What’s it like to work with Michael Herman? What do other people say? The comments on this page come from emails I’ve received from clients, colleagues, and workshop participants…

About Michael Herman
About Open Space Meetings
About Facilitator Coaching and Mentoring
About Training Workshops and Retreats.

About Michael…

…I tell them Michael Herman is one of those people you meet once and never forget, the kind of person you have one conversation with and it changes your life. –vice president, strategic planning and customer excellence, fortune 500 industrial design equipment maker

…you really know how to bring people together. –business owner, chicago

…I appreciate your observing, articulating, living with, and working to change deep patterns …in yourself, in the groups you work with, in the world, and in the Mind that we all share (are). And that you take relationships more seriously than anything else. –author, friend and colleague, san francisco

I am so honored to know a peacemaker who gives his life in the service of greater peace in the world. Thank you for your commitment and contribution to Life. –executive coach, consultant and director, chicago

…you are the spirit of invitation, embodied. Your offer to listen to my many questions about how to apply Open Space Technology to the classroom setting, and how to introduce the idea of Open Space to senior management at my institution, was not only so generous; but the offer itself created a kind of space, where I was able to spill out all the pieces of my story and my hesitations and my preconceptions about what would and wouldn’t work. You very easily perceived the potential invitations in all of those pieces, and so gave me a direct and very encouraging, energizing, experience of how inspiration and order can emerge very rapidly from a bit of chaos! So… I used a (very) modified open space… the breakout sessions and the closing circle were an extraordinarily community-building experience for most of the students, and looks like it will lead to some interesting student-initiated projects here. –assistant dean, washington

I was just browsing the web to see what was new in OST as I prepare to open space in a course called Coaching for Peak Performance and Personal Success at [the] University tomorrow morning. I would be remiss if I didn’t take an opportunity to reach out and say hello. I fondly remember a late night we spent together in 1997 (five years earlier) where you introduced me to large scale change meetings including Future Search and Search Conference as well as others. That evening was life changing in many ways for me. You opened my mind to possibilities and dreams that have influenced my teaching about organizations and in my private practice of clinical psychology. Sometimes we touch each others lives in profound ways. Our conversation was one of those signature events in my life. I’m not sure that I have words to articulate what changed, but in short, I began to understand at a gut level what large systems are all about and a fractal nature of both organizations and people. Thank you. –business professor and clinical psychologist, chicago

About Open Space Meetings

…thanks for organizing a remarkable board meeting. I have been on publicly-traded REIT boards, other for-profit boards and countless nonprofit boards, but this type of working board meeting is unique in my experience. It was the best board meeting experience I have ever had and it was also a delight spending time with all of you.  –association board member and ce0 of member organization

Open Space is not so much a tool, technique or process as a way of life that affirms possibility and raises spirit to build constructive workplaces and communities. –workshop participant and consultant, chicago

…ideas and best practices have been shared. My job has more meaning. Networking opportunities happened in a short period of time. The number of connections I made (in two days) would have taken me four months under normal circumstances. I can take home the ideas that were shared in my sessions and in sessions I was not able to attend (via proceedings document). I can help put ideas to work. It is no longer talk. Action will be taken. PASSION has been ignited. –statewide summit participant

…The day of Open Space at our National Meeting was a roaring success — many felt it was our best ever. It was universally appreciated and praised. While I was confident it would work and people would like it, I knew many were anxious and doubtful. And I never expected universal endorsement. I’m deeply grateful to have had this opportunity — to shadow Michael (Herman), to feel the power of OST within our organization, and to have the seed of our new culture self-organize and take hold. –internal od/learning specialist

I want to thank you for helping make yesterday’s meeting an unqualified success. I am a true believer in Open Space technology. We should consider adopting this format for every meeting. It can be one of the aspects that our group will be known for. I’m sure the word will spread and our attendance will climb rapidly and regularly. There was so much energy and enthusiasm in the room. –internet entrepreneur and network organizer, chicago

Thanks again very much for arranging the conditions for wonderful things to happen. I made it home, a little frayed at the seams after a multi-hour delay at O’Hare, but fine. Just thought it might amuse you to know I’m already living dangerously…Suddenly found out I had to teach 6th grade Sunday school, and decided that I’d use the circle, the concept of an open space that we’d return to each week, and bulletin board with the kids. This was a big adaptation, because I wasn’t quite comfortable giving them the law of 2 feet (they actually have to stay in the classroom), but I think it worked. I asked them what they really wanted to make sure we had talked about by the end of the year, and asked them to own topics, with names. (We also have a certain amount of fixed curriculum to do.) One kid came forth immediately. There were a few scary moments when I wasn’t sure if a second idea would be posted, but pretty soon postings 2-15 came pouring out. The bell rang and the kids wandered out, looking a little dazed, not quite sure what had happened! But they did know that something different was being created in that room, and that some different expectations were being raised. Work in progress. –internal OD consultant and training workshop participant, new jersey

