Facilitator Journal | Issue #0419, November 24, 2009
This holiday week, I want to present an idea that might easily be labeled as a sacrilege in this society. Ours is a culture of doing, even at an increasingly frenetic pace. It's a common view that if we're not doing something, we're failing or lagging somehow. Everything in our world is about growing, progress, and production. This movement is often defined simply by action with little emphasis on the nature or the result of that action.
In this week's issue entitled, The Art of Not Doing, we explore the radical idea of not doing to support the emergence of solutions to our problems both individually and in our groups.
Thanksgiving Discount. ThanksGiving 50% Off Special. With our celebration of Thanksgiving this week in the USA, I'm extending a special offer to MFJ readers. Everything in the store goes for half price through this Friday. Browse all of our products available for half price here . Enter the coupon code "thanksgiving" at checkout and your discount will be added.
Facilitating at a Distance coming December 7th : Essentials of Teleclass & Virtual Meeting Facilitation. This class is for those of you wanting to offer a teleclass but don't feel you have all the skills and knowledge you need to do so, or for managers working with distributed teams that require you to facilitate virtual meetings. See details at the end of this issue.
Two New Blogs. I recently started two new blogs. One is on the topic facilitation and allied disciplines at http://facilitatoru.com/blog. Please go there and sign up to receive updates and post your comments and questions. I also started a new blog on health and wellness with a close friend at http://integralongevity.com. We look forward to your comments, questions, and postings there as well.
I'm now a serious LinkedIn Networker! I'm finally jumping on the bandwagon and diving into the social networking craze.
I'm beginning to see the value in it, focusing primarily on LinkedIn for business purposes. If you are a serious open networker and would like to connect, please click here to join my network. Also, if you feel so inclined to leave a recommendation based on my work with this ezine and/or FacilitatorU, I would very much appreciate that!
The Art of Not-Doing
Is doing something always the right answer?
Group Process Skill
This holiday week, I want to present an idea that might easily be labeled as a sacrilege in this society. Ours is a culture of doing, even at an increasingly frenetic pace. If we're not doing something, we're failing or lagging somehow. Everything in our world is about growing, progress, and production. This movement is often defined simply by action with little emphasis on the nature or the result of that action.
Our personal and business lives are defined by going after what we want, and fighting or running from what we don’t want. We’re advised about what food we should eat, what drugs or supplements we should take, and what we should think and believe. For any question or problem you have, people will line up to tell you what you should do about it.
I remember working for the government in a fast-paced flight test environment many years ago. It seemed that crisis was the rule of the day. People frantically scurried about responding to the never ending supply of problems. I began to observe that if I quickly responded to a supposed crisis or to a request for action, I often had to undo this action the very next day. I soon learned that not immediately responding was usually the best approach. More than half the time, the action that was an urgent necessity yesterday was today withdrawn or changed to a new option today. Ironically, I found that by slowing down my doing, I had a whole lot more time to get more done and a lot less stress doing it!
So I wonder.
What if the source of many of our problems, both personal and professional are simply the product of a matrix of erroneous observations, thoughts, and assumptions? The biggest problem being, our belief that they are true. What happens if we continue to dip into the source of our problems in search of their solutions?
So how does this apply practically to group leadership? I have no idea. Why don't we wait until tomorrow and see what answers we wake up with. I'm only partially kidding. Since you'll probably not want another email on this subject tomorrow, some things do need to be done today. Let's see what wants to write itself below.
When confronted with problems and challenges begging for solution and action, perhaps on occasion a perspective of negation may yield some fresh insights. Here are some questions to apply to the situation that may help you to take a fresh perspective.
- What happens if you do nothing? It's rare than a problem requires an immediate response or solution. Sometimes no response, or a response later in time is better. This is so if the problem goes away on its own, changes into a more or less complex problem, or if more information becomes available over time that will contribute to a better solution.
- What can you stop doing that might help the situation? Perhaps the problem that exists is the result of someone, somewhere doing something that might best not be done. If your problem is being overweight, not eating so much is a very inexpensive part of the solution.
- Is the problem you're fixing really the problem? It's not uncommon for us to assume that our definition of the problem is accurate. The problem defined may in fact be a symptom of a deeper problem. The current health care debate in the U.S. comes to mind as a great example. Here we are trying to provide everyone with health care by a system that does a better job at keeping people sick that it does of healing them. Please, my health can afford that kind of help!
- Are the current "doers" the best ones to be doing it? Perhaps there are people doing things that should stop doing them, allowing them to be done by others. For example, I'd be better off devoting time I spend on administrative functions to creative and marketing functions.
- How can you stop being so serious? The greatest discoveries and solutions throughout history have nearly always come not when the discoverer was busy doing, but when he or she was in an open, relaxed space. This doesn't mean that preparatory work isn't necessary, but it does mean that there comes a time when we need to relax, take a break, get a massage, and let the best solution emerge. Not from our thinking but from the source of our thoughts.
A mind continuing to seek for solutions in the same morass that created it is a futile pursuit. The truth that’s dawning on me is, what we don’t do, don’t think, don’t eat, and don’t believe may be the missing (literally) link to our well-being!
Are you over-doing it? If so, where? What are you willing to not do? I’m
interested in hearing your perspectives on this and how
this information might help you facilitate
groups as either a leader or as a participant. I'd love to hear your comments on this perspective or experiences you have to share. Just reply to this email.
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