Leadership in a Self-organizing World

May 14—17th, 2009

[Sleeping Lady Mountain Retreat]

Leavenworth, WA

Sign up by March 13 to secure your spot!

Self-organizing is happening all the time, in every setting: our communities, associations, and corporations and the natural world. It’s the way we work together when we organize to take care of what matters.


Are you seeking ways to achieve and sustain inspired leadership in a networked and self-organizing world? Are you actively experimenting with new ways of organizing beyond traditional boundaries, forms and organizational structures? Are you uneasy about what is not working in traditional organizational forms, and wondering why the informal organization gets things done more easily?

If these subjects speak to you, join us for three days of inquiry into what leadership looks like in a self-organizing world. The meeting will take place in Open Space, a self-organizing practice used world-wide by a staggering variety of organizations. We’ll experience self-organizing even as we inquire into the forces at play.

You’ll join a diverse group of folks from business, non-profit, community, and government organizations, informal networks, musicians, and artists -- including people who are practicing what it means to lead in new ways.

So, what do we mean by inspired leadership in self-organizing systems?

Over the years, efforts to activate members of a community or optimize team performance in organizations have often focused on extensive planning, design, and training in the belief that we can fully understand the complexity and interrelatedness of our systems and can reliably direct their flow—sort of a Corps of Engineers approach to the constant and unpredictable floods of transformation.

As many leaders have realized, this typically doesn’t work out as well as it appears it should. However, when we pay attention to the emergent systems inherent in the informal, voluntary relationships of organizational and community life, we discover that everything is self-organizing. This opens the door to entirely new inquiries into what it means to organize and what it means to lead. It is this inquiry that inspires us to come together.


We meet in the rustic green-built comfort of Sleeping Lady Resort, near Leavenworth, Washington. Plan to arrive on Thursday afternoon, May 14th, in time for your first gourmet meal and our opening campfire. Friday the fun begins before breakfast with Harrison Owen. And we continue with our own open space offerings through lunch on Sunday May 17th.


Our first evening will provide an opportunity to learn something about each other and to hone our inquiries. To further seed the conversation, each morning, Harrison Owen will talk about the ideas in his new book, [Wave Rider]. Throughout our time together, Open Space Technology will support us to self-organize around the subjects that matter most to those present.

Bring the questions you wish to explore and the tales you wish to share of your own experiences of wave riding (aka: self-organizing emergent organization and leadership). We expect to leave with a much deeper understanding of what it takes to create the organizations and communities we most want to inhabit. Prepare for a festival of high play and high learning that opens opportunities to change your experience of change, and transform your organizational life from buffeting unpredictability to just-in-time leadership and appropriate forms of self-organization.


About registration:

Lizzie Riesenberg, mailto:lizzie@berkana.org, 509-835-4228

About sponsored participation:

Steve Stapleton, mailto:sstapleton@ethicalleadership.org, 206-328-3020

About the content:

Peggy Holman, mailto:peggy@opencirclecompany.com, 425-746-6274

Teresa Posakany, mailto:teresa@berkana.org, 206-372-3405

Dale Nienow, mailto:dnienow@ethicalleadership.org, 206-328-3020

Anne Stadler, mailto:anne.m.stad@gmail.com, 206-364-3317

Candi S. Foon, mailto:candi.s.foon@sunyata.ws, 425-413-6000

Mark R. Jones, mailto:mark.r.jones@sunyata.ws, 425-413-6000


Interested in being a sponsor? Contact Peggy Holman, mailto:peggy@opencirclecompany.com.