Reselecting the same facilitator

In one of our circles, the facilitator has been doing such an outstanding job that we have reselected her several times. She and I are now noticing that others in the Circle (including me) seem to have developed a habit of leaving all responsibility for facilitation to her. For example, there are more interruptions in this Circle, and more meandering off-topic, than in another Circle we’re both in. The dynamic between facilitator and group members is beginning to look like a parent with children. Is anyone else noticing this phenomenon ?

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Hey there @pati.beaudoin
That’s really interesting and it makes sense to me. I have not noticed a pattern like that before, or only when the person selected was the most experienced person in the room anyway. So you’re saying this developed over time?

Great question. I was talking with the facilitator when we realized the difference in behaviour between the two circles. We also noted that the Circle where people are more sharing of responsibility is our Sociocratic Improvement Circle, where members have had more training in Sociocracy. We’ve decided to tackle the issue by having her not be reselected. We notice that when people have facilitated, even briefly, they’re more likely to wait their turn, stay on topic, and in general share responsibility for smooth facilitation. As I write this I’m thinking I may also bring it up at check-in if I notice I’m not looking forward to the meeting as much as I usually look forward to Circle meetings.

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So – we can’t be sure about it being a timing thing, but we are sure it’s a training thing and it may also be a timing thing, in that we’ve let it continue; so as anything veers off-course the veering intensifies until there’s a correction.

That makes perfect sense to me. And the fix is almost always the same, isn’t it. More training and bringing it up so it can be addressed together.

Right! Feedback! We’ve learned by using the Health Check that our group doesn’t do much authentic feedback, and we haven’t done much in the way of role reviews (authentically) either – except for one in our Sociocracy Improvement Circle. We’re working on an educational presentation that our Soc Improvement Circle will do for our group, role-playing role review. To this end each of us in the circle has viewed Kathleen Livingstone’s film on role review process.

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I’m curious about Kathleen Livingstone’s film on role review process! Are you allowed to share it here with us? I’m interested!

One oft-referred to pattern in systems is the dynamic between over and under-functioning, especially in people systems. If there is an imbalance in way members assume responsibility for specific tasks, with the same people holding specific roles for a long time, a tendency for other group members to not learn the tasks the role requires or to not consider taking on the role themselves can strengthen: i.e. they under-function. If everyone knows a certain person will wash the dinner dishes, often times folks don’t step up to handle this chore themselves. When a role has power, in terms of influence and social currency, the person holding the role may unconsciously hold onto it, which limits access to others and may set up obstacles to sharing authentic feedback. Facilitation skills are so vital to healthy community culture–even if everyone is happy with one specific person in this role, I think the community is better served in the long run by advocating for rotation that builds whole community capacity and “trains up” more members. Maybe the more skilled member can serve in a support role for newbie facilitators?

I am interested in this film too!

It was one of the workshops in our November conference. I’m guessing you can find it fairly easily. Our coho group used it to design our own presentation, which we’ll do next month – a live demonstration of role review.