SESSION TOPIC: Selling the Idea that "Whoever Comes Are the Right People"

Host: Susan K. Hughes

Scribe/note taker: Susan K. Hughes

Participants: Nancy Franklin


Discussion Highlights: Much of the discussion referred to non-OS events that provided examples of gatherings at which the most unlikely attendee provided the most insight sometimes the right people are the surprising people (per Doug's example) or at which the organizer was so intent upon "the right people" (in the non-OS meaning of the words) being there that the potential of the first rule and the OS approach is forsaken.

Barbara summarized the lesson to be learned: there is no magic potion for successful outcomes. The "right people" argument is really shifting responsibility in disguise. There are no "silver bullets." There is no cause to place blame.

The risks associated with real or perceived mandatory attendance were discussed. It is important that people come because they want to and that they not feel obligated to "stay" if they are uncomfortable, uninvolved, or otherwise disengaged. The discomfort associated with a new experience such as OS may prsent should be recognized and honored. Participating in OS involves putting oneself at risk. Recognize "freedom shock." Some might have their envelopes stretched to the point that they not just CHOOSE to leave, but MUST leave. It is important that everyone recognizes the freedom to LEAVE without blame or perceived insult (The Law of Mobility) but it's also important that people understand there is equal freedom to RETURN without stigma or judgement.

Recommendations: Be sure that the invitation is cast wide to attract as many people with interest and passion in the issue as possible. Follow up with personal invitations and encouragement but not pressue wherever possible. "People don't come unless they're invited personally."

Beware of the "right people" argument being a control issue and that having the "right" powerful people may be an effort to forward a personal agenda.

Ask "What if?"

Recognize that the number of people changes the dynamics. Diversity is valuable. A true and "passionate" response to the invitation is elemental to success.

One person should not overwhelm or dominate the group. It is more difficult to prevent this in a large gtroup.

At the begining of the process formulating the convening question there must be clarity about the responsibilities and obligations involved.

The "right people" are those who choose to come.

People can have more than one opportunity. The conversation can be ongoing, reconvened, repeated.

There must be space for dissent.

In assessing success or examining difficulties it is important to ask whether the event was truly an "Open space." Did it meet the criteria?

Having only "bosses" in attendance may mean that nobody is there who can actually get the work done. The converse ma also be true.

Powerful quotes:

Nancy: "One sign of mental health is running out of people to blame."

Doug: "Sometimes the right people are the surprising people."

Barbara: "It's shifting responsibility in disguise."

Misty: "OS allows and encourages going with your passions."

"OS is a great forum for many different learning and activity styles."

"Sometimes having the 'right people' in attendance prevents others from geting the appropriate work done."

Unanswered questions: