In chemistry, a Catalyst is an agent of change, used in small amounts relative to the reactants, which reduces the amount of energy required to create a reaction, and activates the rest of the system without itself getting consumed.
With Catalysts at Enspiral, we are attempting to take the function of executive leadership, share it across multiple agents, and cycle many people through the role under a set time limit. The goal is to maintain a rhythm of evolution at Enspiral by inviting contribution, participation, and action, whilst reducing the friction people encounter trying to make changes and improvements.
As leaders, Catalysts are responsible for defining and managing their own work. The specific functions below are intended to only occupy a small fraction of a Catalysts committed time, with the rest spent on their self-directed work programme.
Support Working Groups and Make Their Work Easier The primary responsibility of Catalysts is to catalyze working groups and help them be more productive. This can involve activities like strategy setting, co-facilitation, conflict resolution, fund raising and recruitment. Catalysts exist to support the work, not do the work.
Interface Between Working Groups and the Network Catalysts are a focal point in the attention economy. They are responsible for maintaining a list of active working groups and ensuring their activities are communicated succintly to the wider network. They are also responsible for supporting people who wish to join working groups find somewhere to contribute.
Maintain a Prioritised Network Improvements List
The Improvements Board is the catalysts responsibility. They are responsible for keeping it up to date and ensuring that working groups activity is clearly represented and that ideas for new improvements are frequently reviewed and considered.
Hold Working Group Rhythms Catalysts are responsible for facilitating key rhythms and decisions for the ecosystem of working groups as a whole.
The Catalyst support working group is responsible for selecting and supporting catalysts.
The Catalyst support working group is responsible for raising funds through cobudget or other means to fund on-going catalyst work.
Each Catalyst will have their own style of leadership, and diverse approaches are strongly encouraged. However, there are some guiding principles we expect all Catalysts to follow.
Gentle - exercise power with others, not over others.
Firm - hold people to their commitments, especially yourself.
Selfless - subsume your personal motivations to those of the group.
Kind - care for the people, care for yourself. Ask for and offer support.
Ambitious - aim for high standards in both yourself and others.
Inclusive - consistently create opportunities for all kinds of people to engage.
Catalysing - consciously develop leadership capacity in yourself and others.
Holistic - regard the bigger picture, the longer term, and the network as a whole.