In case you (very sensibly) spent less time reading blogs over the festive season, here’s a quick catch up with a few gems that were posted recently….
First the usual suspects:
Chris Johnston’s Shepherd and Flock offers a critical analysis of the relationship between campaigning NGOs and their grassroots networks. Here’s a taste:
The bottom line is, if you want extraordinary activists, you need to support them in pursuing their agenda, not yours. And that requires you be a facilitator, not a shepherd.
Dwight Towers offers us a Perfect 5 point checklist for saving the world (just one of many great posts in the last couple of weeks) in which he shares Francis Moore Lappe’s Living democracy checklist.
Dwight also pointed us to Viv McWaters blog where she’s been treating us to a series of posts on facilitation:
- Great facilitation – what is it? In which Viv talks about the qualities of great facilitation – empathy, humility, bravery, playfulness, collaboration and responsiveness. It’s a good list illustrated with good comments.
- Rethinking facilitation – a video of new educational approaches: If you can google facilitation processes and get millions of result, watch videos of facilitators in action, read facilitation blogs, articles and even books on-line, why the expense (in time and money) of coming together for training? It’s no longer necessary to come together to get the information you need to facilitate.Not necessary, perhaps, but Viv shares some thoughts about how best to use the opportunity of face-to-face training
- You wouldn’t paint by numbers, so why would you want to facilitate by numbers?
It drives me nuts when facilitation is described mechanically: do this, then this, then that, and voila! Funnily, it never seems to quite work out that way in the real world.
So here’s the paradox. I love helping others to learn how to facilitate, work effectively with groups, upset entrenched patterns, surface emotions and unleash creativity, have big and small conversations. Yet when someone asks me how I know to do this or that when facilitating, I’m flummoxed. I often don’t know. I guess it’s a bit like asking an artist how they knew to put that stroke exactly there, or why use those combinations of colours. How did they know? I’m guessing they just knew because it becomes innate – through years and years of practice, through trial and error, through trusting their talent and their instincts. Through taking a chance, being brave, by being willing to make lots of mistakes before getting it ‘right’. By mucking it up, throwing it out and starting over. By believing they can do it, that it can be done.
Viv’s a welcome addition to my feed-reader. Hope you agree.