[OSList] Brief OST Case Studies - Feel Free to Add
birgitt at dalarinternational.com
Wed Oct 2 09:04:08 PDT 2019
I have read your thoughtful post again, and focused on "One other issue is
that we are always ready to blame things like OST for poor outputs, a
scapegoat. When things work and we have outstanding outcomes we must
include OST as part of the fabric of success. How much we include it is
dependent on the faith of the decision makers and their openness to the
power of good process.
Much longer than I wished. The outcomes from OST events and process are
far reaching and very powerful we should try and track them through good
I was wondering about your experience of OST being scapegoated for poor
outputs. I feel this is worth exploring.
I heartily agree with your guidance about the importance of evaluation of
OST events and processes. I have found that it is challenging to separate
out the evaluation of OST as separate from tracking the progress of the
total consulting assignment and the results. I am wondering what thoughts
you or anyone have about this.
In our Genuine Contact way of Working with Open Space Technology, we
encourage our clients to have what we call an accountability meeting
sometime between 4-6 months after an OST meeting so that the participants
express to one another the progress as a result of the OST meeting. This
has been helpful.
I remember an assignment for the school of business at a college. The
situation had intense conflict, grievances by the union against the Dean.
The Dean had the courage to engage us and to go ahead with a two day OST
meeting plus 1/2 day for prioritizing and developing next step actions. We
chose the theme'issues and opportunities for organizational excellence'.
Day one was challenging beyond belief, with harsh topics coming up
including that the Dean should be fired.Day two additional topics were
posted. The 1/2 day of prioritizing included a dominant theme of evaluating
the Dean for the purpose of getting her fired. Yes, she sat there
throughout all of this, not shutting this down. I admired her very much and
she offered to be as transparent as she could possibly be in answering what
would be asked of her.
Four months later, just before the accountability meeting, she phoned me to
say that she didn't think we would have a good meeting because she wasn't
sure that the groups that had formed had actually done their work. We
agreed to take no action but to let the meeting unfold in whatever way it
The accountability meeting was done within the method Whole Person Process
Facilitation. When it came time for the 'champions' of actionable items to
report to their peers about progress, it turned out that lots of action had
happened, everyone had a report. Discussions took place regarding the
reports to further the evaluative/accountability/tracking process.
The report and discussion that dealt with the performance of the Dean was
the big surprise. The group reported that within the constrains imposed on
her by the College and its rules, she had actually done a good job.
Some months later, the union grievances against the Dean were being heard.
As a result of what happened in the OST (outcomes more than outputs
affected this), even unionized staff spoke on her behalf in the hearing and
the grievances were dropped. She phoned to tell me of this, in complete
amazement that this was possible. She thanked me for helping her hold
steady in the process so that the people could address what they needed to
in genuine contact,
*Supporting Next Level Leadership "Leading So People Will Lead"*
Author, Senior Consultant, President Dalar International Consultancy, Inc
Founder Genuine Contact Program
Co-owner Genuine Contact Group, LLC
Founder Extraordinary Leadership Network
*Learn with us for your skill and capacity development for leading and
working in the new leadership paradigm "Leading So People Will Lead"*
Upcoming learning module: Working with Open Space Technology
Three different learning options to learn a process for facilitating
meetings that engage the people. Self-Study + One-to-One Mentoring +
Mentoring Circle; Self-Study + Real-Time Workshop + Mentoring Circle;
+ Real-Time Workshop + One-to-One Mentoring + Mentoring Circle with real
time workshop dates three consecutive Fridays from 9am to 12:30pm EST on
October 18, 25, and November 1st.
PO Box 19373, Raleigh, NC, USA 27613
On Sat, Sep 28, 2019 at 10:19 PM Robert Chaffe via OSList <
oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:
> Thank you for your comments as you refer to "outcomes" or things that
> happened under the influences beyond your control. Some use the words
> "surprises" or "unexpected". These are often the game changers.
> Why do we not have a great list of these things? I think it is because
> we are often contracted to do a job in a very complex system involving many
> "jobs". In "Who moved my Cheese" we are reminded that the prudent
> operator spends some time looking around and checking the environment and
> changes. In the business world this level of thinking is not common. The
> Fortune 500 group do this and "we" developed a program called "Group
> Business Visits" that got business people out of their own business and
> into another business to confidentiality review that business and its
> practices, direction etc. A very powerful process and one that is much
> valued by those who have chosen to us it. "To see ourselves as other see
> us" and to be humble enough to accept what is said.
> The breakdown in most contracts is that the focus is on "outputs" things
> that can be directly controlled. Systemic integrated evaluation is
> uncommon in most contracts and that is where this "outcome" data comes from.
> In our "irrigation Futures" project the contact was for specific outputs
> over three years. We engaged over 500 people in a wide range of
> conversations and meetings at a time when the allocation of irrigation
> water in South East Australia was under significant review (cities were
> running out if water) at the same time a massive deregulation of the dairy
> industry was undertaken. The major secondary industries in the irrigation
> area process milk fruit and vegetables was under considerable strain with
> over $100 million put in to prop up one industry alone.
