[OSList] Incorporating self-organized training/learning sessions into OST AND communicating OST to an uninitiated and distracted leadership

Tricia Chirumbole tricia at investorswithoutborders.net
Thu Jan 24 07:46:12 PST 2013

Thanks Lisa, Harrison, and Hege!

I am totally looking forward to jumping in, but you have sniffed out a
tendency in me Harrison - I can be a complication ninja!

That being said, my impulse and desire is for 2.5 days with one topic and I
will propose this with all fingers crossed.

My consideration of a second prompt focused on learning and training
sessions is motivated by the fact that the principles seem pretty attached
to the idea of the group engaging in specific skill transfer sessions and
peer support for active projects.

With two prompts, they could address current needs and perhaps get some
members to a place where they can start taking on new types of tasks asap,
while also addressing the concept of ongoing collaboration and competency

There definitely are bottlenecks based on silos of skill (usually within
one or two people), so I can understand the urgency there and agree.

One of the main questions I still have is: What experiences does the group
have with participants actually "getting to work" in sessions, versus
engaging in dialogue and planning? And, does it  somehow dissolve some of
the impact of the self-organizing if a prompt were to specifically
encourage, if not require, that sessions could include hands on learning
and skill transfer?

I believe it can make sense within an Open Space environment and I can
imagine that it could "spontaneously" occur, but I also wonder if it can be
as effective if you let people know that they can bring out there work
tools and training hats - perhaps I am just a closet control freak :/ But
also trying to respond to the leaders' stated intent.

In response to Lisa's question about "distracted leadership": This means
that all of the four principles - 2 in US - are overworked and
over-traveled on a regular basis. Additionally, it means that they are
performing almost all roles within the organization simultaneously, from
executing field work, to business development, to all the C-level
functions. Also fairly typical for a small business.

As I'm sure you can guess, this dynamic means there is little bandwidth for
charting and maintaining strategic direction, or for sustained focus on HR

In response to Lisa's other query, about "meeting the org where they are" -
I may not be. I recognize from past efforts that they are not ready or able
to execute on many things I think would be "best", but I may still be
trying to push...really not sure!

I feel very confident that they would benefit from some new thinking on how
to plan and move forward, but you are right, if they are not prepared to
follow through..............maybe I just want to reduce my stress at
sitting through 3 days of ineffective blabber AND I want to play in OST!!!

:)))))) Thank you sooooo much again for reading through my lengthy epistle!

On Wed, Jan 23, 2013 at 8:35 AM, Hege Steinsland
<steinslandhege at gmail.com>wrote:

> Hello Tricia.
> Im also quite new to this approach, and I had some wonderful help from the
> list, just like you will receive now. Lisa and Harrison is so generous with
> advice and courage :-)
> And many others as well!
> My advice will also be, just go for it!
> And then I will say; do some prework! Have a meeting or two with a group
> that can share purpose, discuss a good theme and be ready along with you to
> let selforganization happen. Make sure the top management are in to this.
> And then, just dive in and enjoy!
> All the best
> Hege
> Hello all!
> I am an OST newbie who is hoping to facilitate an Open Space for my main
> client's annual meeting in a few weeks and I would like to get your
> thoughts on incorporating hands on skill transfer into an Open Space. I did
> do some book reading on OST and just attended the OST meeting in NYC this
> weekend, but have never hosted an Open Space.
> *Background on organization and situation:*
> I do not provide facilitation for this organization. I am one of a number
> of project managers who work on teams to conduct market research and
> strategy consulting projects for their clients in the life sciences arena.
> They have agreed to my participation in the facilitation of the meetings
> and I have referenced OST, but we have not yet discussed details on meeting
> design and I am pretty sure they are not familiar with OST.
> This meeting will be a small group of only the US folks - 14 in total. We
> will be meeting for 2.5 days. On an ongoing basis, we are all remote
> workers across the US and in Europe and Japan and only see each other when
> we travel to a client's location.
> The general theme identified is "collaboration and learning from one
> another". The stated intent, so far, was to have us all take turns teaching
> something to the group where we are the "expert", then to spend time just
> working in parallel and helping each other on current projects or
> generating learning moments.
> I am encouraging shifting the focus from trying to model collaboration and
> getting all of our trainings under our belts in 2.5 days, to a focus on
> developing a system for ongoing collaboration and expertise sharing, to
> include discussions of where learning and teaching opportunities exist. I
> think this topic would be great for an Open Space.
> I was thinking we could combine opportunities for hands on learning with
> discussion of an ongoing structure by having two sessions (maybe 1.5 days
> overall).
> My thoughts for day 1 and day 2 "prompts"
> 1) Sharing expertise and leveraging strengths across the organization
> 2) What do we need right now for high performance individually and
> organizationally? Training, support, etc.
> *
> *
> *My main question is*, in the second prompt - "what do we need right now"
> - could we frame this as an opportunity for hands on learning where the
> sessions were either suggested by learners who knew of something specific
> that they wanted to learn, or not specific I guess, as well as by teachers,
> who felt that they had areas of expertise to share?
> We would all then self-organize and convene into sessions where we are not
> just discussing topics/structures/etc, but we are actually engaging in
> information and skill transfer.
> *Question 2: *Also not sure which prompt should come first.
> I don't know yet if I will get them to buy into the Open Space process or
> if I do, if I can get the time for 2 prompts, BUT, I wanted to ask thoughts
> of the group before crafting my next communication with them.
> Thank you sooooooo much for reading through this long question and for any
> insights provided!
> --
> Tricia Chirumbole
> US: +1-571-232-0942
> Skype: tricia.chirumbole
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Tricia Chirumbole
US: +1-571-232-0942
Skype: tricia.chirumbole
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