Using Whole Person Process Facilitation as an Operating Matrix

The method for facilitating interactive, participatory, engaging meetings that we developed has an additional purpose beyond meeting facilitation. It can be difficult to grasp that using the exact same skills and knowledge, Whole Person Process Facilitation can be used as an Operating Matrix for a multi-day meeting.

Imagine having a corporate retreat of two or three days. The purpose is to get the best ideas, to be innovative and creative, and to distill those ideas down into what feels realistic for the coming year. To accomplish this, you need to really engage everyone and to make the most of your investment in bringing people together. You’ll need the meeting to be facilitated well.

Now imagine having a series of activities that make up the agenda, but they don’t seem to hang together well. You might even get a little confused as your facilitator uses a number of different methods and techniques in the course of a day. An individual and group cognitive dissonance is experienced. And then instead of the energy you need for innovation, you’ll notice people getting upset about the process. Traditional facilitators will tell you this is normal and is the stage of ‘storming’ before getting on with it.

I disagree. I think it is an unnecessary stage and it is not helpful to take for granted that it is necessary and part of the process. Instead, if care is taken to create a cohesive operating matrix for the whole meeting, in which various tools, techniques and methods can be used, the meeting feels coherent. The energy throughout the retreat gets put to the productive use that is needed by the company.

Whole Person Process Facilitation shines as an operating matrix, providing the container for a coherent experience. Complexity is reduced to simplicity….so important as people deal with the complexity of their situation, their challenges, and moving to take advantage of the opportunities before them. It is part of our Genuine Contact Way of working and can be learned by taking this module of the Genuine Contact™ program.

With You I Look Deeper Into Myself Than I Usually Do!

“With you I look deeper into myself than I usually do!” I heard this twice yesterday from two different people that I a guiding through some leadership development. I probed a little when I heard this, as I do. Was this evaluative comment spoken in gratitude or in some form of frustration? The answer didn’t surprise me as this is a conversation that repeats itself in these sessions.

“I am grateful because I am digging deeply into myself for what I actually know…that I didn’t know I knew”


“If this knowledge was in me, why haven’t I been using it? I could have handled so many situations differently”

As a seasoned mentor, I help the person discover what the person actually knows that was previously not in their awareness—what is known is always quite impressive. This awareness expands their capacity, not from reaching outside of themselves but from reaching inside of themselves. There is no point in a superficial approach to development work. Going deeply into oneself reveals a lot of treasures. A person usually feels grateful at their discovery and how much more capacity they have for leadership than they knew, and simultaneously feels the fear and discomfort that usually comes with facing the unknown.

A critical moment in the mentoring is to shift away from any self reproach and self judgment about not having accessed this additional knowledge in the past. We work from a belief that when the awareness develops is exactly the right time.

As an older woman, a personal example that I use is ‘If I had only known when my children were young, what I now know, I would have done some things differently’. And yet I know I was a good mother and doing my best in each moment. Some of my knowledge was not yet in my awareness in the way it is today. Is there any point in looking back with reproach and self judgment? You would assure me that there is not, just as I assure leaders that there is no point in looking back with self judgment.

In the mentoring sessions yesterday, from both the man and the woman, the question became “how do I now work from what I now know that I know?”. We will explore this in our next sessions, realizing the need to go step by step and slowly as this is a development process.

Are you willing to engage in your development to discover what you actually know that may currently not be in your awareness? Can you imagine how this will feel in your discoveries?

People are Precious and All Lives Matter

For most of my life, now over six decades long, I have been a strong proponent for a message ‘people are precious’. I mean all people regardless of age, sexual orientation, religion, race, profession, economic status, etc…basically beyond all of the usual ‘…isms’. I was taught, growing up, to ‘live and let live’. This was a good foundation. It was not enough for me. ‘Live and let live’ is a rather passive statement. Advocating for ‘people are precious’ is a more active statement, resonating better in me.

Recently also, I have been challenged on my viewpoint about ‘all lives matter’. It has been suggested to me that this is offensive to my African American colleagues and friends who are deeply involved with ‘Black Lives Matter’, a strong movement here in North America.  I don’t wish to offend, nor do I wish to take away from any work on the planet that strives for greater unity.

Friends who have dropped by have been using the word ‘sides’ in relation to many current and controversial issues. People are probing one another to discover what ‘side’ they are on in relation to ‘black lives matter’, in relation to issues to do with the police, in relation to the bi-partisan politics that dominate people’s awareness these days. I have taken to getting quite annoyed about ‘sides’ and have started saying to people “I am tired of this rhetoric about sides, everywhere I go, people are aligning with sides”. For me, taking sides is divisive.

I stand by “All lives matter” even when people challenge me that these are the words of white privilege. I stand by my life long deeply held feelings of ‘people are precious’.

Taking sides is costly for all of us. Keeping our focus on collaboration, collective intelligence, keeping conversations going, and creating the space for our diversity as peoples creates value…in all organizations.

What is the last thing you remember doing that supported unity?