To Facilitate or Not to Facilitate – That is the Question

Working Together imageMany communities are faced with the situation: “should we facilitate planning work in our community? And if so, where do we start?” In the more advanced communities where facilitated planning is engrained in their work and thinking, there’s not much thought given to whether or not to plan. They do it as a matter of normal business. But there are a good number of First Nation, Metis, and Inuit communities that are just starting out and still a bit shaky in their development work. Sure, infrastructure development and other projects get thrust upon many communities and their leadership handles these projects the best way they know how. But I’m talking about proactive facilitative planning that involves sitting down with a good contingent of the community and devising a Shared Vision, Clear Goals, Grounding in the Now (a description of their current situation), Community History (knowing where they come from), Community Strengths and an Inventory of Resources, & Key Strategies for Change, to name a few key areas.

We have been helping communities and organizations to build these Plans of Action since 1993. More importantly, our focus has been on passing on this capacity so that others know how to do it themselves. It’s the old Chinese proverb, “…teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. There is enough work for hundreds of facilitators to help communities develop (fishing for or with them) for the next 100 years. What is greatly needed is more people in First Nation, Metis, and Inuit communities that know how to fish (I mean, to facilitate development here – stay with me). The more people that learn this skill the better off Aboriginal people will be. Take a look at some of the leaders in development across the country. They all know how to get things done. They have people on board that know how to make things move and how to motivate people to action. That’s what good leaders do – they inspire and move others to take action. And they are always taking action themselves.

We’re not about catching fish for people – facilitating for you. We want to teach you how to facilitate! First we’ll show you how it’s done and then you’ll do it yourself. Because, in the final analysis my friends, if you’re failing to facilitate change – whether its for yourself or your community…then you’re already facilitating your own failure. We’ve travelled down that well-beaten path too long already. Let’s take the path less travelled and turn it around. We owe it to ourselves and our future generations.