Torn by time

February 15th, 2009

In improvisation, time has a different feel – it’s not that important, it seems. Improvisers work together to create without worrying too much if they have enough time. You rarely, if ever, here an improviser say ‘we could have done so much better if we’d had more time’. Accepting offers, doing something, being obvious, going down dead-ends, trying something else – all part of the improviser’s arsenal. And improvisers can create amazing, sometimes, magical things while the rest of us are still thinking about where we’d start!

Meanwhile, in a workshop people are in the process of creating a vision. ‘We need more time to get it right.’ Ahem – what’s wrong with this statement? Let’s ignore the ‘get it right’ bit for a moment and focus on time. How much time? How much time is enough for people to have meaningful conversations? Will they do any better if they have more time? Is asking for more time simply avoiding the inevitable, that is, making a decision?

If anyone ever asks you what’s so difficult about facilitating, see if they can answer the above questions.

2 Comments so far

  1. Chris Corrigan on February 16, 2009 4:19 am

    I’m in a major decision making process for a client right now and interestingly enough, more time is EXACTLY what they need. They moved ahead too fast and too many important people are being left behind, bewildered and anxious. In this case, the wisdom of time alongside the development of social fabric is what the doctor ordered.

  2. Viv McWaters on February 16, 2009 6:05 am

    Interesting isn’t it, that there’s no hard and fast rules about time? I find I can only know how much time is needed in the moment by following the energy of the group (and even then I can get it horribly wrong!) – sorta makes a mockery of agendas really…

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