> The participants of our workshops included all levels of management in
> primary and secondary industries and the wider community.
> 80% of the dairy farms have disappeared one process company worth over
> $900 million was sold for under $30 million. many smaller dairy processing
> plants closed. Once viable towns struggle to field their own football
> teams and empty shops are everywhere.
> I am sure that around the globe this story can be told in many places
> about the local primary and secondary industries. The big difference in
> our case was all these changes were identified and discussed as plausible
> possibilities and appropriate responses generated. OST was used
> extensively to work through issues and opportunities and complexity was the
> order of the day.
> Consequences have been the adjustments in this multi billion dollar
> industry area of Australia have been in some way based on prior
> discussions the people involved had had.
> The surprise moment came when the local member stood up in defense of her
> community and publicly denounced the leader of her party and the prime
> minister in the Parliament House for telling a lie about her community.
> This is not your normal outcome from a process as it reflects that the
> local member has the support of the whole community and that she could
> speak out safely about issues that needed to be addressed.
> Regretfully we had limited fund to continue on annual debrief sessions to
> capture the changes and the growth of the community. The outcome referred
> to has now resulted in the election of independents in once very strongly
> held conservative party areas in the electorates in the irrigation
> districts involved.
> Dis OST cause this? It is certainly drawing a long bow to even think this
> way. As the facilitator of this multi million dollar project I believe
> that as the participants learned the art of conversation and truly valued
> others inputs while not seeking single answers we had a community that was
> ready and able to adapt to change. Change that has completely changed
> their community and their ability to do business.
> I am sure others have similar stories, and when you see them in this short
> form the response is this is not possible. The next thing is to retreat
> back to the area of outputs where there is a high level of control and keep
> things simple. I say beware when the time has come for an idea to express
> itself and one thing that OST does is lift the lid on issues and
> Again in "who moved my Cheese" we need to lift our head and be brave
> enough to say "wrong paddock or field" when things are coming up roses.
> OST does expand the writing on the wall and we avoid this at our peril.
> One other issue is that we are always ready to blame things like OST for
> poor outputs, a scapegoat. When things work and we have outstanding
> outcomes we must include OST as part of the fabric of success. How much we
> include it is dependent on the faith of the decision makers and their
> openness to the power of good process.
> Much longer than I wished. The outcomes from OST events and process are
> far reaching and very powerful we should try and track them through good
> evaluation process.
> On Tue, 24 Sep 2019 at 10:37, Birgitt Williams via OSList <
> oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:
>> Hi Jake,
>> I appreciated the way that you organized this case study data. I
>> appreciated a lot that the way that you reported the data gives OST its due
>> credit while simultaneously not claiming that it does more than it does in
>> a given business situation. Mostly it is presented a a chosen tool/method
>> for specific tasks within larger business processes, thus showing one
>> aspect of the versatility and value of OST.
>> I feel that the case studies would be enhanced if there was an addition
>> of a category that I refer to as 'outcomes'. These outcomes are the
>> additional qualitative benefits that emerge. People have a shared
>> experience of their leadership, vision, community, and management in ways
>> that surpass what they assumed was possible. Something happens within that
>> OST meeting that cannot be unremembered or undone.
>> in genuine contact,
>> *Birgitt Williams*
>> *Supporting Next Level Leadership "Leading So People Will Lead"*
>> Author, Senior Consultant, President Dalar International Consultancy, Inc
>> Founder Genuine Contact Program
>> Co-owner Genuine Contact Group, LLC
>> Founder Extraordinary Leadership Network
>> *Learn with us for your skill and capacity development for leading and
>> working in the new leadership paradigm "Leading So People Will Lead"*
>> Upcoming learning module: Working with Open Space Technology
>> Three different learning options to learn a process for facilitating
>> meetings that engage the people. Self-Study + One-to-One Mentoring +
>> Mentoring Circle; Self-Study + Real-Time Workshop + Mentoring Circle;
>> and Self-Study + Real-Time Workshop + One-to-One Mentoring + Mentoring
>> Circle with real time workshop dates three consecutive Fridays from 9am
>> to 12:30pm EST on October 18, 25, and November 1st.
>> PO Box 19373, Raleigh, NC, USA 27613
>> Phone: 01-919-522-7750
>> On Fri, Sep 20, 2019 at 7:17 PM Jake Yeager via OSList <
>> oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:
>>> Hi everyone,
>>> I've compiled OST case studies in a brief format
>>> that I find useful for contracting. Others might too.
>>> I compiled them from Open Space World, the User's Guide, and Tales from
>>> Open Space.
>>> Feel free to add.
>>> Much love,
>>> When the mind is quiet, the sun of your heart will shine once again, and
>>> you will be free of problems.
>>> - Robert Adams <http://www.robert-adams.info/>
>>> OSList mailing list
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