Sweat the Small Stuff


Think Like an Astronaut…Oops, Like a Facilitator (Part 2)

In our second video series, learn how thinking like an astronaut can help you prepare and execute a facilitation “mission”. This video provides specific, on-the-job tips.

4. Sweat the Small Stuff – Everything Counts.  In contrast to the famous book, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, our astronaut author says we do need to sweat the small stuff.  In facilitation, this has to do with paying attention to the minute details of your meeting or event.  In addition to visualizing things going well, it is also important to think of all the ways something can go wrong, e.g. not a large enough space, not enough time, key participants not showing up, etc.  Think through the negative implications of things going wrong and then create a backup plan.  The goal is to be adaptable and unflappable when things are different than you expected.

5. Promote Your Colleagues, Choose Them Wisely and Help Them Succeed.  A successful event sometimes means having co-facilitators that you can rely on.  Long before a faciltiated event, take the time to teach and mentor your co-facilitators with the skills, knowledge and success tips that you’ve come to aquire.  Practice together.  When that facilitated event comes along, ensure that all have a faciltiator’s guide, that everyone knows their role and communicate expectations.  Another added benefit of working frequently with co-facilitators, learning and growing together is that we help our profession grow by helping a diverse group of facilitators to succeed.

6. It’s All About “Attitude”.  In space, “attitude” refers to the orientation of the spaceship or which direction your spaceship is pointing.  It’s imperative that astronauts always keep a close watch that the ship stays on course and does not deviate from the intended target. They are constantly ajusting as necessary to stay on course. Going off course even a tiny amount can mean missing the target altogether.  We too as facilitators need to keep our groups on course, referring back to the central question and the objectives for the event.  And when we think about the common definition of the word attitude, we also need to make sure our own attitude is positive, e.g. “I can help this group.  They are going to get there”, even when it seems really difficult.

If you missed Part 1 in this series, be sure to go here for our first 3 tips — http://bit.ly/1MrIvz8


Here is Hadfield’s book.

Barbara MacKay

Barbara loves “everything facilitation”. She thinks BIG! She loves working with other facilitators around the globe to create transformational results for client groups. She loves teaching others how to do that. She loves presenting at global facilitator conferences. She loves certifying new professional facilitators. If you also love what process facilitation can do for the world, connect with her – virtually or in person. She believes facilitation processes, used well, will provide the roadmap to a more just and sustainable world.

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