Who is the Jerk on the Right?

Take a look at this picture. It is a picture of an Open Space Conference I facilitated in 2012.

There’s a man standing, speaking to the group, gesturing with his hands. The Open Space market place is open, and is about fifteen minutes old. There is a man, standing to the right of the speaker, his hands down by his sides. He is watching the speaker, strangely close to him.

This second man is a jerk. The Open Space event is self-organising beautifully. People are getting up and offering to lead discussions, explore issues, tell stories, ask questions. The Man in Black is acting like a shadow, and shouldn’t be standing near the speaker at all. Please note, no one can see him anyway (fortunately) – they are all looking at the speaker who is offering to lead a discussion. Only one person is looking at the Man in Black and that is the Man in Black.

He looks a bit concerned (though it might be insecurity); he almost looks like a bodyguard.

As I said, this man is a jerk and doesn’t know how to leave well alone.

That man is me.

Fortunately it was a one-off, a blip, an aberration, a moment of insecurity. I was fussing over the process only for a few minutes before, fortunately, I woke up, stabbed myself in the palm of my hand with the nail of my middle finger. Then I got the hell out of there.

I’m pleased to say it was only momentary jerkishness.

The rest of the day involved myself and my colleague, Kerry, sitting in the sun, outside of the space, only occasionally looking in, mostly out of curiosity.

And that is how it should be. Shoot the facilitator if he gets too nosey, or tries to nurse when there’s nothing wrong with the patient. Pick him up politely, and dump him out of the window.


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