Help for David

Richard Charles Holloway learnshops at
Tue Sep 8 08:04:45 PDT 1998

I think that you've hit the nail on the head with this one, Esther.  The real
problem that David has is that the meeting he's facilitating isn't an open
space meeting, though it may appear superficially to resemble one.

The reason I say this, David, is because you mentioned that it's your bosses'
meeting...he expects, he demands, he insists.  As in many organizations,
authoritarianism frequently gets in the way of creativity, problem-solving,

The other problem you face, it seems to me, is you lack a critical problem for
which your participants can recommend a solution that will be acceptable to the
boss. (I say this because your description indicates a command and control
culture at work here).

I know that you really want to hold an open space--that you want to share a
wonderful experience, and you can see the potential for good that it can do in
your organization.  However, without the "convening authority" accepting the
spirit of open space, I'm afraid that Esther is right in her predilection for
harm.  I encourage you to listen to her voice.

If you can convince your convener to join you in the spirit and methodology;
and if you have a real Open Space issue to frame into a question (this is the
energy focus for self-organization); then you have a real opportunity--and it
will be difficult for you to do anything wrong.

walk in peace,

Doc Holloway

Esther Ewing wrote:

> There are lots of factors which erode the opportunity:
> 1. mandatory attendance
> 2. not enough physical room
> 3. a too small wall for postings
> 4. too little time set aside for the event
> 5. a leader who only gives lip service to real choice and sharing power
> I could go on. No one of these by itself (with the possible exception of
> #5) is enough to sink the ship but could easily be the last straw in an
> accumulative effect in combination.
> What is needed is judgment. However, if you run an open space that doesn't
> work in some critical ways you have done MORE HARM than good because you
> have invited people to participate by making some promises about what power
> they will have to make change happen and if you allow erosion to the extent
> that it then doesn't happen that way, they will become disillusioned and
> blame open space and perhaps the facilitator.

"Do not pursue the past.  Do not lose yourself in the future.  The past no
longer is, and the future has not yet come. Look deeply at life, just as it is
arising in the very here and now.  Recognize it-invincible, unshakable.  Care
for it with your heart and mind." -The Buddha

Thresholds <>
Meeting Masters <>
Richard C. "Doc" Holloway    Astoria, OR & Olympia, WA  USA
ICQ# 10849650  voice 360.786.0925

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