The most important attitude of successful systems facilitators is sometimes referred to as openness to new ideas. Far more than just openness, however, the facilitator must be able to not only look at new ideas, but keep multiple conflicting ideas in his head at the same time. This tolerance of ambiguity or conceptual pluralism is required for the facilitator to have the flexibility to integrate ideas to create new syntheses, much less to evoke it in others — which is the heart of systems facilitation.
A dose of humility coupled with awareness of human fallibility and imperfection are also characteristics of this skill/attitude of successful facilitators.
The opposite of this attitude is blind faith, the true believer of Hoffer, the singular born again experience of fundamentalist Christianity. Instead, the successful systems facilitator is perpetually being born again — the reformed world and life view of Smuts and Kuyper. You are always learning, always growing — and catalyzing that in others. A number of other resources can contribute to development of skills in this area. These areas are shown in the graphic below.
Excerpts from Hoffer’s True BelieverBecoming adept at conceptual pluralism is just one aspect of learning to transform systems. Look into the other areas:
- Motivating Teams
- Learning Systems and Systems Learning
- Communication Beyond Words
- Evoking Integration and innovation
- Holistic Decision-Making
Facilitating groups is a holistic process.
Each of the above “skills” is one view of the process.
If you’re ready, get into the process itself.The quickest way to develop skills in systems facilitation is to find someone who is successful in helping groups create new systems and learn from them.