Tea Time Reflections 4/26/2022

Hey everyone,

I’ve got some thoughts that came up after the recent two meetings in quick succession–
Tea time and a governance governance meeting discussing compensation.
The contrast between how the two were facilitated was quite striking to me.
One was extremely expansive and the other was highly focused.
That’s not to say that one is inherently better than the other.
I think these styles of facilitation exist on a spectrum.

The focused style plays nicely with the GEFNSETT style (good enough for now, safe enough to try.)
By being highly specific it allows fast turn over of agenda items.

What it doesn’t make space for is a broader palette of feelings and thoughts.

That’s where the expansive style really shines. With a softer focus, a whole spectrum of material can surface. This can be a great place for brainstorming, lateral thinking and building vibes.

I think it’s important to recognize that each of these has their place.
I believe that creating space, whether in Tea Time or somewhere else, where the format is more expansive is necessary (though not sufficient) for a sense of group cohesion.

That said, I left the recent Tea Time feeling disappointed because I was expecting to touch on each of the points in the agenda. As the expression goes, happiness is how well reality aligns with your blue print. I had a mental schema of the meeting that it didn’t, well, meet.

I went into Tea Time thinking we were going to be touching on source pod specifics and resource allocation, including an update from Post. I suggest that if we are going to devote the entire meeting to a single topic that we practice asking for consent from the participants. Having a sense of how loose or tight the agenda is in advance can also be useful.

Lest there be any doubts, I will say directly–
Chase and Aia, I think you are both awesome and I so glad that you are here.
I know that figuring this stuff out is the work and I am glad to be doing with you,
and with whoever may be reading this; unless they are merely reading it and not participating in which case-- what are even you doing with yourself right now?

Let’s be clear if we are going to meet in a focused or expansive way, with participants opting in to the format.


i appreciate the response Gaian, potentially with the tea times going forward we can allot specific time to each agenda item and before hand (or at the beginning of the call if something feels more important) and try to stick to those time slots.


The nature of these exploratory topics is that the conversations can quickly unravel.

I assumed Tea Time was a “loosely” structured heartbeat check rather than a focused and tactical meeting. Both are equally valid and needed as you suggest. I agree a clearer picture and understanding of the format/agenda/approach should be made to contributors.


I love the points you make here Gaian. Although I may have been a contributor to the expansion in the last Tea Time, how the meeting went surprised me, too.

I was expecting the prior set agenda item of allocation to be first, and and the issues we did talk about to be the one that might be dropped.

When I saw the order in which Chase made the agenda, I was surprised, but went with it. I totally get how your expectations may not have been met, and I don’t know if that was a deliberate choice on Chase’s part, or just how things came out as she typed.

I do think for all our meetings, it would serve us all to have an explicit agenda published 24 hour before the meeting, even if it is updated within that time, so that people can not only have clear expectations on what will be covered, but time to prep for it.

With ClickUp, Nav-naut is trying to facilitate this with at least a list of outstanding action items, and a place to log new agenda items during the week. The latter being accomplished by creating the next meetings notes document by the end of the current meeting.

Personally, the whole governance process we are in, and the amount of time it is taking is not how I expected to things to go from when we started it. However, I’ve been grateful for the process as really important conversations that were not happening are at least being started and a truly coherent Orca community is emerging.

Unfortunately for succinctness, some of what needs to be discussed in governance can not realistically be held in a GEFNSETT, because we are all dealing unconsciously with our desire to show up “right”, whatever we think that is. Both, you or I could have called out our surprise at the order of the agenda, but did not. Some of the issues, we are finally talking about, are conversations I have pointed to from the first month here, but misunderstanding, confusion, emotional charge, and/or all of the above did not allow the conversations to get started.

I put it to you, that until we all get more comfortable, bringing up and responding to the issues we are uncomfortable with, some conversations will need to be “expansive,” just so the unconscious can be made more conscious. As you state, they are a necessary, but insufficient condition for “group cohesion.”

Personally, I aspire to a culture that irrespective of who is formally in the role of facilitator, anyone can feel comfortable supporting the proper facilitation for the circumstances.

To your tl;dr, I will affirm it, with the addition of including a published agenda at least 24 hours in advance.



I believe all feedback is a gift and really appreciate this thoughtful reflection on Friday’s session. I also love the graphic :slight_smile:

I completely agree and I also found myself thinking “oh, we’ve spent too much time on this topic” ‒ I should have time-boxed this. My apologies for this.

Moving forward, I’ll be taking a few key steps in my facilitation to hopefully address this:

  1. Share an agenda 24 hours in advance of Tea Times with specific time allotments for each agenda item (as suggested by @aia and @John_Sterlacci)
  1. Encourage participants to raise concerns or feedback about agenda items ‒ which will certainly be more feasible when the agenda is published with sufficient time before the actual meeting (this feels like an important point raised by @aia)
  1. Begin meetings with a quick round of consent to the published meeting agenda (suggestion from @Gaian)

I’m totally open to any other suggestions around how to improve facilitation. So please don’t hesitate to share other ideas!


Absolutely. I love the idea of sharing an agenda prior to the Tea time calls!

I’ve included that as one of the key action items I’ll be taking moving forward.

Also ‒ I’d love your suggestion on tooling for this. You mentioned ClickUp for action items and logging new agenda items for Nav-naut. Do you think ClickUp could be useful for the Tea Time agenda as well?

I’m totally open to whatever tooling you think would be best to facilitate the publishing of an agenda.

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Thanks for your thoughtful response @aia, and for being able to hear the intention behind my post.
An agenda in advance that we can get ready for sounds great.

I think you are absolutely right that some of the issues that are now coming up are overdue, and perhaps Tea Time is the best place for that. There isn’t currently another meeting I know of that is a better candidate.

I think this is true. For me, it suggests that–

We need processes to address emotions that come up.
Perhaps it is a regular meeting time, perhaps it is something that can be initiated as needed.
I suggest making a space/process that is explicitly emotional in it’s purpose.
From my perspective, the mindset needed for processing logistics is different than what is needed for processing emotions. Ultimately, people want to feel heard and understood, which includes the actions that others had on us. Making space where people can feel fully heard, rather than as something in the margins of a tight agenda, is important.

The basics of NVC may be useful here–

Expressing while owning ones feelings
(Using specifics, when you did this, I felt this)
Reeling heard
(Reflective listening from the other person. As many rounds as needed.)
Making a request to support future ease and connection

I’m not attached to this format, I’m presenting it because it’s a framework I’ve found useful in my own life.

Also, 100% agree that we should all feel empowered to step forward if the meeting feels it needs a course correct. Thank you for calling this out. It will take some getting used, but I feel that it is important.

I’m glad to hear you receive it that way.

Thanks, I made a picture so I didn’t need another 1000 words.

I’m going out of my way to take the time to make things shorter.
It take longer to pare things down,
but if I can add some to my own cognitive burden to reduce everyone else’s considerably,
it seems worth it to me.

Thanks everyone for the way this was received.
It’s a pleasure to iron things out with you all…

I’m tempted to include a picture of someone ironing after what I said above,
but considering it might complicate matters, I decided to avoid the irony.


Once we have a SL ON combined “Source” Pod, those meetings will be the right place.

Right now we only have Tea Time or Community Call, and the latter is clearly not the place for it, so I agree with your assessment that Tea Time is the best place for now.