Groups and individuals tend to follow habitual behavior patterns to which they’ve grown comfortable over time. Therefore, there are times when it’s appropriate to help the group to slow down and look at the bigger picture, the “gestalt” of the group dynamic. As a facilitator, be on guard for patterns of behavior that are begging to be interrupted and explore them for richer possibilities.
Here are some examples of opportunities to stop and dig deeper.
Settling. Group members are settling for a marginal result to just “get it done,” when they actually have the time, resources, and the opportunity to build a brilliant result by digging just a bit deeper, stretching themselves, and perhaps risking a little more.
Conflict avoidance. Group members are withholding their truth to avoid potential conflict. Give voice to this perception and if it’s true, offer help to help dig down to underlying interests so that perhaps a larger context presents itself from which greater possibilities might emerge.
Business as usual. The group is getting things done in a way that tends to always work for them, but their process lacks “juice.” Mix up the room and the process. Get people to change position, play different roles, try a different process, just to move into unexplored territory to see what emerges. Facilitate exploration, just for the fun of it.
Superficial focus. The group looks like they’re on course, but it appears they may be operating on superficial assumptions or goals. Take time to help them look at the bigger reason for being together. Are they operating in accordance with a potent purpose or just biding time?
Stale mental maps. The group is operating based on worn out assumptions about themselves. They may be fixated on solving a cost problem when they could be focused on creating new revenue. They could be stuck on what’s not working rather than building and expanding on what is.
More? Please email us other examples you’re run across in your experience.
Action Is there an area of your life that deserves a pattern interrupt? That is, a behavior pattern that is not as effective as it could be that you’ve been reluctant to stop and look at? If so, why not take ten minutes right now and journal about it? I’d love to hear what shows up for you. Please add your comments below.