Wednesday, March 2, 2016

What would a Teal contract look like?

As I started the Scrum Breakfast Club, I quickly realized that the SBC should be a Teal organization. Two reasons: First, we have an overriding vision to help people transform their worlds through Scrum and related practices, frameworks and mindsets. 2) The SBC should create value for all its participants, i.e. members, chapter hosts and yes, yours truly as founder of the club.

The SBC is at its essence a franchise model. Independent Chapter hosts organize workshops in their regions under the banner of the SBC. But it should be a Teal franchise not an Orange franchise. How is that different?

I discovered one aspect where things must be different: Contracts (or should I call them "Agreements"?) The first thing I created were simple terms and conditions for regular members. Then I needed an agreement between the chapter hosts and the club. Then, as the club grew, I discovered the needs to expand the members agreement.

The most challenging was the Chapter Hosts agreement, because it was very complex and well, money was involved. I used as a model another franchising agreement that I am familiar with. Unfortunately the language of this contract (probably like most contracts) is the language of Orange, which among other things means the language of command and control. This produced quite a dissonance between my goal and purpose of creating a collaborative organization and the language of control present in the contract.

My second iteration on the member terms and conditions went better. I realized the purpose of the T&C was to answer questions about the relationship between the members and the breakfast club. Why not phrase the T&C as and FAQ? So I used that as a format. And I think it produced a much friendlier agreement. (You can see the SBC Terms and Conditions here). Following the advice principle, I published it as a draft on our forum. I received some minor feedback as was able to publish it without further discussion.

We are no rolling out a bit more formalism on the Members Agreement - we now keep better track of when people accept it. One small innovation, if you don't accept the T&C, you can give us direct feedback about why not, with the T&C directly visible on the screen. While one still needs to accept the T&C to get access, we see the agreement as a dialogue.

What are my learnings so far? I believe:
  1. Teal organizations need Tealish agreements
  2. Contract language needs to be reinvented. And FAQ might be a suitable form. 
  3. Participants of Teal organizations need dialogue. With many to one relationships there are some challenges here, but I believe the first step is enabling a bi-directional communication.
What are your experiences with Teal and agreements?