Sorry if you get this twice – I posted it a few hours ago, and it hasn’t
shown up . . . I believe the OSList was sending to an inactive account . . .
Hopefully this one will fly :-)


Greetings folks . . . Below is today’s posting to my blog HYPERLINK
com – One of the questions during this event was whether there has been good
“accounting” or reporting of Open Space events worldwide. I know there is
some . . . but I also know that there are 1000s of OS events happening
around the world with little documentation . . . Here’s one . . .


Wishing everyone the best!




Open Space - Expect to be SURPRISED! Thursday, I opened space for the MBA
program I referenced in my last post. Self-preparation for opening these
"small spaces" turns out to be more "difficult" for me. Finding personal
focus and center is more of a challenge when the "event" happens in the
midst of an otherwise tumultuous schedule (Real estate business). The larger
Open Space events typically "own" the entire day allowing me more "control"
over the "noise" around me. I did what anyone would do - Made the best of
what I had. I had prepared my posters and time matrix the day prior and had
assembled all of the"tools" for the event, so all I really needed to do was
to collect my thoughts and my peace so as to be able to present with

I was actually more nervous than I have EVER been as I drove to the School .
. . Feeling less prepared . . . and having some trepidation with the fact
that I was not immersed in the full meaning of the Theme. I had only been
contacted to do this 3 days prior and only knew the theme 48 hours prior.
There was little time for preparation. My only saving mantra was: "With a
good Heart and a good head, anyone can open space . . . and it ALWAYS
works." The unique ingredient present for these OS events in the "academic
world" is that the participants are present more to actually assess/evaluate
the process than to "engage" in the Theme. My "challenge" is to present a
safe enough environment in my 20 minute opening to shift that energy from
assessment to engagement . . . and then to hold the space for the remaining
30 minutes to give them time to find some level of immersion so as to
cultivate a field for emergent "REAL" issues and opportunities related to
the theme. I have gambled 3 times now that it would work . . . and 3 times,
I have been validated with amazing results.

When I arrived at the school (11:00 AM) the professor met me and said that
the room still had another class in it - We went to his office and sat for @
15 minutes and talked . . . This was my "shifting" time from Real Estate to
Open Space. I felt myself finding focus very quickly. It was just what I
needed. At 11:15, we walked down to the room . . . The students from the
class before were just beginning to leave the room. The room was very full
of tables/chairs in rows . . . I began hanging my posters while the
professor engaged the incoming students in the task of "undoing the room."
In a short 5 minutes, the physical space had been fully prepared with 45
chairs in a perfect circle and all the pertinent posters arranged around the
room . . . At 11:22, all of the students were seated in the circle and we
began the opening . . . SEVEN MINUTES to prepare the space - WOW!

I found my "flow" quickly in the opening. The energy in the room was good.
It was apparent to me that this was "just another class" for the
participants and that there was really no expectation that there would be
any benefit derived for them other than to witness the process (Open Space
Technology). Attention was high in the sense that I felt that they were
listening and understanding. When it came time for the students topost their
issues and opportunities relating to the Theme "The Role and Integration of
International Students in the School" there was VERY little movement towards
the center of the circle. One student posted a topic - Led to another . . .
and then "an International Student" stood and came to center and explained
his issue very passionately . . . He was then followed by a series of other
International Students with equally passionate issues.

The Marketplace opened and sessions began . . . We only had @ 15 minutes for
sessions because the posting period took longer than I expected . . . and it
took the group @ 5 minutes to sort iself into 6 groups . . . 15 minutes of
passionate discussion - I saw butterflies AND bumblebees . . . All the
components were present. And I rang the bells for "Evening News." Everyone
returned to the circle, and we had some AHAs . . . Turns out, there were
several real issues identified in that short period of time . . . and there
were connections made which were sure to result in continued dialogue after
the class.

I was asked to comment on the session: "Was this normal? Seems there were
fewer postings than everyone expected, but the results were VERY passionate
and meaningful dialogue." If there had been a different topic, would there
have been more "success" in terms of more topics posted? My reflection was
that this Theme was a "sleeper" . . . a "Dead Moose Topic" for the school
and that I believe the conversation has never been given "Appropriate
space"- The International Students are naturally more "reserved" . . . There
are/were many real issues which have not been "aired" because, in fact, the
integration of the International students (While considered to be EXTREMELY
important to the faculty and administration) was woefully inadequate. 

At the conclusion of the class, we had 5 minutes to "re-do" the room for the
next class. I took the posters down while the participants rearranged the
furniture. there was NO time for closure . . . BUT . . . As I was walking
out the door, 2 students approached me and announced themselves as the 2
student Leaders of International Relations for the school. They had both
just happened to have been members of this class and had participated and
listened passionately. They thanked me for the opportunity and told me that
they had identified 3 "initiatives" which they were going to implement

So I say again EXPECT TO BE SURPRISED! These students expected to witness a
"Change Management Facilitation Process for Large Group Self-Organization"
and what they got is that PLUS a new direction for the International Student
Integration into the school . . . In EXACTLY 90 minutes.

I am not "consulting" for/with this school, so it is not likely I will hear
how things will play out . . . but I do know that I will again be invited
for another small open Space for the Spring Class . . . and we'll tackle
another pertinent Theme for the school. Not every Open Space "Practitioner"
is an advocate for "small spaces" because of the limitations of the space. A
compressed period of time does not "allow" for maturity of the space and the
result is less likely to yield "lasting change." My argument would be more
along the lines that assuming there are potential issues and opportunities
(emergent, latent, or obvious), a little Open Space is better than no open
Space . . . because it DOES offer breath and creates the possibility of new
connections and community . . .

My next "official" Opening of Space will be for my own company. We'll do a
full day to explore issues and opportunities around our up-coming move to a
new (LARGE) office space and dealing with our recent growth . . . and
strategizing for future growth in the Middle Tennessee market.


Barry Owen



Also . . . if you know of anyone (friend, family, work associate) in need of
help with real estate, please give me a call. I LOVE referrals and treat
them like royalty :-)


Website HYPERLINK ""


Barry Owen

Principal Broker
The Owen Group
Keller Williams Realty - Green Hills Market Center
2209 Crestmoor Road Ste 210
Nashville, TN 37215
Direct - 615.568.2123
Toll Free 866.375.0965
Fax - 615.523.2462


Keller Williams Realty is a learning-based Training & Consulting Company
supporting our Real Estate Professionals by offering business models,
systems, tools, & support to Build Careers Worth Having, Businesses Worth
Owning, and Lives worth living . . . We are THE fastest growing, most
innovative real estate company in America. Check us out @ HYPERLINK


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