[OSList] Pain and Anger

Harrison Owen hhowen at verizon.net
Sun May 11 06:37:57 PDT 2014

Sounds like business as usual, unfortunately. I fear the constraints you
mention will render anything you do something less than useful. When you
have real pain and anger with a senior management largely the cause (as I
heard it) - gathering the troops for a few hours without senior management
present just won't make it. Open Space is wonderful, and miracles do happen
- but I am afraid that neither wonder nor miracle will show up. If they
really want to do something, at least make a good start, you will need 2
days and certainly a night in between. Finding ways around anger and pain
usually require sleeping on it. And the senior management should be there
for the whole time. If they are the problem, they have to be part of the




Harrison Owen

7808 River Falls Dr.

Potomac, MD 20854



189 Beaucaire Ave. (summer)

Camden, Maine 04843


Phone 301-365-2093

(summer)  207-763-3261



www.ho-image.com (Personal Website)

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From: OSList [mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] On Behalf Of
Bronwyn Pagram
Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2014 8:39 AM
To: oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Subject: [OSList] Pain and Anger


Hi there. I have quietly enjoyed os-list for a couple of months now - thank
you for all the open sharing. Very valuable for a 'newby' to open space like


I have been asked to facilitate several regional open space workshops for an
organization where there is a lot of deep-seated pain and anger behind the
scenes. People feeling very unsupported by their hierarchy, lack of
recognition by senior management that they are part of the problem, lack of
responsiveness to past recommendations for action, and deep cynicism that
anything will come from 'yet another talkfest'. The topic is staff
wellbeing. The workshops are being done in the context of middle management
concern for their people (they are the sponsors) as well as an
organisational strategy refresh for which staff wellbeing will form part for
the first time (senior managers are aware of concerns and also of several
stress-related illnesses and staff leaving).


There is no prior experience of open space in this organisation, although
the middle-manager driving these events has been exposed elsewhere. I would
be grateful for any suggestions as to how to best structure the day (5.5
hours - limited by considerable travel time to come in/go home). I am
thinking to include both talking/listening circles as well as traditional
open space.


Ideally participants would take away some actions themselves... as well as
there being some meaty inputs to senior mgmt for the strategy refresh.


Thanks a lot. Bronwyn








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