This is nothing new. Review and Preview.
It is somewhat of an advanced organizer if you will.
Back to that later.
Background on this series first: this is 6th in a series of posts on what I call the “The 12 Rules and Guidelines of Proactive/Confrontational Facilitation for the PACT Processes for T&D/ Learning/ Knowledge Management.”
The PACT Processes are a set of ISD methods with 3 levels of ID/ISD – instead of just thinking of ADDIE – which I think of as a NPD – New Product Development Process – for Instruction – PACT has an “systems engineering/architectural-level” and the NPD-level (ADDIE) and a component level.
PACT is Accelerated and Customer/Stakeholder-driven “via” its use of designated teams to do designated things (produce designated stuff). These teams are FACILITATED to get their jobs done. You can read the Training Magazine article from September 1984 on this – particularly the use of a “Group Process” that I and 3 others wrote back in 1983. I’d been using a group process instead of an individual interviews/observations since 1979.
The Facilitator in PACT is critical.
And the facilitator’s role in PACT is not one of reflective commentary on group dynamics. When needed. In PACT the facilitator drives the process, and “owns the process” while the folks being facilitated “own the content” generated by the process.
The 12 rules/guidelines/suggested based on learnings from burnings – when I’ve been burned I’ve tried to learn (from it) – are:
6. Review and Preview.
7. Write It Down and Then Discuss It.
8. Use Humor.
9. Control the Process and the Participants.
10. Be Legible on the Flip Chart.
11. Beware of Group-Think.
12. Assign Parking Lot Valets.
The 6th of these is covered in more detail in the following text.
Read them. Use them. Practice them. Reflect on what’s working what doesn’t. Tweak.
Adapt if you cannot adopt.
6. Review and Preview
I start with a “review/preview” at the beginning of every new day of a multiday meeting, at any midmeeting agenda/process change, and often at the return from every big meeting break – or even the little breaks. I do it as often as my “face polling” suggest that I should.
Some might call it a progress check. “How are we doing, is everyone comfortable with what we have captured, etc.?”
I do that within the context of “where have we been, and where are we going.” I like to think of it as “recalibrating” the group. And I can also appreciate the value of it to them to perhaps recalibrate me. Really.
The group members are often simply along for the ride, and they are not all that interested in learning the process we are using for developing instructional content, so they often forget the process in mid-process (often to the facilitator’s amazement. But hey, this is our world―this facilitation stuff―not theirs). So I need a way to remind them continuously of what we are doing and where we are going and how it all fits together.
Participants may do very well in responding to our prompts, giving us their feedback when asked. But do not be fooled into believing that after one, two, or even three days they will remember exactly how and why we did each step of our process. Some will, some will not.
Our process in PACT for capturing and analyzing data is probably somewhat alien to them.
The data produced in the AoPs – Areas of Performance – often frames the task/ job/ process/ workflow/ etc. and portrays it – often, in a very very different “depiction” from their own mental model – or models -of how their job looks. And they may struggle with that and comment on that discomfort/ fight adopting the new emerging model.
Or comment on how we facilitators should be doing our job – because they would do it differently and/or they don’t like what is emerging from the Group Process we use in PACT. They may “play along” with us without completely giving up their mental model. Or their thoughts of how they would accomplish my/our task.
They may still be quite comfortable with their views on what and how and not with the new views one just emerging from the process they would change. The problem then is that the group is not of as close to one mind, in consensus, as to the data we are seeking at each step of the PACT Processes.
I also find that one or two people or the whole group often somehow forgets what we are doing and how we are doing it – and before I know it – revert midstream to something else (I often know not what), and I need to again recalibrate the group to both what we are trying to do right now, and the process we are using to do that.
In fact, I now try to do it – the recalibration – proactively – before it really becomes apparent by the team being facilitated that it is needed (by me looking for those early cues and clues! Early and often).
Reviewing and previewing gives us a chance to recalibrate the group, to re-establish the process, models, the templates and terms, and just as importantly, give the group a place to blow off any steam or frustrations that may exist.
Give the Team a Chance to Push Back/Critique the Process/Blow Off Steam
Blowing off steam is critical. Or rather having a chance to blow it off is. If the group needs an outlet, they’ll either do it on your schedule or when, in the immortal words of Popeye, “when they can’t stands it no more.” That might be “untimely.” And avoidable by “heading them off at the pass.” Get there first!
You should have seen it coming, in the clues and cues for which you are constantly looking. The reviews and previews are a safety outlet designed in to my process checks.
“Please do it now and be less disruptive to the main process,” I think.
The reviews/previews are the time and place for blowing off steam and airing any and all frustrations. Remember, it’s either done on your schedule or theirs. You can try to stop it, but I bet you often won’t be able to stop it at all. You may only make it worse. You may be able to control this to your advantage, but only if you try. It is often (but not always) yours to control.
Sometimes someone just needs to be heard. Use Active Listening after your open or targeted questions.
Think of this “review/preview” as a combination of…
• Slowing down temporarily in order to go fast again
• Being declarative
• Redundancy by design
• A progress/process check
• A place for questions to be asked/clarifications made
• A place to blow off steam/express frustrations/be an outlet for almost anything
Don’t be afraid to do this several times a day and at the beginning and ending of each day. The review should cover our project purpose, meeting purpose, outputs/outcomes so far, and feedback and inputs.
That’s the advanced organizer part. Do it early and do it often.
The preview covers where we are, where we are going, how we’re progressing against the clock (are we on schedule or not?), and how the remaining agenda items fit into the overall scheme of things.
Then hit them with one or more open questions intended to elicit their feelings/thoughts/etc.
lean–ISD book cover design by the late Geary A. Rummler back in 1999.
The quote above that I correctly attributed to Popeye – is a quote that I remember Geary using often back in the days of MTEC (1981-1982). Even the “In the immortal words of Popeye” preface part. Geary always included that. It’s a cultural reference for those of us who grew up watching Popeye. Plus Geary would also say: “I yam what I yam.”
He was cool. Very cool. And cool about being cool. Humble.
Post Summary & Close
In the future we’ll cover the remaining 6 rules/guidelines one-by-one!
– Sourced and edited/embellished from Appendices C of: “lean-ISD” – a book by Guy W. Wallace – available as a free 404 page PDF at http://www.eppic.biz/
# # #