Who will facilitate the facilitators?

Many years ago, when I was a Training Manager in a galaxy far far away...
There was a time when a colleague of mine said in exasperation "Who will facilitate the facilitators?"
We were a group of Training & OD (Organization Development) Managers from the different business units of a large chemicals company, assembled to be a task force, to create a competency model for leadership development that would span across a highly decentralized enterprise.
Though we enjoyed being with each other, we seldom worked on anything jointly. We operated independently for the most part. Doing our own thing as we saw fit to support our disparate clients.
It quickly became apparent to us that working together was not working.
Thus the exasperated question:
Who will facilitate the facilitators?
Looking back on this experience, we were a classic case of a work team that got stuck in the Storming phase. We were resisting.
We were resisting the notion of designing a centralized product in a decentralized company.
We were resisting our HR leaders who had convened us as a task force.
We were resisting each other.
We were resisting change.
We knew better. But we could not get out of our own way.
Today, as a change & transition consultant, with a background in Organization Development, you might say that I am an expert in change and transition.
Now I know that people don't resist change. They resist being coerced into change.
Seems to me that what might be helpful (and healthy) for any team or community of interest that is having a hard time coming together to accomplish a joint task:
Talk about it.
As Peter Block says, Conversation is the way to transformation.
Here are five ideas to get a conversation going:
Share perspectives. Go round the table. Let each person have a say. Be sure to listen and value each one's contribution.
Talk about what is happening, what is changing. What is stopping us? What is propelling us?
Ask for input. Invite each person to give their ideas.
Resist arguing, defending one's turf, proving that one is right and the other wrong.
Try to see things as the others see them. Use empathy. Encourage dissent.
It's a start.
And that's the way all change begins.
Terrence Seamon guides his clients through change and transition. Follow him on twitter @tseamon


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