So what if you could edit the DNA of your
organization? Would you do it or does that sound too radical?
What if you could alter your organization's genetic code, to
have more of what works and fewer problems? Isn't that what you're
already trying to do? Better yet, isn't that what you actually
are doing right now, as you take in new information, see new
patterns, envision new structures and strike up strategic conversations
about new ways to work?
The organization of our world really is dissolving
-- jobs into projects, communication into computers, corporate
offices into homes and copy centers, and even national sovereignty
into international markets and corporate strategy. The lifecycles
of many jobs, products, strategies, and even some whole organizations
have been crashed from decades to months.
In these times of swirling change, it's never
been more important for leaders to emerge at every level of all
kinds of organizations, to be able to look into the pulsing chaos
of how real work actually gets done, to appreciate the evolutionary
cycles of organizational systems and structures, and to understand
their own efforts, conversations, stories and actions as the
DNA of the organizational life they are already, and inescapably,
working to create.
In other words, leaders everywhere are being
called to the challenge of intentional evolution, called to continually
change courses and edit their organizational DNA by editing their
own efforts, conversations, stories and actions in ways that
invite their colleagues...
- into a purposeful pulsation across the gap,
the open space, between insight and integration, planning and
practice, problems and possibilities, seeing and doing;
- into a careful unfolding and unveiling of
what is most important to us, in the context of public invitations
and professional interactions, with confidence that we will know
what to do and be embraced by whatever shows up next, in an ever-subtler
spiraling journey; and
- into the realization that when we take responsibility
for changing, sharing, supporting and reconnecting with more
of ourselves, we take responsibility for the well-being of our
whole organization and the rest of the world.
Open Space Technology is one simple, powerful
way to invite leaders, from all over an organization or community,
to come together and practice intentional evolution -- to deepen
insight, to open invitations, to adapt systems, and pull their
various acts together -- in the midst of rapid, even swirling,
change. Far from an abstract, academic exercise, intentional
evolution in Open Space is fast becoming one of the most practical
(and prudent) approaches for leading the life of an organization.
As one CEO put it: "It scares the hell out of me, but I
know it's what we have to do...so let's do it."
The next section says more about Open Space
Technology and offers some practical tools for inviting organizations
to work more intentionally in Open Space.