facilitating & hosting personal reflections

Tales of a Stowaway

The stowaway was me. The ship was a committed crew doing this work in the world.  The one who helped me aboard asked me this, “So, what did you learn?”

Here are a few apples I tucked in my sack:

  • Open Space is an invitation; from forming a core team and its organic expansion, to inviting the system (the phone calls!), to including the invitation at the start of the opening space words and again before people step forward to create the agenda. It’s all invitation. It’s all invitation.
  • Five Breaths are the legs of the journey; Chaordic Stepping Stones sets the agenda at each leg.
  • Spiral out and map on stickies who needs to be here on outwards.
  • Integrating cynefin with the leadership invitation process and with the core team.  What we’re dealing with is complex and what that means, no expectations on outcomes and things will get started.
  • Doing a day and a half OST or two and a half but not two days; better for action planning and report generating when you can do it at the end of a day instead of over lunch. Full form really builds community. And no one hour sessions (grumble grumble too short!).
  • Little sayings (it’s like a breath – whiew agenda – whew – meet – whiew – back in for end of day circle) and tricks to keep you busy and not “helping” a self-organizing process.
  • Leaving the blank example on the wall; what space that might open!
  • Did I mention the core team? The organizing team? Key word = team. Not trying to do it all to create the space for someone else to step into a contribution.
  • Computers: ideally 7 for every 100 folks. Watch for version issues between generations of operating systems (2003? 2007? Mac? Ah!). And a must to have a newsroom host or two!
  • Zack’s nifty create-a-wall solution for the photo project and approach to harvesting (multiple time-lapse cameras, foam whiteboards for word signs and photo ops, questions for short video clips and probably other ideas I missed!).
  • An art team. Wow. Visual invitation that was present throughout the event.
  • Real-time ning posting of the reports.
  • Really integrating the talents of a graphic recorder like Avril; send folks to her, don’t put her in a corner where she’s out of sight, create good synergy for her to do her great work.
  • Have multiple graffiti walls where people could add their voice.
  • Using heart convergence (make a little plan) instead of dots and voting. Re-opening space for champions to step forward and emphasis on experimentation; 45 minutes to join the team, make their little plan and set a date to meet.
  • The power of having the first champions meeting set and announcing it to the community.
  • Circling back to those “who need to be there” who didn’t come to inquire why? And how to continue the invitation with them all the way along.
  • Invitation is a process that doesn’t end at the event.

And a lovely hurray for recognizing my patterns:

  • Messy, messy wall. Why was this messy agenda wall talking to me? Ah because when I have lots of balls in the air my tendency is to kick into organization gear. The wall was not messy. I am messy. Name it and smile!

And sitting on one curve realizing there is an even bigger learning edge to reach for:

  • At the wall agenda wall, instead of pointing to the tape and the time stickies, just ask “ So, what do you want to do?” And earn my Harrison badge.

And so much more that is cooking, unarticulated, in my brains and bones. So much more on the journey ahead that I am looking forward to. Thank you Chris, Devon, Becky, Rand, Zack, Katie and the rest of the crew. And to The Perch – a perfect spot for some delish food for this stowaway!