Re: Right Mix for Group? LO3884

Gordon Housworth (
Mon, 27 Nov 1995 13:56:12 -0500

Replying to LO3856 --


At 09:35 26/11/1995, you wrote:
> the question of the role of the facilitator is a tricky one for me -
>do we have to justify our existence (and if external our $) by
>'doing something' Process design is for me a partnership which
>needs content knowledge and process knowledge - in general the
>content knowledge rests with the people and the process with the
>facilitator except that it is never that simple

We're beginning to use the term mediator to discriminate our efforts
beyond the supposed neutrality of the facilitator -- a colleague, Geoff
Moore, uses the term "opinionated facilitators" in that vein. It's hard
to "facilitate" the cave dweller's making of fire without telling them
where to find some bits of flint, that is, unless you're prepared to
endure geologic time sequences between improvements. At any given stage,
the set of stakeholders before us have no process at all and need some
tools, guidance, and simple encouragement to move them along, and to that
end, we are hardly neutral.

I would add that we are seeing a rise in mediation in the (current US)
legal system as a means of deriving a fair settlement with reduced
resources and time expended where the alternative would be a clogged court
docket and significant direct and indirect expenses on behalf of all
parties. In discussions with an attorney friend -- an accomplished
mediator -- I have found that some of my own efforts to nudge a group
forward are, in fact, classic mediation techniques. I have struck up an
ongoing conversation with him as a means of broadening my own outlook and
securing some insight into another approach to the problems of human
interaction. I pass it on in the event that other readers have access to
such talent - those treasured attorneys who labor "to make it work rather
than make it break."

Best regards, Gordon
Best regards, Gordon Housworth
Intellectual Capital Group