[OSList] Do I need therapy for my OST control attitude ?

Harrison Owen via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Thu Apr 14 04:45:32 PDT 2016

Well done! A Genuine Space Invader. Haven’t seen one in years.




From: OSList [mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] On Behalf Of Chris Grady via OSList
Sent: Thursday, April 14, 2016 7:30 AM
To: World wide Open Space Technology email list
Subject: [OSList] Do I need therapy for my OST control attitude ?



I wanted to share an experience last night which surprised me in its vehemance, but did not make me question "whatever happens".


I arrived for a meeting of a small group of arts professionals. I was early. My first time. There were 20 expected. The meeting was due to run 2hrs.  I was greeted by the convenor with the joyful lines "would you run the meeting and use that open space thing".  We had 15 minutes until the first person arrived, and no time to draw butterflies or pre-warn delegates that this was an Open Space....and I didn't even have my tibetan bells.


Anyway by 6.30 there were 9 breakout spaces, an agenda table/wall, 2 sessions scheduled, and a large glass of wine poured for all attendees.  It was a tiny room and after everyone was introduced I was handed the reins of the meeting with rather too much of a build-up/fanfare from my host.


The experience I wanted to share was the reaction of one man in the circle.  This was a gathering (as I learned quickly) or PhD's, senior academics, learned souls, and business consultants. They were surprised by OST and I, as always, was surprised how few of them had experienced the magic before.


After a 10 minute lightening introduction to principals, law, and giraffes, I invited the assembled gathering to begin to populate the agenda. Immediately one man wanted to stop the proceedings and take exception to what was happening.  I sensed that he was loud and most definitely in "third circle" to quote Patsy Rodenberg. I decided to be firm and ask him to wait for the agenda to be developed.  Everyone seemed to feel for me, and get on with writing topics and voicing them.


As this was happening I moved over to kneel beside him and invited him to tell me his concern.  He was loud, vehement and deeply objecting to my cntrolling attitude. Indeed his opening line was to ask whether I had thought of having therapy for my control problem.  This surprised me, because my style is very soft usually, but it was fast - that I do admit.  Anyway he ranted at me for a bit, and everyone at the agenda centre was waiting for him to stop.  Then one of the delegates decided to speak over him and announce their topic. I stayed by my challengers chair, but used the opportunity to thank the first topic announcer, and invite more to speak.  He lost his ground then, and the process moved forward smoothly.


He got up and used the law of two feet, and left.  At which point a number of delegates came up to me and were lovely.  Indeed one of them said to me - well done, and by the way, if you'd apologised to him I'd have never spoken to you again. But then I guess since you didn't apologise to him, he'll never speak to you again"  I rather liked that logic.


The Burning question which I had shaped in the 5 minutes with the convenor when I arrived was "How do we selfishly benefit from being a part of this organisation?"   He absolutely objected to the word selfish claiming it was insensitive and offensive - he did masses of work for organisations completely selflessly.  It definitely rattled his cage.


Just wanted to share an experience with the group. A bit of an intense 2hrs.




Chris Grady FRSA
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