As a kid, our family moved around quite a bit. I was never in the same school for more than 2 years – it’s where I learned the value of building new relationships. It’s also where I got the travel bug, first living on both sides of the border (Canada and the US) and then venturing further afield.”
“Being the perpetual outsider I developed a heightened sensitivity about feeling included or excluded, noticing when there were cliques while also trying to adjust to each new environment.
Little did I know how these experiences would prepare me for my future career in manufacturing! As I climbed the ranks, taking more and more responsibility in the highly male-dominated forest products industry, I continued to notice – beyond the issues of gender. I noticed cliques in organizations. There we call these hierarchies, silos, and business units.
I also observed leaders lurking everywhere across the ranks. I saw how often people worked at cross-purposes. I felt the yearning of so many to contribute more, to be included in the conversations on strategy as it related to their work. I saw the high cost of not including and involving more, of treating people as outsiders.
Later when I became a consultant and partner in NuFocus, I had the opportunity to learn about Open Space Technology – a simple way to bring people together where they could engage in meaty conversations about the business, discover solutions to complex problems, identify new initiatives and then roll up their sleeves together to get work done.
I was amazed thinking how many issues would have been resolved so much more quickly if we could have held meetings this way when I was working in forestry and wireless technology. I was so drawn to this simple process that I travelled the world to investigate it further, connecting with Harrison Owen, who came up with this approach over 30 years ago, and with many others doing this work in many sectors and countries. That’s all it took for me to know that it was time to bring Open Space to business in a big way so that self-managed individuals and teams together can create a better place to work.” – Suzanne Daigle