On not loving your process

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Viv has posted some good ideas here: So you want to be a facilitator? Advice for the uninitiated. She has some good things to say about process, like this:

There’s no formulae or golden rule as long as whatever you do gets the participants working with each other, connecting to each other and to the purpose of the session.

Quite often facilitators support each other with the mantra trust the process. That can be good advice, especially when things are a getting a bit sticky and you’re tempted to panic.

On the other hand, it’s sometimes quite a good idea not to trust the process. I often see meeting hosts get stuck championing their process as if it’s got magic powers. I would say that no process can ever match the amazing capacities of us humans for creativity, inspiration, confusion, misunderstanding and all other manifestations of our complexity. I often describe a process to people and then accept that they won’t follow it rigidly… there’s a choice to make, moment by moment, what do about that. I think that’s where I earn my money – by seeing it as a choice I make and not just rigidly labouring the rules.

I think it’s good practice to look at your favourite process and look for it’s drawbacks and limits. Not with the aim of perfecting it, but in order to avoid it becoming some kind of magic shield behind which you hide your own vulnerability.

On a tangential note, when I’m a participant, one phrase that puts me on guard is when the host tells me there is a team of facilitators for the process. I’m all for teamwork, but usually this is a clue that the process is too complicated and we can’t be trusted to follow it without a lot of supervision.

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