Welcome to the March edition of the Uncharted Insider.
- Chipotle Aluminaries Project: Uncharted is partnering with Chipotle and their Cultivate Foundation to run an accelerator for ventures working on the future of food with integrity. Our team spent last week with the eight selected ventures at Chipotle Headquarters in Newport Beach, California, meeting with Chipotle executives, facilitating one-on-ones with Uncharted mentors, and leading workshops to help the ventures scale. Photos here.
- New partnership on regenerative Ag and global food solutions: Uncharted has partnered with the National Western Center to launch an open call for ideas related to the future of regenerative agriculture and global food solutions. The National Western Center is a Denver-based global destination for agricultural heritage and innovation, and it's looking for ideas from farmers, chefs, non-profits, prospective partners, startups, and investors who are seeking to scale global food and agricultural solutions. Submit an idea here.
Idea on my mind:
In grad school, I studied the anthropological and linguistic complexion of poverty, and I had this one anthropology professor who consistently argued that as economies "developed,” culture was inevitably lost. The price of economic progress, he said, was the loss of culture. Since then I’ve noticed this phenomenon manifest itself in the communities in which Uncharted works, through the stories our entrepreneurs tell, in the contemporary sociologies of our neighborhoods and our nation. But I’ve always wondered if such an inverse relationship is destined. Is it an immutable law of progress that growth invariably hollows out culture?
I’m curious how Uncharted, an organization that is growing, can fight these physics to preserve its heartbeat. I want Uncharted’s humanity—its cultural vitality, its personal cohesion, its principled values—only to be amplified with any top-line growth we experience.
It’s almost easier to grow the top-line than it is to plant these cultural seeds and be committed to cultivating them with intention and patience. It takes saying no sometimes to the exciting thing outside and prioritizing the important thing inside. It takes slowly chronicling a collective mythology. It takes stitching together cultural practices into a lived team experience that invites flourishing. It takes surrendering the productive for the frivolous once in a while. I’m curious if you have any practical advice or tips on growing an organization with cultural integrity?
Personality Tests vs. User guides: Is it just me, or are personality tests more interesting than useful? I take all these tests and invariably conclude: “Yup, that’s me. They nailed it.” But then I struggle to convert all the bar graphs, concentric circles, and presumptive paragraphs into usable next steps. People on the team might know I am an INFJ, Enneagram 6, and C on the DISC, but do they know how to earn my trust, what I’m not good at, and those weird off-putting quirks of mine? In an attempt to accelerate the time it takes to build a healthy working relationship, I have created “The User Guide to Working with Banks." It’s targeted at direct reports and new hires, but it’s also a template others can use to create their own user guides. My hope is user guides like this can be human roadmaps we give to each other to decrease misunderstandings and increase the mutual permission to be our full selves around each other.
Can you help?
Who do you know who has expertise in or strong opinions about Donor Advised Funds (DAFs)? We’re looking to learn from people who know this space and where it’s going...
What I’m reading:
- Louisiana loses a football field of land every 90 minutes. Why and how humans are making it worse. Here.
- People who experience discrimination are almost twice as likely to experience hunger. How structural racism affects the social determinants of health. Here.
- Why Ford Motor Company hired a furniture maker as CEO. We live in the age of user experience.
- Only 10% of NYC inmates are able to make bail, and 90% end up pleading guilty, even if they are innocent. The nationwide (inspiring) fight to end cash bail. Here.
I got an email this month from someone I haven’t spoken to in over a decade. This person apologized for the way they showed up in a conversation we had over 12 years ago. I had only vague memory of the conversation, but this person felt compelled to track me down and apologize. I found myself in a similar situation a few years ago: reaching out to someone to offer a long-overdue apology, so I knew first-hand how important it was to do my small part to release them from the burden of guilt they had carried for so many years. It's just never too late for a shot at reconciliation.
United in the common work,