Depth

I am often asked to talk about how I do what I do. I don’t find it easy to answer. It is easier for me to talk about how I think about what I do than it is to actually articulate how I do it. So I’ve sought the help of others.

I’m going to be sharing more about facilitation. About my own process. And about great resources out there. (If you’d like facilitation resources directly to your inbox, sign up at the end of this post!)

My friends Tuesday and Tim are awesome facilitators doing work together as The Outside. Their podcast is an inside look into this work. And I found their recent episode of Depth to be specially on point.

You can facilitate to get through an agenda. Or you can facilitate to make change happen. If you want things to change you have to go beyond the surface. You must take a dive. This work demands depth.

But depth is often confused with emotionality. With “too many feelings.” Or with group process that often feels more performative than authentic. So we don’t like it.

We need to go deep enough to connect to each other at the level of our shared humanity. I want to have a sense of what motivates you. And what scares you. I want to know what you want to tell me about your story. And I want to make some sense of how we ended up here together.

Relationships = Results


But as Tuesday says in the podcast “we have been conditioned out of depth. The status quo in the workplace is not necessarily connected with the self or other people. We have structured our professionalism to not include vulnerability, authenticity or yearning.”

This is a set up. We have organized ourselves along a mechanistic worldview. We forgot that everything is interconnected. And we treat human organizations as machines, striving for efficiency.

However, “significant change requires we get to depth because it’s the only way we discover the detour to something new. Staying in it when it gets hard is imperative to try something different. Go deep, be in it together, get uncomfortable.”

This is what we mean by depth. And it demands masterful facilitation. The space needs to be held well enough to help us get out of the habit of staying on the surface. We will experience resistance. There is feeling here. And a different set of sensations. There is more vulnerability. And this is what leads to connection.

Depth is where we find a way. It is the counterbalance to all the frantic busy work that keeps us stuck on the surface. It is where we come together. And it is how we become whole.