Know your basics – while working with groups

  • März 2017
  • Von Nils Schnell

Do you know these moments where you do just a regular training or you moderate the 3rd retrospective during the week? You feel so used to it that you start working with autopilot?
That is the moment for, where you should hear the wake-up call and rake the control-wheel again. You don’t know what to do? Focus on your basics!

The essentials of keeping good quality
The essentials of keeping good quality and not everything for granted is to know your basics. With basics I really mean the groundwork. My observation is, that experienced trainers and facilitators often stop doing the little things, the obvious things at a certain level. Like (good) visualisations, self-reflection, improvement and taking feedback seriously. In my experience, you can narrow it down to the three categories, communication, group dynamics and reflection for improvement. A professional in this case is for me an experienced facilitator or trainer who picks up these topics over and over again for improvement (Kaizen). Let me walk you through my thoughts:

A professional is able to find viable ways of addressing their thoughts. A way to give all audiences a “real” chance to understand. Not an explanation, that works “most of the time”. That is not good enough! I am not talking about the result how many people will get it, I am talking about the mindset you have while addressing the issue. Do your best!

Group dynamics
A professional is able to see each new group as an ecosystem itself. One size definitely fits not all. Of course it gets easier to work with groups. But you should not fall into a modus, where it is ok that some groups don’t harmonise. Of course that is happening, but you should always give your best on the field. Which means it is your job to support, to find ways. You are the expert for the process! All groups deserve the chance to get the best facilitation possible – your best facilitation possible. And not only a “well, two days of training and the weekend is already there” or a “Seen these problems, it happens and it is normal”. You can enable and help groups to grow. What a gift to be given. Use it!

Reflection and improvement
A professional knows of course about lifelong learning. But truly derive goals for improvement and always asking for feedback (and considering it) is something that often stops. Because you know already what went good and what could’ve been better. But: Don’t forget your blindspots, your biases. Feedback and reflection can always help to improve, even for you as an expert. Use this chance! For me it is part of our profession and our duty to the people we work with.

Know your basics, never stop investing in your basics!
I really believe that it is one of the greatest job you can do – enable people through facilitation and training. You can create this magic moment, where something changes. Where something new arises. For a person, for groups. Our duty is to do great work – because it matters, because it can be a game changer! For this we cannot only focus on the newest shit. You have to be aware about the basics to executive more difficult things. We should not stop exploring our way to become an even better professional. Why? Because we can. We just have to do what we teach the others.

Your Nils

PS: Wanna reflect on how you practical agile approach is? Are you really a true Agilist? Here you can find a nice wake-up call from Caro Henderickx.