential to village-life and community-making in general? I suspect that might also be the case.

Trust is a huge part of effective face-to-face relationships and peer-to-peer learning and support groups like ours – as this excellent recent article from HBR sets out.

If you look at our world leaders, they go to extraordinary lengths to meet each other in person. That’s when the trade deals are done, always in person. It’s a big deal – even now.

It takes effort to engage
And so, as our Collective Intelligence community comes blossoming back to full in-person meeting life, and our teams meet in-person again I urge you, our members, to remember the effort it takes to engage with other humans deeply – not for a few superficial hours online, but in all your naked (figuratively!), in-person glory for a day and a half.

We cordially invite you to join...

That’s where the magic is and always has been, being open and vulnerable in each other’s presence. The busy-ness (and business) can wait peeps – invest in yourself and others and you will be amazed again at the rewards.

Doing our work with aroha
It was pointed out to me many years ago by former Collective Intelligence member Che Wilson, that one of the key pillars of Collective Intelligence’s teamwork setting is ‘aroha’. Our work together is always done with ‘aroha’ – ‘the potential within that you direct to other people’ – a reciprocal sharing of breath, of mana, and of love. Something that needs to happen kanohi ki te kanohi (in-person) and it’s a real joy to watch it in action. Not quite sure what I’m on about? Have a listen to Che’s 3-minute explanation of the subtleties of this beautiful Pasifika concept.

So, my question for you to reflect on is this,

Are you ready to engage with the world in person yet?


If not, what needs dusting off?

If you’re craving some of that in-person aroha to enrich your life at the moment, that alchemy of a special group of people showing up for one another…then get in touch with me to have a chat about our membership options.

Want to become a different type of leader?

Ian Harvey (Harv)


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