Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Facilitating Change

Is there a group you would like to lead through change? Here's a good place to start: if you want to facilitate change consider a change in the way you facilitate.

I often hear "creative" facilitators talk about their "energizers" for a group. This is the kind of technique that seems so completely harmless that it is extremely resilient (think about that: it's easier to change something important and scary than something that seems to have little influence one way or another). Here's the reason they should be changing: even one "energizer" suggests that the task itself is not engaging enough for people to stay energized while doing it.

If you are working with a group that cares about what they are doing and has the resources they need to do it, stay out of their way. They do not need energy, although they may need shaking up, reframing, rapport or reassurance. If the group you are working with either doesn't care or doesn't have resources, then you need to address that directly. Suggesting that someone is about to be voted off the island creates energy of a different sort. So does suggesting that you are going to bat to get a group the resources they need.

Facilitating change begins with facilitation that assumes the change is worth enough to engage a group's hearts and minds. Engaged groups don't need energizers - they just need room to wrestle with big challenges.

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