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thought i was going to blog the opposites of the four practices. turned out to be maybe somehting else. i thnk, perhaps, it could be the end of the beginning.

UPDATE: think: analyzing, protecting, fixing and wasting. male side of practice, easily supported in culture, as opposed to the stuff we're suggesting... at risk of polarizing this whole business.
akma 2 fixing posts in may 06
so wasting...maybe concrete...accounting? Yes accounting. map and territory. not enough to measure good, got to get out and make good. not enough to tally the value, invitations, and support budget... got to make good on them.

i don't think accounting is it. nor just measuring. this one can't be all positive, like the others, because it's the payoff. and if the payoff is positive, there isn't any point in changing. part of the point here is that the result that is being generated is something less than good. i think this one might turn out to be quite challenging. most challenging of all of them. i think it's going to be taking credit. defending position. taking a stand, for yourself, rather than for the good. comes back to open space and clients saying "why did we need the faclitator after all?" or i still think it could be wasting... in the context of "use the your two feet. don't waste time." the somatic/narrative reports of wasting are hard to deny. wasting opportunities. leads back into our standard question: what are the issues and opportunities. let's not waste them. maybe we're just looking for the opposite of good. always making something, but sometimes less than greatest good. maybe then, the opposite is making sure, but that really loses a lot of punch. i think there is real merit in saying, "yes, you can do all the analysis, protecting and fixing that you like, but they still don't add up to making anything good... they end up missing the point. the point is to to good and so often when meetings and organizations are planned by analysis, defense and problemsolving, the result is wasted time, wasted money and wasted potential. i think that's probably the real message here... you can do it all right for four seasons, justifying as you go... but in the harvest, you'll finally be hungry. maybe that last practice is "going hungry." maybe it's "sacrificing." raises the question of what is being given up. and who's having to make the sacrifice. back to making. analyzing, protecting, fixing... and ultimately sacrificing... what is best, in favor of what can be counted, contained, and constructed, but just ain't true. the mythology of sacrifice runs deepest of all in this, the warrior martyr, saving the nation, feeding the family. it's everywhere. and what we're finding is that it's just not necessary. it's not necessary, and often counter-productive to die for "what's best" when we can live for "good." how often we seen analysis, importation and implementation of "best practices" fail miserably, because what's best for the other guys just doesn't work here? Somehow the analysts missed somethign. And how often we've seen the people's favorite champion teams be the ones that everyone says "there's no superstar here, just a lot of good players who work well together." Best is a theory. Counting is a myth. good is for real, good is what we can do and achieve, in reality, on the ground, with these people, this budget, these markers and papers, in this moment. Today we'll make some good. And tomorrow, we'll make a little more of it. It's slower, less flashy process. Harder to take credit for when you're in a job that you see as a stepping stone to something else, but easy to take pride in when you know in the right place. Doing right work. Good appreciates. And that's the real point. Good leaves somewhere to go next, something to do tomorrow. Best will be the death of us all, but for what have we sacrificed, for what have we spent our lives. If we're making good, in everyday practice, then we always have that good. It's like Joseph Campbell says about following our bliss. If we follow our bliss, we always have our bliss, no matter what else happens. If we chase out after best, we might spend a lifetime waiting, or working, without satisfaction. And even if we get it, we find ourselves tangled in analyzing, protecting and fixing our precious perfection, sacrificing ourselves on a fire of abundance. The alternative, we are finding, is to appreciate what is, what we have, what we have done and can do. Understand why it works, and invite friends and colleagues, neighbors and nations to make more of that. Support the moving and connecting that makes it possible for each little individual to make good, for themselves and the rest of us, in whatever small ways they can and choose... knowing that what happens next is that it appreciates, invites, and supports more and more good.

back cover... "inviting leadership skewers convincingly our trust in business analysis, servant leadership, problem-solving, and best practices and makes a good solid case for appreciation, invitation, connection and personal practice. aaaahhhhh..." -- jack welch

this bit of writing raises another important question for us: are we telling the story of our journey to discover these things, or to tell the conclusions we've arrived at and then justify them and wave around the sweet treats of just believing our math. as scientists and practitioners of invitation,i think we need to be bringing our data, not our deductions. yah? this piece above looks very different told those two ways. and if we're bringing the process, the chrono telling of the story fits the process of discovering much better than wiki-izing the thing.

consider this: facilitating is the opposite of inviting. trying to make things easy for others. securing, assuring, moderating, protecting, defending everyone's right to speak, and imposing everyone else's duty to listen to everyone. yeesh.

analyzing, facilitating, problem-solving, and best practices. how many buddhas can we kill in one story?


We have been refining our thinking and language for open space leadership. We have it down to these four inter-informing and inter-supporting practices: Appreciating, Inviting, Supporting and Making Good.

