Day 41 - Facilitation Fail

Communicating clearly to one person is challenging, you have to get in their head, understand where they're coming from in terms of culture, priorities. Where they are, who they are, what they had for breakfast, etc.

Most importantly, the person needs to feel heard, acknowledged, understood, and respected. Crucially, critically, insert all synonyms here, they must identify, relate, insert all synonyms here also, with what you're trying to communicate.

Now imagine it's a roomful of people. How would you approach it differently? How do you convey, that you may need to risk going deeper than is comfortable, in order to create a shared understanding of what is important. How do you allow for deep seated bias, to be recognized, acknowledged, and let go.

There was a client engagement where I was brought on for one thing, and it turned out to be a 'whole other thing'. You've probably experienced this in some form. I was too naive, and decided to concentrate, on the thing I was brought to do, and I found myself getting frustrated whenever I was pulled away, by the 'whole other thing', I didn't have the agency to highlight it so I kept working on the thing I was brought on for.

No twist in this story friend, straight faced and straight laced I forged ahead with an agenda that required a measure of vulnerability, honest self assessment, and it worked, but not the way I expected.

The people in the room, the ones without the power, let their hearts out, yearning for recognition, and this seemed like a safe space for it. So share they did, and I was almost in tears...until I noticed the faces of the people with power.

Ever have your most calm poker face, flip into one filled with outrage. But really the fault was mine, I should have read the room, it was my responsibility to ensure that the room came along for the journey, the whole room. I hadn't heeded the early warning signs, and as a result, I failed half the room, the half that was yearning to be heard, that trusted the process.

One thing I'd try next time, is to ensure everyone took time to reflect on the purpose of the organization. Possibly through a journaling exercise the day before we all meet.

I'd also take more time upfront, understanding who is going into the room, and what they're walking in with. Because regardless of power, if we don't take the risk, we'll never know what could have been possible.

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