. . . but what if the wrong people show up?
The title says: “The Right People ALWAYS Show Up!“
There’s a strong implication, then, that it’s not possible for the WRONG people to show up?
Let’s pause, regroup, and consider the mental chaos that might be happening in our reasonable minds.
Let’s start at the beginning!
You have this GREAT idea for this passion of yours to make a difference in your community.
This is an important issue that, you feel, is grossly under-served . . .
How ’bout the rapid disappearance of affordable housing in the city? As more people move into the city, EVERYTHING is getting more expensive. With more population comes more commercial development to serve these new residents thereby necessitating more “workers” (Restaurants, Hotels, Retail stores, & etc). The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the old, established neighborhoods in the urban core (where the “Workers” live now) are being razed and replaced with Apartment, Condominiums, Hotels, skyscrapers, high dollar houses . . . resulting in the forced migration of these workers OUT of the city . . . and the public transportation system is lacking.
I think we might all agree that this is a very important issue that presents an opportunity for the “right group of people” to come together to find some creative solutions. For sure, it’s a complex issue that is important to a diversity of people from the homeless to the Billionaire Investor Developers and everyone in between. Just imagine the diversity of cultures, backgrounds, and opinions . . . many of these opinions are likely diverse enough to be a fertile environment for CONFLICT to emerge.
THIS issue needs to be solved YESTERDAY! Without a robust workforce in the City, the Hospitality, Retail, Office, and Hospitals cannot function.
So . . . you decide to Host an event to address this very important issue.
You invite ALL of your peeps and the local politicians, post a facebook event, Eventbrite . . . Fliers on telephone poles . . . EVERYONE!
Who will show up?
The people who will show up WILL be people who genuinely care about this very important issue.
Will they be the “right people”?
Uh-Oh! What do you mean by “right people”?
We must always be careful with our expectations lest we fall into that vortex of believing that only those whose beliefs and opinions align with ours are the right people.
Here’s a cool little “life lesson” that’s relevant:
“If you’re going to expect anything at all . . . Expect to be surprised!”
Embrace all people who show up. Even with the myriad diversity in the room, everyone has ONE thing in common . . . passion for finding resolution for this very important (and URGENT) issue.
NONE of these people who answered the call of your invitation by showing up are the wrong people, and they ALL came with their voices.
The less you do (as Host), the better.
Arrange the chairs in a circle and place a stack of paper with a pile of magic markers in the center.
Make a sign that says: “Bulletin Board” and tape it to a large, blank wall.
Identify 6 (or so) “Breakout Spaces” and create a “Timeline” (Sessions at 10 & 11 – Lunch 12-1 – Sessions at 1, 2, and 3 – Closing from 4 til it’s over).
Welcome them and announce the common theme, acknowledge that all the right people have come to this right place at EXACTLY the right time for us to tackle this issue together, and that whatever happens will be the only thing that could have – Expect to be surprised (Leave your expectations at the door), and know that when it’s over, we will have accomplished HUGE progress.
It’s time to assure them that they are fully responsible for their experience throughout the day as “provided” by the “Law of 2 feet” . . . “If, at any time, you find yourself in a place where you are neither contributing nor receiving value, you have the right and responsibility to use your 2 feet to take yourself to a place where you can contribute and learn . . . be useful.
Now . . . Invite anyone who wants to (and not everyone has to) to think of a topic relating to our theme, come to the center and write a short title, sign your name, and announce to the group: My name is__________, and my topic is________________ . . . and then select a breakout space and time and tape it to the bulletin board.
For sure, the passion in the room will be vibrant . . . maybe EXPLOSIVE.
The best part of this is that your job as “Host” shifts significantly whence the topics are on the wall . . . You simply “open the Marketplace” by inviting the participants to come to bulletin board and sign up for however many topics of interest to them . . . and then “Go to Work!”
You are now the “Holder of the Space” with very little effort, because the passion in the room will self-organize . . . The less you do, the better . . . Don’t be offended if they forget you exist. That would only mean that you have gifted them with absolute personal responsibility.
All the right people collaborating around a common and very important issue.
A fantastic gift, indeed!
PS: I just described the opening of an Open Space meeting . . . It always works for groups of 1 to thousands of participants. I am always available to work with any organization or group of people facing important issues.