They don't all get along. The stakes are high. The issues are so complex it's hard to see a way through them, and the time for a solution was yesterday. As some individuals enter the room they note who is sitting with whom, and wonder why so-and-so was invited. Everyone can see that this isn't your ordinary conference, meeting or planning group. The room is empty of tables and all the chairs are arranged in one big circle. Well, this is interesting, anyway...
The facilitator welcomes the group, explains the theme and focus of their work together and invites them to think of what they want to hold discussions about. She gives a few guidelines for the discussion groups:
- Whoever comes is the right person - You don't need every person in the organization, just whoever cares the most. And if you're the only one who comes, you might finally have some rich, focused quiet time for thinking and writing on that issue.
- Whatever happens is the only thing that could have - Let go of your expectations and work with whatever unfolds.
- Whenever it starts is the right time - Creativity doesn't happen on a schedule.
- Whenever it's over, it's over. - If you find a solution in 20 minutes, move on to the next group. If it takes 2 hours, keep the conversation rolling.
One more thought: Be prepared to be surprised - Don't carry in your own agenda and by doing so miss some amazing thing that could come out of more creative minds working on the same issue...
There is only one rule: originally called the Law of Two Feet (I call it the Law of Motion and Responsibility -- we don't all have two feet, after all) -- if you are neither learning nor contributing in a session you are required to get up and leave and join another session in progress where you feel you'll be more useful and inspired.