at Work:

A Personal
and Public
Invitation to
Open Space

Michael Herman

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Questions to:

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Squeezed Into Action

(private resignation)


October 22, 1997


Dear (Executive Director),

I am all squeezed out, but not for naught, I think. In the last year, I have become painfully aware of our growing need for deep dialogue and public exploration of what leadership is and must become -- of how we grow and renew spirit in our own communities and organizations, of what it means to invite and truly make space for whole persons to join our work, and what it means to go beyond fitting them into the plan and allow the plan to be continually redefined by those who come forward with passion and a sense of personal responsibility for the whole.

I have learned, this year, how much energy this all takes and how terribly difficult it can be for all of us to be with each other, as listeners and leaders, rather than always being for each other as managers and doers. And finally, I've remembered that spirit and passion and responsibility can't be squashed, only squeezed out -- and freed to flow into new spaces.

And so I am, squeezed out -- painfully aware that the Council never really heard all of what I have to offer, sorry that I did not make more space for everyone else, and hopeful that we'll all do it better next time. This is what we're all about anyway, isn't it?

Best for now,



(...becomes public invitation)


December, 1997


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This is the time of year when we return home, in so many ways, to retell the stories and act out the rituals that remind us who we are and prepare us for the possibilities of the coming year. It's a time of thanksgiving and anticipation. In that spirit, I want to thank you for the difference you've made this year and invite your participation in an emerging community conversation...



Sunday, January 11th
12:30p to 4:30p

The Crossroads Center at Old St. Patrick's Church
711 West Monroe Street, Chicago

$7 in advance or $10 at the door
will cover the cost of food and drinks


Please join us for a warm afternoon in January, for storytelling, learning and planning, for personal reflection and a deep sense of community, as we explore the possibilities for leadership where we are...for what it is and must become...for ways to grow and renew spirit where we live and work...for what it means to invite and truly make space for wholeness in our lives...for flexible structures that can support real passion and responsible choice...as we create the workplaces and world we really want to be in. Call Michael Herman at 312-280-7838 to sign up or get more information.

Furthermore, I invite you to do what you can to extend this small sign of appreciation and invitation to the people you see leading, learning and making a difference. There is a space for everyone who cares in this expanding circle of emerging leadership. I really hope you can join us.

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Evolution at Work: A Personal Journey and Public Invitation to Open Space, by Michael Herman (www.michaelherman.com)
© Copyright 1998-2000 Michael Herman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reprint or distribute without permission and full attribution, including web address and copyright notice. Permission will be granted gladly if you'll just say what you'd like to copy and where you'd like to share it. [email protected]