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Munafo Core Values: MCV14 — Enfranchise Each Level    


Enfranchise Each Level

This is a broad generalization that includes within it several principles of government that apply to multi-level egalitarian organizations. The "levels" are the same ones referred to in MCV05.

In extreme cases, such as when modifying the constitution or by-laws for a system of government, Enfranchise Each Level entails manifesting a system of checks and balances that guarantee division of power between each level.

A Two-Level Example

To illustrate the concept consider a small group of people in a meeting. In this example, there are two levels, Individual and Team. To be compliant with MCV14, two things must be present:

For example, if someone uses time in the meeting: the group respects them by giving the type of support they request (for example "just listening", or "asking questions is okay but no advice") — and the individual supports the group by staying within the topics and/or other guidelines previously agreed to by the group. By respecting each other, the two levels share control over what happens — both are enfranchised.

If the individual and the group both have a stake in the outcome of some activity or project, the core value Enfranchise Each Level is present when there is proper balance between responsibility and ownership.

Enfranchisement in Management

Another "two-level" example occurs in everyday manager-worker relationships. Enfranchisement is a balance between manager and worker, with more weight given to one side or the other depending on the style (micro- or hands-off) of management being employed. There is more on this is in my management entry.

A Three-Level Example

In a more elaborate situation, imagine several sports teams organized into a division. The levels are Individual, Team and Organization. There are many examples of situations in which the needs of the individual, the needs of the team, and the needs of the organization pull in different directions, leading to conflict. Here is the essence of MCV14:

The individual, the team, and the organization all depend on each others' success. Therefore, each must have some governmental power over the other two.

Let's take an example from professional sports. from time to time, individual players move from one team to another. There are many ways in which moves can be negotiated and decided — and most of them do not satisfy MCV14. For example:

An Idea Petitioning the World

Imagine that you are in a complex social structure, such as a volunteer organization with multi-level hierarchical leadership structure — and you have a question, a problem, or a dispute with the way things are being done.

In traditional top-down control structures one would "follow the chain of command" — take it to the person "above" you, such as your manager, then if not resolved, appeal it to the next level up, and so on. This model is used in the legal (court) system, and it is one way in which we enfranchise each level.

In organizations without explicit managers or top-down control, the process translates into something like the following: First, discuss with individual people one-on-one. Give them time to consider it and give their reactions or feedback. If that doesn't resolve the issue, bring it up at a small group meeting. If still unresolved, start talking with people outside your small group, or get it on the agenda of a larger group meeting. Continue to expand your work to broader circles of people (higher "levels") until the issue is resolved. Taking time at each step constitutes enfranchising each level. Skipping levels, such as by going to the small group meeting right away before discussing it with anyone, would violate the core value.

In an earlier form, MCV14 was written Up One Level, Until Resolved or Applied. In general, it applies to the way and new ideas, initiatives, investigations, etc. need to work their way into gradually widening circles within an organization. The idea could start with an individual, a pair, a team, or some other group of people. It then expands in increments to ever-larger groups of people, pausing each time to give the new larger group time to evaluate and/or assimilate the new idea.

One can think of it as if the idea has to earn status gradually, as if the idea itself were following the Code of Honor principle Earn and Honor Rank. For an illustration of Up One Level, Until Resolved or Applied, see the page on accountability.

The same principle applies to strict top-down organizations, such as companies, where ideas and policies flow strictly from "leaders". Although they are "in charge" the leaders still need to try out and refine their ideas. Try out the idea with a few trusted individuals, and refine based on the results. Then expand to a group, then a larger group and so on. Stop expanding when you've gotten up to the level at which the policy is to be applied. Such a process does not admit doubt on the leader's part, but represents a dedication to commitment before ego.

Organizing Learning, Skill Development, Personal Growth, etc.

Enfranchise Each Level applies to the process of improvement through learning. It is usually implemented in the syllabus (progression of activities, or lesson order) of personal development courses.

Again, see the levels as defined in MCV05 and consider the following ideas:

The strength of the relationship depends on the maturity (and other positive qualities) of the individuals.

The effectiveness of the team depends on the strengths of the relationships between its members, and on their individual strengths.

The success of the organiztion depends on the effectiveness of its various teams.

and so on.

Because of this, when pursuing a program of education that covers different levels (individual strengths, relationship strategy, teamwork, etc.) it is important to cover the lowest level (individual) first, and move up. Such an ordering might start with awareness, then listening and communication skills, then teamwork and so on.

If you work on relationship strategy before establishing the necessary individual qualities and skills, then you have "disenfranchised" the Individual level.

MCV14 for Teams

When this core value is present:

The team respects the leadership of the larger organization. (+mcv14a)

The team provides a member with support and/or interception before that member brings an issue to the division, league or higher level. (+mcv14b)

The team enables the individual to interact with and recieve support of the higher levels, regardless of any conflict of interest with the team. (+mcv14c)

The team incorporates the opinions of all members and actively solicits opinions when needed. (+mcv14d)

When this core value is lacking:

The team is ignoring, or bypassing, the leadership of the larger organization. (-mcv14a)

A member has an issue and brings it to the higher levels of the organization, because the team is/was not of any assistance. (-mcv14b)

The team actively interferes with an individual's involvement with the larger organization. (-mcv14c)

The team suppresses individual opinions, or exhibits significant bias favouring some members' opinions over others'. (-mcv14d)

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