…the responsibility for implementing is left to each person to accept or not. If the idea has wings then people will do what they must to make sure it is implemented. No lists of who will do what by when. The experts will show up if the invitation is well-crafted and well-offered. And they’ll be open to new ideas if they sense among the invitees, an appetite for it, a hunger. In which case, if it can be made to work, they’ll make it work.
This resonates strongly for me. Years ago at the end of a great open space event, a considerable list of things to be actioned emerged from the group. As I recall, during the day various people had spontaneously gone up to a flipchart listing stuff they wanted to happen.
One of the facilitators did the supposedly obvious thing, and suggested we get individuals to “own” these various actions and take responsbility for doing them. My heart sank a little, partly because it had been a long day, everyone was tired and this felt like a depressing way to end. The other facilitator just said this:
No, let’s not do that. If people are passionate about these things, they will do them. If they’re not, they won’t. We don’t need to spend time making promises.
This came as a bit of a surprise, and not just to me. And like so many surprises, it sparked learning. The intervention struck me as much more aligned with real action then a superficially “action-orientated” ritual would have been.
Apart from anything else, it was a lovely example of what you could call “warrior facilitator” mode – you don’t always have to be Captain Consensus.
(I wrote more about the ptifalls of commitment ceremonies here.)