A True Butterfly

Esther Matte reports a recent Butterfly sighting:

In a recent OS event, I noted one person stayed back when everyone went to the Market Place wall. This person was just sitting on her chair, playing with the papers in her participant’s kit. Eventually, she got up and moved around. But she didn’t participate to any discussion, even though people invited her to join them.

At the time, I thought she was uncomfortable in this space, that it was simply too open for her to work in. I often saw her reading reports coming up on the Breaking News Wall. In the closing circle, to my surprise, her comment was something like: “I had a great day. Lots of participation, lots of open and frank discussions. Thank you everyone!”

I guess we should never assume anything! Taking care of herself, this person stayed close without joining discussions. She found her space and connected in her own way. She was a true butterfly.

In Open Space, The Law of Two Feet says that only you know when you are learning and contributing as much as you can. So you are in charge of that. Use your two feet, or whatever else you normally use to get around, to go wherever you need to go, move to any conversation or space where you can maximize your learning and contribution. When the rule is applied in practice, performance is maximized by two sorts of characters: Bumblebees buzz from group to group, carrying energy and information, cross-pollinating. Butterflies float around, and may not join any group, but their flitting and fluttering directly supports a state of openness and flow.


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