Because It’s 2015

When Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was asked why he appointed a gender-balanced cabinet, he replied succinctly, “Because it’s 2015”. In other words, it’s time or well past time for change to occur.

In simple ways, 2015 has reminded me that my clients and their expectations are changing, and with it, some of my facilitation practices. Here are some examples:

  • Jeff Chase (@Chase_Jeff), urban planner and Senior Policy Advisor to Mayor Nenshi, tweeted that “parking lots” to capture off-agenda discussion items were “so 1990s”. Others jumped into the conversation and said they used terms like “conservation area” or “community garden” instead. As a result, I now use a “Bike Rack” flipchart, a small step to help me be mindful of the language I am using AND promote thinking about different modes of transportation.
  • For a December planning session, I proposed to one client that I include Christmas trivia questions throughout the day. She rightly reminded me of the cultural diversity of this team, and as a result, we used a rich mix of questions on multi-cultural holiday traditions and Calgary.
  • For many years, I felt that “groundrules” for meetings felt too parental. Jo Nelson (@JoFacilitator), a global hall of fame facilitator with the Institute of Cultural Affairs, instead uses “Working Assumptions” which I have adopted. This way of beginning meetings feels much more respectful and collaborative.
  • As an INTJ, I know that I am more process and closure oriented than many of my clients. As a MBTI practitioner for over 25 years, I understand the different types of work preferences but sometimes I forget and default to what is natural to me. This year, I became aware that there are times where it is necessary and good to leave things a bit messy and organic, as that is where innovative ideas can germinate.

These are some of my “Because it was 2015” learnings. 2016 will be a new palate. Thank you for reading my blog, and best wishes for the New Year.

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