VISUELLE PROTOKOLLE mail at visuelle-protokolle.de
Tue Jun 10 04:05:19 PDT 2008

Dear friends in open space,

I ask for your help in a difficult situation, and need it within 30 hours
from now. So if somebody has an open ear and some time to answer, we would
be very grateful.

The situation: since 10 years i have been accompanying open space sessions
as a visual recorder. Now i have for the first time the chance to use open
space in a project on my own. It is in the frame of a bigger project in a
company of 6000, which deals with values, more customer orientation, more
emotions within the company, as the board declared.  We proposed an open
space session of one day with some 80 representatives of the coworkers,
because we want to make their situation and priorities visible, to bring the
outcomes together afterwards with the aims of the board, to define the
frame, the aims and rules and conditions of a project of about 2 years. We
talked the method over with the representative of the client, a young,
friendly hr-manager. He is curious, but a bit anxious, and under somer
pression from the different board members.

Now after some afterthoughts he declared, that he does not want an open
space session in pure form, because he thinks the people are not ready for
it. He is eager to end with some results he can control.

His proposal for the workshop: at the beginning a board member and he will
talk about the bigger project for half an hour, and show a little movie, in
order then to ask the people for ideas and proposals for the definition of
the longer project. He wants to avoid discussions about the mistakes and
problems within the company (which he says he knows already), but to be more
positive. He does not want to call the workshop open space, but ³offener
raum², does not want to use the 4 principles (although some of their
contents), but wants to use the law of two feet. When people are asked to
bring their themes to the wall, he wants to moderate that himself, ask
additional questions about why and how. Then he wants to walk through the
groups and offer some moderation there as well. And in the end he wants to
interview the people offering their outcomes to the plenum again.

We are near the point to step out of the whole project.

On one hand i remember discussions here in the open space network about
moderations of the os - method, for which we are open, and can also follow
some of the hr-managers ideas and doubts. But it has to stay a trustworthy
method. For that i would like to hear what you can recommend us.

We asked for a meeting with the hr-manager to get clear with his and our
feelings, in order not to mix them with the methods and procedures of the
project, and will have this meeting this week.

The project came to the actual  situation, as i see it, because at the
beginning the hr-manager was very fond of us, proud to present us to the
board, and start the project with us. Then we had two workshops, which ended
with results, which did not fully fulfill his expectations, and he somehow
withdrew his trust. We don¹t want to be victims of an infringement (i hope
that is the right expression), of an unclear mixture  of roles and
responsibilities. We want to stay responsible for the methods we use.

The results of the project so far in our view gave a realistic image of the
situation within the company, which is not very open, but has a good chance
to profit from the project. But it is important not to confuse the starting
phase with the project, and not to expect final results bevor it even
starts. Seen with ³open space ­ eyes² the outcome was the only one that
could have happened.

Now we want to clear our relations with the hr-manager on Thursday and
Friday, and ­ if we succeed ­ develop the agenda for the coworkers workshop.
For this second task we hope to get some help from you, as what to propose
to him.

Thank you for every response in advance


Reinhard Kuchenmüller
Marianne Stifel


tel +39-0566-88 929

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