Blog > Disruptive facilitation #1

April 2, 2010

I think it’s time to bring disruptive facilitation out into the open. And I’m going to try and collect my own thoughts around this with a series of short posts.

Facilitation has often been described as ‘making it easy’ – for groups to do whatever work they need to do. The problem with this is that some facilitators take it literally and the group participants sit back and watch the facilitator do all the work. They leave the workshop singing the praises of the facilitator, who did such a great job of pulling all of their ideas together and coming up with a plan of action (or some other ‘output’). The facilitator worked hard, has great insight as to how the group works and takes away armloads of paper to type up into a report.

And nothing much changes. It’s business as usual back at the office.

A day out from day-to-day work is a disruption, so why not make it a useful one?

Let’s look at facilitation this way – it’s an opportunity to provide a circuit breaker to existing patterns and habits, and to look at the world and the work we do in it from different perspectives.

Now you might be thinking, why does the group need a circuit breaker? Indeed. Why does the group need a workshop, or a facilitator? As an outsider looking in to organisations, there seem to be a lot of meetings. And every now and again these meetings evolve into a workshop, and a facilitator is engaged. This means it’s not business as usual. Something more is needed, hence the facilitator. And someone has seen a need for something to change, or shift, or be revealed – even if they’re not sure what that something is. That’s the role of disruptive facilitation.

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