Sirocco Blue & Leadership

Following natural systems of ordering and patterning (the Sirocco and interrelated wind systems) as metaphors for cultural exchange means we do the same in the domain of “management” (though we find this word inherently problematic, man-age-ment, carrying and implying male systems of organizing with a generational twist).

Organization founder, Jacob Dyer Spiegel, never embraces fixed titles and job descriptions and, mostly because of his fascination with language and appreciation for the power of words, avoids both the creation and reinforcement of hierarchies (and their enact-ion/inaction via ‘titles’) that undercut unity.

In an interview, Jacob states that even the word ‘founder’ used above is suspect:

“Yes—with the help of family and friends, the leaders of incredible musical and cultural legacies, who patiently reminded me, sometimes not so patiently and with good reason, that I don’t belong inside of other people’s systems and that I needed to work from my own philosophical core—I may have done the legwork for implementing the business ‘plan’ and doing the writing (though the plan includes following where the writing and program design takes us) but working from the Sirocco and the ideas from my dissertation project as the source of ‘employment’ comes from them. And so who, then, is the ‘founder’? Why, just by putting into written word what they have been revealing to me for over a decade, do I suddenly take on an ownership role? They are the owners, the ideas are the owners, the languages that we bow down to are the owners. We are all facilitators.”

Since our goal is to let words take the action they should—and we have a wonderful example at the River Street Whole Foods in Cambridgeport—our work as a team is one of co-leadership at the level of facilitation. For that reason, the titles we build around have the word “facilitator” at the core.

Jacob leads all programming and relations and though he wanted to use the wind metaphor for titles, he didn’t like the ‘prevailing’ aspect of prevailing winds as a title. So he took on “lead facilitator” (no caps):

“I dislike approaching leadership as a top-down phenomenon and even more so as a science. Your work is a relationship. Your collaboration with a team involves a series of relationships. Relationships are naturally-occurring phenomena that can actually suffer when put in boxes and rigidly patrolled. Management is about relationships and they need to be free to take on new dynamics and flows. Just like the Sirocco winds. I know that facilitation in the ways and directions we plan on taking the organization depends on facilitation. Why would I arrange things around a set system and markers (CEO, Executive Director, Assistant Director, etc) that reinforces a system that works against this dynamic? Is this “mine” and not “their” project? Why are we using words of ownership when our mission is to follow the Sirocco and interrelated wind systems and illuminate cultural crossroads, build programs around those crossroads and diasporas, facilitate sharing between communities via translation in all its forms, work with students, families and organizations so that folks can travel and learn from the kind of full-immersion projects I’ve had the honor of structuring and facilitating?”

At Sirocco Blue, a virtual office that does not want one core physical space but rather work spaces, plural, in locales where publishing and contracts demand direct presence so as to strengthen relationships with partners, people develop their own functions and their titles shift so as to represent the functions, responsibilities, and gifts of each member of the team. We all write under one name because we want to! When we promote local businesses, we are doing so to highlight traits that will, hopefully, later connect so that we can architect programming around those natural ties and affiliations. When there is a topic that one of us is at the center of, we’re welcomed to throw in our name and stance and position. We don’t write “under” anyone and we don’t charge in any way for our writing. We write to share and for that reason we do so as one united voice (even with one facebook account, “Sirocco Santos,” add us and visit our Facebook Page!).

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