All entries by this author

Facilitation – A Peek Behind The Scenes

I more often share how I think, rather than how I work. This week, I shift that around a bit. I’ve been facilitating for decades, and learning and adjusting what that looks like constantly. What I’m finally (mostly) comfortable with is what’s in my kit. These are the essentials that I won’t go into a meeting room without. To some, it may be overkill, but it’s how I go in prepared.



Sussing Out Project Success

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague recently about how to represent project success, and to do so simply. He’s an accountant, and a municipal one, so he’s interested in money and politics are an inherent part of the equation. They are two ingredients that make the interpretation of success messy. It doesn’t have to be.



Language Gets In The Way

Language is critical. Navigating change involves creating language. At the same time the language that we use gets in the way. The words we choose to communicate our message are essential to our ability to create meaning. But we don’t always do a good job in exercising choice. We obfuscate and we obstruct. We choose obscure and complicated words because we think they sound good. In doing so, we undermine meaning. And we do so at our peril.



Change Is About Creating Language

Words have power. When we create change—and when we build processes—words become particularly important. Not for how we sell the process (although that’s also significant), but for how we define and think about the process itself. Taking the time to get words right is some of the most meaningful work we do in managing change.



The Role & Place For A Devil’s Advocate

We’ve all been challenged by that one person in the meeting who opposes everything, simply for the sake of opposing. Or because they’re afraid. Or because they just like to argue. The role of the devil’s advocate is challenged. It’s also challenging. But under the right circumstances, it can be hugely helpful.



Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys

There’s a lovely expression that I came across a few years ago, that has helped me through some difficult and challenging situations: “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Or, in the original Polish, “Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy.” The origins of the phrase are a little uncertain, lost to the mists of time and…
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Facilitating In-Between Spaces

The space in-between where we have been and where we are going is where change and transformation occur. The challenge is that while navigating liminal spaces is challenging enough on an individual basis, it gets exponentially more difficult when we try to do this in groups. Whether planning navigating change or planning strategy, facilitating the creation of an in-between space that genuinely allows for creative exploration is a significant undertaking. Liminality provides some insight into how to make that happen.



Creating In-Between Spaces

Change is a process. And while it is a difficult one, it doesn’t need to be quite so painful and messy as what we often experience. Better navigating change requires recognizing that most of the transition happens in the space between what was and what will become. We need to let go, and be guided through that transition. That requires rethinking some of what we know and believe about projects and change.



Principles Matter

Some of our hardest questions are hard simply because the situation is complex and the possible outcomes are fuzzy and abstract. Knowing how to make a good decision, and how to sustain one, is hard. But it doesn’t have to be. There is a way to be able to sort through the fuzziness and get to the heart of what matters.



Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

All too often, we just show up in our work. We do what’s required, we fall back on old patterns, and we replicate what has worked for us in the past. That’s not bad, per se. Evolution wired us to do that, after all. At the same time, it’s not all that meaningful. And it very often doesn’t reconcile with what we know we’re truly capable of.