What’s the least possible structure that gets the job done?

Leading with structure … good idea, right? After all, the world pulls in that direction, asks us our structures almost before it checks on who’s there. What if I could focus on getting things done and see what structure emerged?

And so, what am I setting about to do this week?
Looks like more sound editing, organizing photos, getting used to this blog and my Open Space Place (Drupal) web site commands, 17 hours of classes with a few coaching practicums thrown in if my energy allows. I have one afternoon of standard work (coaching) and our International Community Choir starts back after the new year.

The coaching program i’m taking is just since last week really coming into high focus after months of me being preoccupied with other things. There’s a chance I could finish the program in June if I finish all requirements in the next 7 weeks. It’s not really clear which classes I’ve already taken and which I need to take in these 7 weeks. Record keeping is one of those structures I try to live my life so as to avoid. Actually I’ve considered myself quite clever, mostly keeping records by sending myself a Gmail notice when I’ve taken a class. There’s several that don’t show up there and these are the tricky ones. Then again, what’s the harm of taking some of the classes a second time if I can?

So, I’ve not always had this approach to structure. Used to be I got WAY bogged down in it.

I’ve studied and worked in facilitation with ICA (Institute of Cultural Affairs) since 1999. There is a Taiwan community of facilitators certified by this group … the group operates as a loosely-connected on-going learning community. A bigger community takes part in monthly (or so) Facilitater Forum evening programs. We engage and grapple and learn. Open. Inviting. Honest. Really lovely. The ICA group of master facilitators (so I call them here, they don’t call themselves such) is quietly able and ready to work with everyone. ICA is all around the world. They are a service non-profit totally well grounded and very very clear and steeped in over 50 years of what I think is leading-edge group experience, starting in Chicago’s inner city. They can easily work with the biggest corporations or the corner establishment. Anyone. As long as the group is willing to move toward a participative way of being. Leaders often like the sound, as it means more proactiveness in the group. It also means less control, more trust. Frightening stuff sometimes, whether for one person or a group.

A second, very much overlapping group is the Open Space Technology group. Check out their listserve, or any google search. They show up lots of places. Harrison Owen went 30 years ago from highly-structured meeting organizer to having a real eye-opener that the feedback forms all said the coffee break was meeting attendees’ favorite time, so he created a marvellous, human structure to bring amazing, fresh life … with passion and responsibility … to meetings. This deserves an intro a bit later on.

OST is a gem, embodying the concept of minimal structure — just enough to get what’s ready to happen, out and into life. Kinda like a baby being born. Mostly you just want to allow it to happen smoothly without making too many requirments on baby or mom.

Little process comment here, I’m not quite ready now to embed links in my posts. After a bit more familiarity with this platform I’ll come back and help you out by putting links up.

For now, here’s this on the OST listserve: To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your options, view the archives of oslist@listserv.boisestate.edu:


1 Response to “What’s the least possible structure that gets the job done?”

  1. 1 Open Space World » What’s the least possible structure that gets the job done? Trackback on March 19, 2007 at 6:17 pm

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