OS for small group

Larry Peterson lpasoc at inforamp.net
Mon Aug 23 05:30:59 PDT 1999

Betty:  I have led effective one and two day Open Space sessions with Boards
of 12 and a staff team of 10. If the conditions are right and the theme a
clear performance challenge for the group, they will, in OS, self-organize
their agenda and meetings with productive results. They may stay in one
group for major part of the time, with leadership shifting depending on who
has a passion. They may then break into subgroups of 2's or 5's to working
on topics. It can work well with that size group.


Larry Peterson
Associates in Transformation
41 Appleton Ave., Toronto, ON,
Canada, M6E 3A4
Tel:/Fax: 416-653-4829

lpasoc at inforamp.net

-----Original Message-----
From:   OSLIST [mailto:OSLIST at LISTSERV.BOISESTATE.EDU] On Behalf Of Betty
Sent:   Sunday, August 22, 1999 3:36 PM
Subject:        OS for small group

For the past 6 years, I have been facilitating the semi-annual, six day
board meetings for an international non=profit group. For the meeting
coming up, I have been asked to do more of a reatreat format. We probably
have about 3 days we can devote to "retreat" type activities, interspersed
(or could be contiguous) any time during the six days.

The group is an international membership non-profit organization - the
professional group for teachers and practitioners of a healing/spiritual
practice. (The Reiki Alliance if you are interested)

The group is about 15-18 years old and in the past 5 years has blossomed in
membership to about 800 people from all around the world. They are used to
handling topics which take lots of deep consideration.

At their annual week-long international conference in April, I facilitated
an open space for the participants (about 175) part of the time. (I could
only get 3 one hour sessions, but we were able to spill over into some free
time)  So the board members are somewhat familiar with the process.

My question is this - there are only 5 board members (plus one exec
director,and  one newsletter editor.) My experience facilitating about 7-8
OS has been with groups of 100-250 and all in the context of
conferences/gatherings. I am having trouble envisioning how the process
would be productive for such a small number.

The organization is in flux and needs to change. The original director has
retired. Many of the "older" members are stepping back from many years of
taking volunteer leadership roles. Regional organizations (some affiliated
and some not) are becoming more developed. Membership criteria is being
questioned. There is a feeling that something new is afoot (maybe even the
dissolution of the organization,) but no one can quite grab the essence of

Any hints from the pros out there who have used Open Space with small



 Betty Didcoct              TIES Consulting
   betty at ic.org               Building TIES between people to
   phone:   360-221-3064      facilitate better meetings &
   fax:     360-221-7828      healthier organizations

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