April 17, 2014 Leave a comment
You and I have been victim of numerous false, urban legends, for example:
- The Great Wall of China is NOT visible from outer space
- You use a lot more than ten percent of your brain
- Relatively speaking, it’s much safer to take candy from strangers than from family members. Statistically, family members are more likely than strangers to poison others.
Much has been researched and written about cognitive biases. Subject matter experts (ie, SMEs) are frequent victims of an “availability” bias that causes them to be over-confident, and perhaps wrong. Be prepared to challenge them with a “hip-pocket” tool, something you carry with you at all times.
Information is more likely to be used in a decision when it is delivered face-to-face. Participants are frequently impressed by the charisma of the deliverer rather than the value of the information.
Subject matter experts tend to overestimate their contributions that are produced jointly with others. Thus, they overestimate the importance of their contributions, and close themselves off from the possibility of other “right” answers.
For example, two people eating the same bowl of chili will react differently. One may claim the chili is “hot” (ie, spicy) while the other claims it is “not”. Both are right, so we might appeal to Scoville Units to “objectify” their claims.
Be prepared to demonstrate that SMEs may have “an” answer, but not the only answer. Be prepared to humble them. Demonstrate that their answer may be sub-optimal (or even wrong) and that voting is a poor method of decision-making. We like to use the approach below, that is one of but hundreds of similar exercises used to shake their paradigms.
Solve the question yourself. You will need to write us for the correct answer but we can assure you that the correct answer is not “23.” Keep in mind that these are English books, written from left to right, and stacked in proper sequence, from Volume One through Volume Four, vertically.
Become Part of the Solution, Improve Your Facilitation Skills
The FAST curriculum on Professional Facilitation Skills details the responsibilities and dynamics mentioned above. Remember, nobody is smarter than everybody, so consult your FAST Facilitator Reference Manual or attend a FAST professional facilitative leadership training workshop offered around the world (see MG Rush for a current schedule — an excellent way to earn 40 PDUs from PMI, CDUs from IIBA, or CEUs).
Do not forget to order Change or Die if you working on a business process improvement project. It provides detailed workshop agendas and detailed tools to make your role easier and your team’s performance a lot more effective—daring you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.