« Mistakes are the portals of discovery » wrote James Joyce. We all learn from our mistakes, and we rarely hesitate to say so. However, it is very rare that we have authorization to make mistakes in organizations. Would that be a mistake ?
Trials and errors to high performance
Another fundamental element of OpenSpace Agility is a period of experimentation. So not only is it inviting change (part 1 of this article), but it also gives the right to make trial and error in a learning perspective and journey toward high performance.
In many organizations, people strive to plan, refine and polish until they judge it to be perfect or almost and that’s when they deploy. Unfortunately, this approach results in slow, even paralysis, and mismatch between the need and the result. This, even though all are seeking maximum productivity and velocity, speed of execution. Paradoxical, is not it?
By proposing to convene the staff affected directly or indirectly at regular intervals during which one experiences various ways, OpenSpace Agility replaces the notion of perfection by the learning. You remember Peter Senge and The Fifth Discipline? A classic, which unfortunately we don’t open often enough. The learning organization is by definition efficient, because it adapts constantly.
Storytelling… narrative leadership
To ensure maximum learning during this period of experimentation, it is important to tell what happens.
Because human beings like real stories, simple storytelling facilitates the flow of information and the integration of learning. Tell what other teams have done and seen, the successes to celebrate and remember the positive or negative surprise results, the links with the past, the environment and the future, the strengths on which we can rely, the “sandbox” are all possible stories to facilitate the transformation.
It is the leaders, formal and informal, who must take on the role of storytellers, telling the « new story » of the organization as it is written. Why ? Simply because many people usually expect a signal from them before diving. In an experimental context, these signals even greater importance.
A goal, rules and progress
If experimentation, trial and error, seems maddening to you, rest assured: they are framed by an objective and clear rules. In addition, the narrative that emerges over the accounts is used to measure progress and to give a sense of progress. If we add to this the fact that we invited people to define the change, we are left with the perfect combination to maintain motivation and commitment.
In fact, it is an organizational application of game mechanics: an objective and clear rules, participants who chose to play and a system of « score » that measures progress towards achieving the goal.
Invitation bring about change, an experimentation period and clear rules are fundamentals of OpenSpace Agility. As we say in Open Space Technology, if you dare trying, be ready to be surprised !