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About Facilitator Coaching and Mentoring

…just back from Open Space …managed to blast myself into orbit and navigate my way home safely. All went well. …I have a greater appreciation for your suggestion to leave the room and get a coffee once the market place opens up. Good grief. It was pandemonium. …wanted to drop you a quick line and tell you how much I valued your help. Your input and coaching boosted my confidence and my skill. And I had fun. Your coaching on the phone was the best workshop I never attended. Thanks! –consultant coached through first Open Space, Halifax, Nova Scotia

…Ken Wilber is one person whose thinking has helped a lot. Michael Herman’s work has really been most useful in adapting this stuff to OST for me. And there are many others, including Stuart Kauffman, Meg Wheatley, Angeles Arrien, David Bohm, Steven Johnson, Peggy Holman and Anne Stadler, Alan Stewart, Christina Baldwin, Fritjof Capra. Pema Chodron, Otto Scharmer, Adam Kahane, William Issacs and Peter Senge who have all been influential in helping to map the territory I find myself on as a result of using OST. consultant and facilitator, vancouver BC

Another big thank you for the exciting and expansive dialogue during our mentoring session on Open Space. Though the implications have not completely taken form, there have been immediate results. The meeting two days later with the client who is forming a new organization took a different direction. They chose leadership from those who have passion and responsibility for the organization and decided to keep the organization open without registration and dues, but fueled by the creativity of those who wish to donate time, energy and money. The large group facilitation next month should be very exciting. The leadership is thinking open space and out of the box. I am sure that this happened because you helped me see alternatives with this client and I allowed the possibilities to emerge in the group. A similar situation occurred with another international client this week. They saw the possibilities of opening up their major meeting to allow grass root thinking and action to focus the future of the organization. They have a very traditional Germanic culture, but are also facing dramatic structural changes along with resistance. –consultant and facilitator, chicago

Our conversation is whirring around in my mind so fast that I think it will be a day or two before the many questions to begin find a way out! It was so inspiring and illuminating talking story with you… –dean of professional school, seattle

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About Training Workshops and Practice Retreats

Many thanks, Michael. Time to act. –consultant, hong kong

Michael…the seed that you planted has grown into many plants with many OST practitioners active in Singapore. The charts you left behind are still with me! (nearly ten years later) — OD consultant, singapore

…right after the workshop, I used the concepts in an innovation session that we were having with a product development group. I did not call it open space as we just used a portion of the process. However. it worked beautifully. My other instructors helping me with the session said “Wow, they did not come up with any of the common, usual and expected ideas. They really went beyond the ordinary.” So even in abridged versions it works. –internal OD consultant, chicago

…I didn’t have a chance to thank you on Friday afternoon for the wonderful day… I was very glad to be there. I learned some things. I got some batteries charged. I got more or deeper respect for OST. I renewed some friendships, and think I have made (or started to make) some new ones. I got some insights about my own journey this year… –independent OD consultant, chicago

Please keep sharing your experiences. It gives us tremendous energy. I have opened space in all my workshops since (the Mumbai workshop) October and it has really been well received. I have not been conducting Open Space in the classic version but have blended it with my style of working. It has been working wonders. I will be doing a series of workshops for the community of doctors, nurses etc in service orientation and hope to use this technology. OPEN space to OPEN hearts. –community organizer in mumbai, india

I just wanted to thank you from the very marrow of my bones for inviting me into such a rich experience this past week. I was stunned by the very real connections in all our lives’ work. Aside from feeling inspired by the technology itself and the possibilities it awakens, I gained both helpful, concrete information and new potential friends with whom to explore and from whom to learn. I cannot thank you enough for encouraging me to go and being so flexible and generous in making sure that I got there. What a blessing that you called me that afternoon a couple of months ago! I am looking forward to more meeting. –community organizer, chicago

You run a wonderful workshop… I had a great experience! Learning by doing is always the way to go and this was no exception. I feel pretty confident going into this week’s meeting (where I will use Open Space right away). I’ve posted my notes… –director, teaching excellence academy, chicago

Thank you for inviting me to the Open Space. I am still digesting my experiences and making connections of conversations and organizational issues. The group was delightful and very stimulating company. I particularly enjoyed our afternoon discussion regarding Inviting Organization… it was wonderful to experience your passion for this and to hear you reveal some of what it means to you personally. Thank you for sharing with me. I look forward to another opportunity to experience open space. You are a gracious host and I am richer for having attended. –internal consultant and workshop participant, wisconsin

I used the Open Space Technology for the first time at our division retreat last Thursday and Friday. It worked spectacularly. I was running late coming on Friday morning and left a message for them to get started without me. I arrived 20 minutes after the scheduled start time and the room had 4 work groups following up from the previous day with unexpected junior individuals standing at flip charts, driving the discussions. It was a “home run” as far as I was concerned. Thanks for all your help and insights. –vice president, consulting and education, boston

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