Group facilitation is ultimately about helping groups accomplish their task. Whether that task is solving a problem, creating a plan, building consensus, or resolving a conflict, the basic skills of facilitation apply.
Self/Task Management addresses the archetypes that deal with the objective content of facilitation such as assessment, process design, presentation, accountability, roles, and group memory, in addition to facilitative behaviors.
Over the years, we’ve made some observations about how groups appear when they’ve shifed from a collection of individuals to a cohesive whole.
- The sound of the group shifts. The sound of the voices at work in subgroups takes on a hum or buzz. Voices seem to be attuned to one another. There is a rhythm, a contained vitality to the sound.
- The silences are profound. There is an energetic sense of peace, calm, ease…a supreme presence that makes the silences feel very full. One of our past participants, a police officer and K-9 handler, brought his German Shepard into the workshop during the last two days. During the time that we sensed the group had reached a state of high-function, we noticed that the dog had fallen asleep. The room was very active, but there was a peaceful, almost sacred sense in the room.
- Expressions are clear, direct, even poetic. People are less tentative about sharing their observations, perspectives, and feelings. Communication is more authentic, concise, and respectful. There are fewer wasted words. Often what’s shared seems to contain a quality of wisdom and eloquence that didn’t exist before.
- The group becomes more important than the individual. When a group coalesces into a highly functional team, there is less concern with individual needs. The group has evolved and aligned to meet a greater need that transcends and includes individual needs.
- The line separating personal and work life begins to blur. There’s something about being part of a high functioning group that shifts our view of ourselves and the world. Being part of such an organism fulfills many of the needs we’re all after. One participant made the following comment at the close of last week’s workshop: “When I started this workshop on Monday, I was planning on quitting my job. Now, that’s changed. I’m going back next Monday and I think it’s going to be OK.”