Seeking support for OS in the SF Bay area

Harrison Owen owenhh at
Thu Feb 1 04:42:16 PST 2001

At 04:57 PM 1/31/01 -0700,Susan Partnow wrote:
>I am helping a group plan their regional conference -- to be in San
>Francisco June 29-July 1.  Only one person on the planning committee has
>ever experienced Open Space and, as you can imagine, there is a lot of
>resistance and pushing to 'control' and organize the agenda, leaving just
>little bits of time here and there for open space.  I have not yet foud the
>way to help them feel reassured that ALL of the important issues and needs
>WILL be dealt with in Open Space.  (They want to carve outand reserve a
>morning for "charter and structure" and another time for "global issues"
>etc.)  I was wondering if any of you know of any OS sessions that might be
>going on in the next weeks that some of these individuals could attend or
>participate in to help them experience=understand, trust, appreciate the
>process...  Please let me know --especially if you know of any community
>type OS events.  It is hard for me to work this through with the committee
>since I am in Seattle!  (They meet in San Francisco)

God love you Susan! Isn't it wonderful? All the folks who are protesting
global domination and control by those nasty Corporations just can't wait
to get their hands on the levers of control :-) Maybe it is time for them
to walk their talk? Open up a little space? Nasty thought!

I am sure somebody will be doing an Open Space  in the Bay area so your
folks can "have the experience." But I wouldn't count on that doing any
good. Typical reaction is something like -- " Well that was wonderful, but
That was those people, and they ain't us." More usual reaction -- "Is that
all there is?" But try.

I think I would just deal with results. By the end of (1 and 1/2 or better
2 and 1/2 half) days -- the following will have been achieved.

1) Every issue of concern to anybody will have been placed on the table.
2) They will all have been discussed.
3) A full written record will have been created.
4) All issues will be in priority order as that group sees it.
5) Related issues will have been identified (converged).
6) Immediate "nest steps" will have been identified.
7) Responsibility for those next steps will have been assumed.

That's a guarantee.

And if they say something like -- "How can we be sure that all the
important issues will be raised? The answer is simple. Presumably the
questioner will be in attendance, and if there is some issue missing for
which they have some passion -- guess who has the responsibility to put it
on the table?

Personally I confess to a degree of frustration with groups like the one
you describe. Lots of rhetoric, but somehow the feet don't follow along. My
inclination is to help where I can, but always recognize that sometimes you
just got to let it go. No help wanted.


Harrison Owen
7808 River Falls Drive
Potomac, MD 20854 USA
phone 301-469-9269
fax 301-983-9314
Open Space Training
Open Space Institute
Personal website

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