Treat Cynicism Seriously

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Identification
Level of process: 
Intervention
Intent or purpose: 
These are interventions that can be used when someone says something like "You know, we've been involved in loads of these facilitated sessions. We get all fired up, share our ideas, then we get back to our "real" jobs and nothing ever gets done...."
Types of Participants: 
any
Recommended size of group: 
26-50
Optimal amount of time needed: 
1 - 3 min.
Howto
Level of participation: 
high
Potential Pitfalls: 
group agrees with the cynical comment.
How is success evaluated: 
group creates ways of dealing with the substance of the comment.
Level of Difficulty to Facilitate: 
Facilitation skills required
Setting and Materials: 
none
Resources Needed: 
none
Pre-Work Required: 
none
Procedures: 

1. As the facilitator, I acknowledge the statement, and ask the group how it is going to make things different this time. <br>

2. Sometimes a context is necessary: "The future is informed by our actions in the past, but we are not doomed to do things the way they were done in the past." Or, "In order to make sure our time we've spent together here is worthwhile, we need to make sure our resolve is going to make a difference." <br>

3. "What are each of you personally going to do in your "real" day-to-day activities that will make sure that we succeed?" And I make sure that the person who raised the question answers it with the others. <br>

4. Sometimes I have people write down their commitments for themselves, starting with "I will...." Sometimes I go around the room and have each person declare their commitment out loud. <br>

5. I also often suggest that there be a regular "check signals" mechanism in place for mutual accountability -- a way to celebrate accomplishments and acknowledge roadblocks in implementation, and to support each other to be successful. <br>

6. The key is in giving the group both the hope and the responsibility for making a difference.

How flexible is the process?: 
very
Follow-Up Required: 
check to see if plan is implemented.
Background
Developer: 
Jo Nelson
Derived from: 
unknown
History of Development: 

unknown

References: 
Jo Nelson of ICA Associates Canada jnelson@ica-associates.ca. She shared this with the GRP-FACL listserve at http://www.albany.edu/cpr/gf
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