Dialogue at end of OS

Peggy Holman pholman at email.msn.com
Tue Sep 1 11:42:23 PDT 1998

I gather from Diane's message that Uwe and Richard responded to the original
message "off-line."  Would you please bring this wonderful discussion on to
the listserv?  My belief is the value of this list is greatest when we can
all "listen" to the richness of your speaking.  It may even trigger some who
are silent to jump in!

Peg Holman

-----Original Message-----
From: Parkinson & Gibeault <dgp at CYBERUS.CA>
Date: Monday, August 31, 1998 5:38 PM
Subject: Dialogue at end of OS

>Thank you Uwe and Richard for your comments.
>Taking into account your ideas, I would like to bring some clarification
>to my questions.
>This exchange/dialogue/discussion is taking place prior the closing
>circle. It addresses specifically the action plans at the end - the
>converging part of OS - and not the whole OS event.
>You are right to say that the leaders or decision-makers are also
>participants and they will be full participants on an equal basis at
>that OS event. I also beleive that a lot of leadership emerges in the
>course of the OS and normally, I would not have "formal leaders" stand
>out of the pack other than setting the tone at the outset. Effectively,
>they have a specific role in giving a start to the meeting by providing
>the night before, the context and the parameters.
>In addition, participants in the case I am dealing with, have had a
>previous OS meeting on a related topic and they have expressed the wish
>that at this OS event, decision makers give immediate feedback to the
>actions plans that will be developed on the last day. D-makers may very
>well have given feedback in whatever discussion group they participated
>but at the end, everyone gets the global picture on action planning as
>they hear reports from the various groups. They are expected not only to
>give feedback on specifics and the overall planning but also to
>communicate support and reinforce the energy. Since no one wants this to
>be a one way thing, other participants will be welcomed to react.
>Even if the decision makers were not there or had no particular
>intention to give formal feedback, a heated debate could still take
>place between the 300 participants and the question of process would
>remain. To conclude on the description of the situation, the dialogue
>will take place before the closing because it is an "action plan"
>specific dialogue, not a closing of the OS event..
>Circulating the mike around the circle of 300 would probably attract
>more comments and extend the discussion way beyond the level that is
>intended here. By the time we did the closing circle, at which point it
>is planned to have a corless mike going aroung the circle, it is  feared
>that many would be exasperated by the length of the
>"mike-around-the-circle-of 300" activities and that furthermore, there
>would just not be enough time.
>What I had originally thought of - and did not suggest for reasons I
>explain farther- was to have a cordless mike in the centre of the circle
>and people would be asked to go to the centre one at a time (I have seen
>Larry do this for the closing circle). When someone has finished
>speaking, another can get up. This is a process that is both
>self-organized and respectful. And yes, I like Uwe's suggestion to state
>at the beginning that participants only speak in case they have
>something significant to say.
>I expect people at the beginning would be respectful of those two
>"rules" but my concern is that with 300 people, there may be a fair
>number that want to comment - especially if the  dialogue becomes
>HEATED, and it may - and as the time went by, some would get anxious
>about not having their turn and would simply start to line up in the
>Could a group of people in the centre actually control the space?  How
>does the facilitator then protect the space (since that is a stated role
>at the outset).  It would be pretty delicate for the facilitator to
>repeat that only those with something significant to say should be
>there. Participants who have just spoken or are about to, could take
>offence. I would like to know if anything similar  has happened to other
>facilitators or how you would deal with the situation. I know "whatever
>happens is the only thing that could happen". How do we reconcile that
>principle with the role of the facilitator to protect the space and keep
>it a safe space?
>The other option is closing the circle after the presentation of the
>action plans (before noon for example) and having decision-makers
>provide feedback after lunch, in a facilitated discussion. Somehow, this
>may limit, during the OS,  spontaneous exchanges on action plans between
>participants since people may feel that they need to hold off until the
>afternoon. I would be interested to here if anyone has tried this
>Uwe, I would like to hear more about "strictly following David Bohm"
>regarding closing OS with a dialogue. I am not familiar with this.
>Thank you in advance to anyone who joins in this search.
>Diane Gibeault

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