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

Michael Herman via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Thu Apr 14 09:54:26 PDT 2016

reminds me of an opening i did a long time ago, in an small group, about a
dozen, i guess.  on guy who thought he was pretty important interrupted
several times, pushing to have a moment to go around the circle and hear
names, organizations, titles and such.  i put him off and put him off.  i
explained that we'd be learning much more than that about each other very

finally, i decided his insisting was more disruptive than actually doing
the go-round with names.  we made it a little ways around the circle, when
we get to one old and wise community organizer.  he says, quiet and smooth
as can be, "my name's lester and i'm just trying to figure out how to be a
human being," giving the invader absolutely none of the info he was looking
for and opening space for everyone else to answer without answering.  in
this case, one more thing to not do was to get out of the way of the
invader and let the wisdom in the circle take care of itself.


i also notice that this guy seemed to be objecting to your theme/question,
which apparently was not part of the invitation that these folks responded
to.  difficult as this guy might have been, if the invitation changed
between what was published (and he rsponded to) and what was stated in the
opening, then he might have had a fair concern.  at the same time, if his
concern about the spin of the theme wasn't answered when he raised it,
before everyone posted topics, then it could easily have seemed too late to
raise it afterward.  so in some ways, the guy was really stuck.  it's a
difficult thing to raise these structural questions/challenges.

a different old community organizer friend sometimes took time at the
opening to get agreement on the wording of the question.  potentially very
chaotic.  i don't think i've ever done this, myself.  sets up a kind of
compound open space, opening a conversation on the theme of the
conversations we want to have.... but in your situation, this might have
been the thing to do.  the guy clearly had some energy, well
directed/managed (by himself, i mean) or not, and the way it worked out,
this energy was lost to the group.

thanks for bringing the story, chris.



Michael Herman
Michael Herman Associates
312-280-7838 (mobile)


On Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 10:17 AM, Lisa Heft - via OSList <
oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:

> Chris, it sounds like you did all the right things.
> If we are to honor diversity, then we know that everyone does not feel
> comfortable in Open Space - and that there is room for them to feel that,
> too.
> You honored the group and its objectives and energies, by asking that man
> to wait for the agenda to be developed, and you honored that man by
> separately inviting him to tell you his concern, and by receiving what he
> felt he needed to say, however he felt he needed to say it. He was mad at
> you - because he could be. Which to me, is also okay. The group handled
> itself well, moving forward including (not being de-railed, moving forward)
> him, in its way. Space for ranting, space for moving forward, space to be
> witnessed (by you). The group afterwards indicated you had done the right
> thing.
> Now, as a collaborative? I think this group should have given you more
> info, more information that you would be doing something for them, and I’m
> guessing they could give this man a follow-up to witness and hear his
> concern, whether he wants to be in the group or not. Because if they wish
> to continue together, they don’t just get an outsider in there and set them
> up to deal with this guy and celebrate when this guy leaves. They need to
> develop their own internal understanding of who they want to be and how
> they want their membership to work.
> But to me, everything you did was invitational, and present. Good job.
> Lisa
> Lisa Heft
> Consultant, Faciltator, Educator
> Opening Space
> Open Space Learning Workshops
> May - Donostia / San Sebastian, Spain
> June - Oakland, California USA
> On Apr 14, 2016, at 4:30 AM, Chris Grady via OSList <
> oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:
> I wanted to share an experience last night which surprised me in its
> vehemance, but did not make me question "whatever happens".
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