[OSList] Teach Them to Fish / A Note to My Friends

Suzanne Daigle sdaigle4 at gmail.com
Sat Feb 25 20:44:17 PST 2012

Diane...yes it is you who first introduced me to Open Space in Ottawa a
number of years ago. I love how you captured the essence of this wonderful
fishing story.

In your training, through the "doing" that you described above, it quickly
led me to this feeling "of coming home" as if for the first time. I
glimpsed the magic of it and knew deep inside of me that my life was just
beginning. Courage, passion, taking responsibility and making a difference!

It jolted me as I felt the bliss of what coming home meant because I also
realized how disingenuous had been my controlling and helpful ways towards
others in my corporate and personal life, no matter how well intentioned I
had been.

How could I assess another person's readiness? How could I predict or
cushion the way people would engage each other?  No matter the place or the
circumstances, I would not want others to protect me like that. And imagine
if in the process of doing so, I got in the way of people experiencing the
full blown bliss of what "coming home" means for them. That was painful to
imagine, very painful. Yes I had given many a lot of fish over the years,
by blindly leading, managing and facilitating.

So now I try to unlearn a little bit every day, inviting rather than
helping and moving from place to place to open space hoping that in the
"euphoria" of people coming home to themselves, they too will be as smitten
as me and will then start to open space in places where they work and live.

As this happens, instead of working so hard, maybe there will be more of us
posting "gone fishin" signs knowing that there is someone happily minding
the store, lovin their work as much as we do!


On Sat, Feb 25, 2012 at 7:26 PM, Diane Gibeault
<diane.gibeault at rogers.com>wrote:

> The sequence you describe Harrison – *Fish Distributors, Fishing
> Teachers, and then “Gone fish‘in” looking for other fish to fry* –
> captures well this rich exchange. ****
>  ****
> *How fast can people start fishing, *one of your earlier questions,
> remains an important one.****
> ** **
> *Do I truly believe that people can fish for themselves?* is probably a
> good place to start to address the question on how fast. ****
> ** **
> People are not only ok, but are better off without the usual facilitation
> rituals of personal intros and exercises to connect. Accepting that is one
> of the big challenges I hear from some people who participate in OST
> training: trusting the OS process and the group. ****
>  ****
> That is why, I now start the training workshops with no personal
> introductions or “expectations or hopes" exercises - otherwise many leave
> believing that intros etc are part of OS, and that, despite the numerous
> explanations and reminders we used to give as trainers. People remember
> what they do, not what you say. A change of mental model is easier when
> people can first experience OS in its real form, without any distractions.
> ****
>  ****
> Participants now receive the theme, the question and the givens, weeks in
> advance of the training, so they are prepared, ready and willing. I
> basically explain in the morning that we are jumping right away into our
> Open Space event so we can have a clear unobstructed understanding of what
> OS is (no mix-up with training things) and so that, with our OS experience
> as a level playing field, we can later pursue our co-learing on OS.****
>  ****
> People have often said often how relieved they were to not introduce
> themselves at the OS opening, not having to measure up to the one-liner of
> experts or renowned participants. Instead, when joining a group to discuss
> a topic of common interest, they immediately felt safe to connect, eager
> for introductions and did so with greater authenticity. The moment had real
> meaning for them. ****
>  ****
> Introductions - even in smaller groups at the OS opening - are also a
> contradiction of OS principles, first the circle: participation on an equal
> basis. ****
> The other principle: whoever comes, has some passion for the theme and is
> willing to contribute. ****
> ** **
> Applying those assumptions as a facilitator at the OS opening, in our very
> first gesture with the group, is truly modeling our belief in those
> principles and more importantly, our belief in people in general and in
> particular, those who chose to be there. ****
>  ****
> No surprise that participants express relief at having found a way of
> working where they feel trusted and respected, …without the traditional
> need to be “massaged into it”.****
>  ****
> We could say they not only know how to fish but have found the Zen of
> fishing.****
>  ****
> We hear them talk about liberation, about being encouraged to breath
> freely.
> *How fast can people start fishing? *You are right: as fast as we get out
> of the way and let them go to it.****
> *
> *
> Diane
>   ------------------------------
> *From:* Harrison Owen <hhowen at verizon.net>
> *To:* 'World wide Open Space Technology email list' <
> oslist at lists.openspacetech.org>
> *Sent:* Saturday, February 25, 2012 2:43:07 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [OSList] Teach Them to Fish / A Note to My Friends
> Bernd – No problem. Totally understand where you are coming from. At the
> end of the day if you empower someone, by whatever means or degree – you
> have, at least to some real extent, dis-empowered them. Or at the very
> least, further encumbered their situation. All that said there are indeed
> times when the ONLY thing you can do in the moment is hand out a fish.
> Starving people, still less dead ones – don’t learn very well… to fish or
> anything else. However, if your actions end with fish distribution, or
> almost as destructive, you do teach them to fish, but then hover over their
> shoulders to make sure they do it RIGHT, well that is a different kettle of
> fish (sorry about that J). Maybe there is a sequence here – Fish
> Distributors, Fishing Teachers, and then “Gone fish ‘in” – looking for
> other fish to fry. Or something.
> Harrison
> Harrison Owen
> 7808 River Falls Dr.
> Potomac, MD 20854
> 189 Beaucaire Ave. (summer)
> Camden, Maine 20854
> Phone 301-365-2093
> (summer)  207-763-3261
> www.openspaceworld.com
> www.ho-image.com (Personal Website)
> To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your options, view the archives of
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> *From:* oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org [mailto:
> oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] *On Behalf Of *Bernhard Weber
> *Sent:* Saturday, February 25, 2012 1:24 AM
> *To:* World wide Open Space Technology email list
> *Subject:* Re: [OSList] Teach Them to Fish / A Note to My Friends
> Harrison,
> I have been living so long under conditions where the giver/beggar word
> pairing is not only a metaphor (Beira is the capital of Sofala province in
> Mozambique), so I had to deal with the problem also at a very practical
> level and on base of that I want to say:
> I fully agree
> and would like to complete something that I wrote in my last posting in
> answering what Artur has written.
> Yes the giver-beggar relation creates conditions for helplessness and
> continued dependence and subservience. And yes, the dynamics is independent
> from altruistic intentions.
> And I would complete, if you have a feeling for yourself and/or a
> spiritual perspective this means, such kind of giving is also bad for the
> giver, his/her mental costume and/or karma.
> But when I wrote in my last posting: sometimes you should also give the
> fish (meaning that nobody who is starved can learn) isn't that a
> contradiction?
> Yes it is, but
> a) contradictions as such are not necessarily bad. At least they are good
> for triggering thinking processes if not for more (like being a basic
> ingredient for self-organization, this also refers to the dissence-thread
> of this groups)
> b) it all depends on the real process. If temporary dependence is a price
> for helping out from helplessness so that further steps can follow, like
> learning, like disappearing of the giver, teacher, blurring/integrating of
> roles to teacherlearners and learnerteachers, I would say it is an
> acceptable price
> Bernd
> On Feb 24, 2012, at 3:01 AM, Harrison Owen wrote:
> The secondary point may be less than obvious. When you are simply handed a
> fish the conditions for learned helplessness and continued dependence, to
> say nothing of subservience are created. Even with the best, most
> altruistic intentions in the world, a fish handout has its problems.
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Suzanne Daigle
NuFocus Strategic Group
7159 Victoria Circle
University Park, FL 34201
FL 941-359-8877;
CT 203-722-2009
s.daigle at nufocusgroup.com
twitter @suzannedaigle
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