Delight in Differences with Gifted Facilitators

Two days ago, while in Jamaica to speak about MITA brain based renewal, I spotted revival alive and well from a car radio. In a vehicle that transported Dr. Robyn McMaster and I to the University of West Indies, radio guests discussed broken systems in general, and Jamaican policies that got  implemented without discussion from citizens.

See innovative meetings e-handbook here for dozens of practical strategies that bring meetings alive where you work.

Opposition heated as amygdalas flared and alternative views surfaced. Talented facilitator and Jamaican first lady, Beverly Manley, calmly appealed for discussion, as one guest demanded faster implementation without wasting time for people’s input. Maybe that’s what Obama’s adviser, Jeffrey Sachs referred to recently as influence abuse.

Have you noticed how differences tend to submerge into ego shuffles and toxic workplaces when one voice dominates?

Not so in this case. With great skill, Beverly Manley guided thoughtful discourse on HOT102 Radio along both sides of sizzling issues that affect ordinary people.  Without diminishing her aggressive guest and without blocking deeper discussion from Jamaican people, I saw brilliance in action. Have you interacted lately with leaders who break through dominance to engage democracy?

Only later did I discover that I too would have the privilege of discussing learning and leading brain based renewal on HOT102 Radio, with this talented Jamaican leader.

A brain based facilitator becomes both:

  • catalyst and guide
  • listener and speaker
  • inspirational lead and avid follower.

While few people possess all of these traits, gifted guides-to-the-side tend to spark renewal by engaging multiple views of issues. Rarely does the sage-on-the-stage rally hidden and unused brainpower on the other side. In this age of new brainpower possibilities, the world craves brain based guides like Beverly Manley.

The same brain that wires for wonder and sparks curiosity, can crash like a jet under fire when scorn strikes. Does your workplace cherish adventures and embrace change? Or do you settle for toxins and deepen ruts that diminish people or eliminate keen voices on the other side?

Consider the wasted talent when leaders lack brain based facilitator strategies:

1. Meetings become boring as few speak or feel heard.
2. Research lacks applications while defendants attack one side.
3. Language sports jargon yet rarely communicates.
4. Learning leaves behind voices and views on the other side.
5. Projects barricade brains that hold winning solutions.
6. Diversity gets lost along with alternative possibilities.
7. Business lacks ethical practices from shared perspectives.
8. Genders waste insights that complement male and female views.
9. Leadership grows arrogant as it protects its own interests.
10. Change gets lost in favor of narrow ruts and tired routines.

Would you agree that facilitator tactics could help us restore broken systems, and tip the scales toward transformational visions? A shared progress that impacts growth, creates caring communities,  and lifts the bottom line. What would it take to develop brain based facilitators where you work?

7 Comments

  1. Wally Bock says:

    Excellent description, Ellen. Skilled facilitators can make a huge difference, keeping tempers in check and helping to surface multiple perspectives.

  2. I heard Beverly Manley in action, along with you, Ellen and I was impressed at her skill. You had it as well as we led a room full of university, school and business leaders in an interactive lecture at University of West Indies.

    I look forward to Beverly Manley’s Interview with you on Tuesday morning, October 20.

  3. eweber says:

    Wally, it’s funny you say that so well, because I see both sides shining through your own writing again and again. In fact when I read your insights I tend to look forward to the gems that others had not considered. All to say thanks, I am gaining a new vision for the “leaders” to be replaced by facilitators:-)

    Of course that means a whole new set of smart skills than those currently used to lead. Ah – another basis for delightful renewal from ruts to rejuvenation! Thanks for often inspiring the way!

  4. eweber says:

    Thanks Robyn, and it’s the collaborated parts of facilitation that I find richest and most rewarding. What you bring to this work amazes me daily and keeps me grateful as well as SURPRISED BY JOY!

  5. [...] poses threats against ongoing change and tempts leaders to settle for safe routines. It takes gifted facilitators to create the kind of consensus that value the good of the [...]

  6. [...] Discuss broken systems with solutions in mind. [...]

  7. [...] takes deliberate action and keen facilitation skills to mesh male and female together for mutual dividends. 25 Tips to Men+Women = [...]

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