Harrison Owen über den Umgang mit Auftraggebern

About using Open Space stories to convince skepticism

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"I can think of a dozen stories or more -- but in my experience you could have 100 stories and it still wouldn't do it. The common comment is, "That is all very nice, but it will never work with THIS group." And of course it never will if they don't try -- which will vindicate the boss's skepticism. When faced with a situation like this I always do something like what Michael P. (Pannwitz) proposes. Don't try and sell OS, or even "prove" that it will work.


Take a very clinical view and simply tell the folks what the essential conditions are (real business issue, complexity, diversity, conflict, immanent decision time) and ask them if they think it fits. Sometimes I will also go a little further and suggest that they try real hard to think of alternative approaches and when, or if, they run out of options, come and talk to me.

One thing I would pay special attention to -- the boss's understanding of what "works" means. If he has some hidden agenda (plan) that he wants implemented -- disappointment is inevitable. By the same token, if he is violently allergic to bad news, and maybe even the news that HE is the problem -- OS will "work," but you will have a hard job convincing him that it did.

Last thought -- I would never do an OS focused on the "Problem of Communication." It is much too nebulous, and more to the point it is a symptom and not the root cause. As a matter of fact I would suggest that the folks are communicating very well -- and the message is, "In your face, Baby" -- or whatever the Aussie equivalent may be. My theme would be
something like, "What are the issues and opportunities for creating a project that really works?" That way there is sufficient space for everything to come out. Doubtless there would be some sessions on "communication" -- which probably won't go very far towards resolution. And there will be many more sessions on real work related issues and opportunities. Guess what -- folks will be communicating about stuff that matters.

Have fun!"

Harrison Owen (auf der Open Space Emailliste)

Lesen Sie auch den Basisartikel über Open Space und genießen Sie die Fotogeschichte Der größte Open Space der Welt in Würzburg 2003.