The work of our time, as facilitators, is to create opportunities for facilitated work that is truly inclusive. As we grapple with increasingly complex problems, the need to include diverse voices and viewpoints is widely understood and continues to deepen. However, the work of creating an inclusive environment - where these voices might be heard - is often overlooked. How often do we assume we are facing so many of the same problems together? How often do we assume that we can co-create solutions by simply having diverse voices around the table?
To create an inclusive environment, we need to start from a place of care.
We need to care about our participants’ ability to contribute without fear of judgement. We need to take care about our approach so that it’s welcoming - not alienating - at the outset. We need to care enough to listen- through our own assumptions and biases, and to learn from each other’s perspectives.
When we care, we are invited to listen to each other and work together to determine the objectives and outcomes that are most meaningful to us collectively, and to find the tools or formats that might most powerfully surface the understandings we need to get us to our ‘solutions’ or ‘what’s next’.
Establishing a ‘climate of care’, sets in motion a ‘safe space’ that can evolve and build trust among participants. This ‘safe space’ can adapt and deepen as we learn from each other and as new directions, approaches and understandings are forged. Only when participants feel as though their voices matter, can the diversity of voices that we’ve worked so hard to get around the table be heard. Only after a ‘climate of care’ is established can we contextualize and approach the content that brings us together in the first place.
Written by Leslie Giddings and Lindsay McDonald
Published by https://www.iaf-world.org/site/global-flipchart/20/care-before-content