[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 09:07:21 PST 2013

wow! just a few, little thoughts!  :) thanks for taking the time Lisa.

I think I understand what you are saying. I think.

If I may reiterate: I think you are questioning the value/wisdom of
including the prompt to "explore ongoing methods for collaboration and
competency development" and the "action plans and next steps" that would go
with developing and implementing this. ....especially if, as I identified,
the group may not be ready/able to follow through.

Is that correct? ....if so, I think you are right.

You are also totally right in terms of prep if hands on skill transfer and
collaboration will be the focus.

Ok, this has been very helpful. I have some firmer thoughts and better
clarity on how to explore options with the leaders. And, yes, it is
possible that something other than OST may make more sense for them right

Thanks again!

On Thu, Jan 24, 2013 at 11:43 AM, Lisa Heft <lisaheft at openingspace.net>wrote:

> Hi, Tricia - as for any facilitated process or meeting objective - your
> explaining what it is for, giving people any information they need in order
> to then get together and do the work - involves not just the days of the
> meeting, but also the conversations, messaging, invitation language,
> understanding of how this fits into what will happen just before and after
> - it's all part of the full ecology of the event, as it were.
> So if you want people to actively use it to teach each other in hands-on
> learning and skills-transfer for current projects, maybe you want to make
> it all about that, and articulate that in your / your client's messaging to
> the participants before the retreat. Zone in on the key objective and
> useful / realistic reason for this meeting.
> If strategic direction or sustained focus are not part of this
> organization's culture, yet another reason to give them some clear, useful
> time for a specific task (skills-transfer and hands-on learning about their
> different projects.
> And if it's about skills-transfer and learning - why do you need to add
> action planning or having people commit to tasks? Especially if this is not
> what they might follow-through on 'in the real world'? Or am I not
> understanding something.
> If you want them to generate learning and ideas and such - it is often
> good - if you then want them to reflect on what they have learned and
> shared - and take a moment to reflect on it, internalize it - *before* you
> have them shift from emergent / divergent thinking (Open Space
> participant-driven topics) into the more convergent thinking such as
> pattern-seeking, identifying next steps, and so on. So you may either want
> to separate the action / next steps part to a time after they complete and
> rest from their highly-stimulating Open Space meeting - so minds and bodies
> have more freshness and ability to notice things - and have time to read
> their Book of Proceedings (either in the last part of the event or at their
> desks, receiving the Book a few days post-event) - and so they can make
> better clearer decisions having all that data and integration of experience
> to draw from.
> Or you can complete the Open Space, with closure. Then use any kind of
> action planning design to help folks see patterns and feel where they would
> like to engage on projects or tasks post-event.
> If you choose to do action planning in an Open Space way - or in any way,
> for that matter - I'd say be sure - before you design in action planning or
> next-steps identification as part of a meeting - that a majority of
> participants in the meeting have the resources, information, mobility
> (outside of their organizational roles), time, support from the
> organization, freedom to name and champion a task in spite of their role,
> communication within the organization to ask for support / share news about
> success and challenges, and so on. Otherwise (again: Open Space or any
> other process) you are asking for something that is not as realistic and
> doable 'on Monday'. In which case you might want to close - after people
> share thoughts and reflections in Closing Circle - by having each
> individual write on a card the one thing they feel they will commit - for
> themselves, in their own realm of influence and work environment - to apply
> to their work 'on Monday'.
> Or something like that. If there is organizational support for
> effectiveness and if truly each person can influence what their own tasks
> and resources can be.
> Otherwise, you can simply make it all about learning-exchange, be sure to
> include in the process the documentation component (the participant-created
> notes that are compiled into a Book of Proceedings and sent back out to
> them during or soon after the event - so they can share the learning across
> topics and discussion groups by reading all this after their meeting), and
> give those folks an amazing opportunity to teach and share and explore - in
> a way that - as you mention, the principals of the organization are really
> attached to (and therefore may support).
> Just some ideas,
> Lisa
> On Jan 24, 2013, at 7:46 AM, Tricia Chirumbole wrote:
>  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
>> development.
>> 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 development.
>> 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! ciao!
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Tricia Chirumbole
US: +1-571-232-0942
Skype: tricia.chirumbole
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