Regions and Nomads
The sticky relationships formed through F3 Fellowship are why we call the Second F The Glue. It is what makes men stick to F3. Earlier we described how clueless we were about how to get a man to plant a new Workout, but the imperative of avoiding DRTF (Diminishing Returns To Fellowship) compelled us to keep trying. The First F is the magnet of F3, but that only brings the men in. What keeps them there, what turns them into PAX, is the Fellowship, the Second F. This is The Glue. DRTF erodes The Glue, so it has to be battled.
We found that DRTF sets in at about eighteen PAX. So, we encourage bifurcation when a Workout starts rising consistently through the mid twenties to thirties. We find that splitting a thirty-man Workout does not produce two fifteen-man Workouts. It produces two more thirty-man Workouts. As noted earlier, we call this ABD (Addition By Division). We are not entirely sure why ADB works, but like a dog looking at a ceiling fan, we are just happy it does and committed to staying in the breeze.
When we figured out I2 and Mean Mean Stride, we started having success with the Q-System to plant new Workouts. That was great, but it gave us a new challenge. How to organize them all into the F3 Starfish? Were we in the small center (what we came to call F3Nation), capable of interfacing with ten, twenty, or a hundred individual Workout/appendages? We tried that for a time and found it to be chaos – the equivalent of the DRTF in a Problematic Workout, but at an F3Nation-wide level.
We saw that F3Nation needed some (limited) structure to the Starfish to be able to serve the Workout Qs properly. We needed to limit the amount of Qs with whom we had constant contact to a number that would not overwhelm us. Napoleonic road-builders that we are, we turned to the military for an idea. The military is surely not a Starfish. Generals/admirals are on top and privates/seamen are on the bottom. In between there is a pyramidal rank structure. However, while not a Starfish, it’s not really a Spider either, because the elimination of the head does not kill the body. Generals, captains, and sergeants get killed, retire (or just move on) all the time. The reason their departures don’t destroy their units is that part of their job is to train their subordinates to take their place in that eventuality. Thus, if the captain commanding an infantry company is killed, the highest-ranking lieutenant automatically assumes command. If the captain was doing his job, his successor:
1) knows how to do what the captain knew how to do,
2) has a clear vision of the mission, and
3) has been encouraged to take charge by the captain who has rewarded every instance of initiative the younger man has taken.
No captain (or any other leader) can properly instill I2 in a hundred lieutenants, maybe not even in ten men. That is why the military has a span of control baked into its leadership structure. The span of control is the number of men a man can lead and influence if he is doing it properly. Generally, that number is four or five. After some study, we decided to adapt the military’s model of span of control to the Starfish structure of F3. We grouped geographically-related Workouts into Regions, each headed by a Regional Q, or what we call the “Regional Nant’an.” We borrowed the Nant’an idea from the Apache Indians, as described in The Starfish and the Spider. A Nant’an is the unique type of tribal chief of the Apache Indians. For centuries during the era of the Spanish conquistadors and later during the United States’s westward expansion, the Apaches were the one group of natives who were able to hold off all conquerors. The difference between the Apaches and the Incas or the Aztecs, the Cherokee or the Sioux, was in how they decentralized political power within the tribe.
In other cases, the Americans and Spanish were able to overcome tribes by killing or corrupting their chiefs. That model did not work with the Apache. Every time the would-be conquerors thought they had the right man, another man would pop up to lead the Apaches’ stubborn and continued resistance. The Apache were not a Spider that could be killed by cutting off its head. They were a Starfish, comprised of self-sustaining appendages that were loosely connected through a cultural and spiritual leader, the Nant’an.
“The strategy failed,” we are told in The Starfish and the Spider, “because no one person was essential to the overall well-being of Apache society.”
The Apache Nant’an could not compel the Apache appendage/tribes to go to war, or anything else. He had to lead through vision and persuasion. If the appendages did not share his vision, and/or were not persuaded to follow it, they just didn’t. Thus, it did not matter if this man were killed or corrupted, another Nant’an would simply take his place.
Each F3 Region is organized in the same way. F3Nation has a Nant’an, but he is only the cultural and spiritual leader of F3. He is small. He has no power to compel a Workout Q or Regional Nant’an to do anything, with a single exception. F3Nation can cut an appendage off if it will not adhere to the F3 Core Principles. In a way, that would be like the Apache Nant’an telling a distant tribe that they weren’t Apache anymore, because they weren’t adhering to Apache principles. If the Nant’an didn’t do that, he would run the risk that other tribes within Apache Nation would begin to be influenced or affected by the rogue group. If left unchecked, that could spread until there was no Apache Nation.
In a sense, that is what ultimately happened. The U.S. Army eventually realized there was no chief of the Apache to corrupt, so they gave the Nant’ans cows. The power held by the Nant’ans shifted from symbolic to material; they now had the power to reward and punish tribe members and they began fighting among themselves about resource allocation and other material concerns. The power structure became hierarchical and, in short order, the Apaches ceased to exist. That may be the only way to kill a Starfish organization. Make each man care about himself more than he does the organization or the other men in it. In other words, make it acceptable for each man to put himself first. Do that and the organization disintegrates into its component parts. It ceases to exist.
Each F3 Region is comprised of multiple Workouts under the loose grouping of the Regional Nant’an, who is free to run his Region as he sees fit for the benefit of its PAX. His only guardrails are the Core Principles. The Regions have the great majority of the power and responsibility within F3. The success of the Region is the responsibility of the Regional Nant’an.
To help them achieve that success, F3Nation provides support, advice, and connection to F3Nation.com. That is F3Nation’s responsibility. Taking the Explanation described in the first chapter of this book and turning it into this book is part of that job. We did it to help the Regional Nant’ans plant, serve, and grow more men’s small leadership groups. We did that to help them accomplish F3’s Mission to reinvigorate male community leadership.
We also did it to help the Nomads, which are groups that are too small to be Regions, and too distant in geography or culture to be part of an existing Region. By geography, we mean reasonable driving distance. A Workout that takes more than an hour to reach is probably too far away for the Regional Nant’an to serve. Likewise, a Workout comprised of men who do not share the same cultural values (as opposed to F3 values as promulgated by the Core Principles) is too distinct for the Regional Nant’an to lead well. The Nomads are no less a part of F3 than the Regional Workouts, and F3Nation spends as much time and energy helping them grow (into Regions, hopefully) as it does with the Regions.
Thus, F3’s organization cannot be called a true Starfish. There are certainly elements of the Starfish model we have used, but it is strongly influenced by what we have observed working in the military. As Napoleonic road-builders, we are far more interested in the evolution of what works than we are in being at the head of a revolution.
Our Mission is to win the war against SadClown Syndrome. We will use anything at our disposal to get that done.
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
Henry David Thoreau
“Things work out best for those who make the best of how things work out.”
Leaders Leading Leaders