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Facilitation or Leadership?

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Organizing any kind of concerted effort to implement a strategic plan involves people, places and things, right? Those are the consistent foundational components of any mission and vision for virtually any purpose, might I also add purpose virtual as well. How and/or what must be done in order to maximize results?

Today, those results often include some kind of community, environmental or social responsibility. We’re crafting a better world on the fly. Would you agree?

Being uptight or loosey goosey depends on our style of administration – keeping things in order, flowing smoothly and managing the process upheavals appropriately. Or does it? We hear the term ‘best practices’ thrown about with references to this or that person or material, yet is it ever really applied?

For example, Senge introduced the Learning Organization concept and initiatives in the 90s. Although it was lauded as break-through best practices, is it ubiquitous today? Far from it, although those organizations that applied the principles grew with gusto in the marketplace.

Another example: Gardner introduced ‘Multiple Intelligences‘ in the early 80s and was lauded as the next great advance in being able to administer the educational process with student-centric capabilities. Today, those profound leaps in understanding learning have still not been applied ubiquitously in American educational systems.

Are the two examples that of a lack of facilitation or leadership? That may be an odd question. Just pause and reflect on it for a moment. What is the difference? Does is have to do with decisions and implementation or a ground-swell of support and inclusion without direction or mandate?

Over the years we’ve been inundated with so many leadership books and strategies that we often forget it’s people who get things done, regardless of leadership. We know there are formal and informal chains of command, right? Where does facilitation for the benefit of the goal, mission or vision fall in its purest form? It would seem the most effective leaders are more inclined to be good, if not great, facilitators.

So what does it take to be a good or great facilitator? Those qualities make the difference in mediocre or great organizations. In today’s environment it would seem the great organizations also include some kind of concern for life in general.

Those examples show up in B-corps and employee-driven companies that have pride in their internal and external community, environmentally and socially responsible organizations that put people and service above profit, although profit does keep the doors open.

So, faced with the challenge of change – making the world a better place that we can live sustainably – what are some of the better questions we can ask as facilitators and leaders? Are we asking them or just keeping them to ourselves?

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