CornerStone Consulting AssociatesOpen Space Technology

A Leader's Concerns

Leaders, managers, opinion leaders -- all have concerns when entering into Open Space. ”Should I attend?” ”Will people be candid if I'm there?” ”How should I act?” These are common questions.

Since we are bringing ”the whole system into one room,” we must allow the interpersonal dynamics to play out. Learning to do so in a safe and open environment is a major leap forward.

Following are some guidelines for reflection prior to the Open Space event. All of us would do well to think on these things.
  • Be yourself -- be human. Participate as a person, not as a boss.
  • Don't hide what you know or deny your role in the organization.
  • Contribute your thoughts from your own real-life perspective. For example, talk about your challenges and frustrations as a manager.
  • Be patient -- don't try to fill silences or try to make sure things go well.
  • Let the entire group of participants determine the pace and direction of the Open Space event.
  • Feel free to propose a theme and host a break-out session. Once there, provide the environment for open and candid converstion. Don't try to guide the conversaiton or control the flow.
  • If hostility surfaces, don't take it personally. It's not meant to harm, even if misdirected at you. Treat it as the venting of concerns by people who have a lot of feeling for the organization and want to improve the work and the work environment.
  • Don't try to fix anything. Listen openly and undefensively, leaving analysis and problem solving for later in the process.

© CCA 1998

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CornerStone Consulting Associates
Bringing Systems to Life
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