While the practices themselves are each quite whole and robust, tolerant of description but not of disecting, that's not actually how it is when we try to practice them as bodies. Incarnation is more discrete. On and off, in or out, dead or alive. More or less. Appreciating, Inviting, Supporting and Making Good. So it occurs to me that naming their opposites, daring to notice the dual nature, one might say... could be helpful.

To that end, for the opposite of appreciate, depreciate might be the obvious first call. Devalue, dismiss and neglect would not be far off either. But perhaps, it is discounting that says it best -- and captures what we feel as the inner action of not appreciating. For myself, I find it's rather a more familiar shape of mind than "appreciating."

For the others, I might suggest dividing or segmenting as the opposite of inviting. Notice that segmenting lies at the core of modern marketing, the latter being none too inviting for most of us, most of the time. That, I suppose is it's intent, but when it crept into the strategic planning language of my church, I thought we were really off track. Church is supposed to bring people together, for some kind of peace, inner and outer. Segmenting divides, and everybody knows dividing is the able assistant of conquer. So the active opposite of inviting might be defending. How often the argument against an open invitation comes back to some belief that something bad would happen? It wouldn't be safe, wouldn't be prudent, wouldn't be in control.

Moving along, controlling might be the obvious choice to oppose supporting. However, control can be hard to sense in ourselves when we're taking it, in part because a measure of control can sometimes be helpful. It's tempting to propose dictating, the act of imposing control, but that seems more dramatic than is useful in everyday affairs and relations. Imposing or taking are tempting, but also lend themselves to negative connations that really aren't necessary. Like discounting and defending, I think most of us have some felt sense of when we are imposing on others. More subtle sensations might be grabbing or grasping. Inside of it all, the truest opposite of supporting must be fixing.

Finally, the opposite of making could easily be breaking, but again too dramatic, and a bit off the mark. Recall, the practice is really making good. It's opposite is not as easy as "making bad", but is obvious enough when we come back to the sensation of practicing and not. The opposite of making good (on promise and promises) must be wasting. We hear this and see it all the time. As discounting, defending, and imposing are so common in organization, is it any wonder that we are so often bemoaning wasted time, wasted resources, and wasted opportunity. Wasted life.

My guess is that as we watch for the sensations of discounting, defending, imposing and waste -- and turn them around, we will automatically find ourselves wasting less and making good on more of what we still and already have. This, I suppose, is the heart of the experiment that we want to suggest. That we can use conscious practice and physical sensations as the means for leading the world in the direction of good.

Please notice that this is not the sort of experiment that one runs with mice or with plants, the sort of thing that is mosty passive, waiting to see if the mice die or the plants bloom. We are the mice and the plants in this study. We do the practice. We see and change the habits, deep habits of mind and body. It is easy to discount, familiar to make a mind or practice like great walls, to divide and defend, to take control of life and work -- and to wonder if we are wasting our lives.

So often we sense the truth but can't see any other way to live. We can see the negative effects of how we are working but can't sense how it could be different. So we keep going, we intend more strongly, and work harder. More coffee, longer hours, more and more and more. This book will invite you to do less -- which need not be passive or weak. The opposite of , it can be focused and sharp like a spear, but that requires that we be aiming for something. Thinking about so many great battle stories, the one at the front with the biggest, strongest, sharpest sword is always yelling and screaming, inviting everyone else forward.

If we would lead anywhere, improve anything, or evolve in any way, a department, a neighborhood, or a life, we'd best know where we are going. If the good news is we get to wield big swords, then the bad news must be that we must use them to conquer ourselves first, to defeat our own deepest habits and assumptions about leadership. Here what we know of this land. Here is where we are going, and how we are moving. Here is what good we can offer, so far.

whoops... all this somatic sensing of things has me really wondering about embracing instead of appreciating. checked the etymology dictionary and i'm good with appreciating.... but embracing must figure prominently somehow. exercise? dunno?

embracing is kind of the opposite of opening, but then when you think of the heart exercise, you get embracing AND opening and that is what constitues appresiating (in the sens of getting bigger, big enough to invite, to support and to make good...)

embracing, as i've come to think of it (thanks to julie, and not the mainstream view i suppose) includes the opening and the closing. it's not just the closing, wrapping holding. it's the stretching and opening and releasing/welcoming was well. no matter. and yes, i think it's somehow embedded in the story of that exercise. and the bit about hands/arms extruded from heart tissue. embrace, as i've described, is the whole, both sides, of pulsation, writ whole-body large scale. it turns whole body into heart. now there's an exercise!

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Last edited May 27, 2006 12:40 pm CentralTimeUSA by MichaelHerman
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