How to use this toolkit

Obviously you are welcome to browse to your heart’s content.

The toolkit is intended for individuals and groups who want to answer three key questions

What are the skills, knowledge, relationships (in our language, “elements”) we need to achieve our goals

What do we currently have and not have, or have only in the hands/head of one person?

What are we going to do to plug these absolute gaps and single points of failure, and make sure we keep up-to-date and also integrate new members

So, with that in mind, you will want probably to make a list of elements you think your group needs. The whole list, of 160 or more, can seem a bit daunting (well, it IS a bit daunting!). Therefore we have created a shorter list of elements that we think are “essential.” However, do not take our word for it – the first two groups to be “crash test dummies” for us both decided that they could whittle the list down into the mid-40s. See here for a spreadsheet of how to “vote” on the 52 elements and then analyse what your group members think.

It may be that there are several elements on which there is not agreement on whether it is actually “essential” or not. That’s actually a useful opportunity for your group to have a discussion about those elements. The discussion may reveal different/overlapping/competing visions of what it is you are trying to achieve. (You should probably get an external facilitator if you can!)

Once you’ve got your list of all the elements your group agrees you need, you then have to decide what level you need that element at (it will probably be practitioner. It might be novice or expert, but it definitely will not be ninja). At the same time, you can ask each person in the group to assess their own level on each of the elements.

See here for advice on how to vote on this, and how to analyse.

After THIS, you will then have the good stuff.

You’ll have a list of elements where there is real disagreement over what level some elements are needed at. Again, this can lead to a useful discussion.

You’ll have a list of elements which are “safe” – meaning that there are two people in the group who have the element at the level your group has decided is required.

You’ll have a list of elements which are “single point of failure” – meaning that there are is only one person in the group who has the element at the level your group has decided is required. If they were unavailable, you’d be unable to achieve some of the things you are currently assuming are doable, at least quickly and smoothly.

You’ll have a list of elements which are “absolute gaps” – meaning that there is nobody in the group who has the element at the level your group has decided is required.

If your list of absolute gaps is long, you will want to have a discussion about which ones you need to plug first. You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time, after all…