Tribe Building magic at a Conference – Re-connect, cross-connect, deep-connect

ConnectNOTE: This posts mentions topics of Integral Theory and Holacracy, but it isn’t about those topics. This post is about making connections within and across your tribe by exploring commonalities and intersections you may not havethought of.  Going to a conference can be a tribe-building experience!

I’m taking a break from packing for the Second Bi-Annual Integral Theory Conference in Concord, California to write this post.  I wasn’t originally going to attend, but my friend and fellow Meetup Organizer Marc talked me into it. After bargaining with the summer vacation and budget committee (i.e. my wife) and committing to attend, I began thinking about all the possibilities for connecting. So in the interest of sharing and learning, here are the ways I hope to expand, deepen and strengthen my network during this trip.

1) Re-connect. This one is easy.

My first step was to send an email blast to all of my fellow alumni of the JFKU Integral Theory program. “Who is attending?” I asked. I was pleased to hear from a several friends that I had met in 2006-2007. These are people with whom I shared 80 hour weeks, wee hours, brain-bending assignments and passionate discourse. It will be a tribal reunion for us.

2) Cross-connect. This one is all about exploring new and emerging communities that you may be part of … but didn’t know it.

When I realized that there are likely to be a lot of people who are running Integral Theory Salons, Meetups and Study Groups in their local communities (like me) , I decided to try to find this newly emerging Proto-tribe (i.e. a Tribe that has potential, but that doesn’t yet exist.) Maybe we can share ideas, practices and pitfalls? Maybe I can form new friendships? I reached out to some Salon leaders and to the Conference Organizers. Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, Conference Organizer (and Integral teacher extraordinaire) returned my request with good news. They will put a flyer in the registration packets – and reserve some table space during one of the lunches to connect this tribe. I can’t wait!

This worked so well, that I decided to try with another cross-connection. How about people from my Holacracy (Dynamic Steering for Corporations) group? I’ve met many of these people online – and a few in real-life from earlier training, but it would be great to connect in person. I posted a request on the forum for Holacracy Practitioners. Lo and behold, a dozen or so will be attending! Brian Robertson, founder and CEO of Holacracy, took up the reins and arranged a dinner. Very cool!

3) Deep-connect. Strengthen your tribe at home.

I reached out to my own, local Integral Philly group. We had a Meetup to discuss potential topics. We decided that, all things being equal, I should try to attend topics that helped us to understand where the economy and culture is heading? What role does Sustainable business practice and the triple-bottom-line play in our future? Is a new generation of Conscious Capitalists emerging who will swap some profit for longer term and broader aspirations?

We’ve set our next Meetup up as a debrief by Marc and me. Hopefully, this approach will help us deepen our community even though only a couple of us are attending.

What techniques have you used when traveling to a conference or new location to expand or strengthen your tribal connections? Drop us a line below and share your secrets.