SCARF

Geoff Brown looks at a model for getting people engaged (or not) in meetings or movements. It’s called SCARF, standing for…

Status – a lot of trouble is caused when people feel the need to defend their status.

Certainty – people like to have some!

Autonomy – people like to feel they have choices

Relatedness – balancing autonomy, people like to feel connected to others

Fairness – trouble brews if people sense this ain’t happening.

Geoff thinks of a few interpretations. I’d say status has a pretty big impact on meetings. Set ups that confer high status on some particpants (chairs, panels, keynotes…) set up for some fairly dysfunctional exchanges, either of pseudo-compliance or aggressive acting out.

Relatedness is worth thinking about too. You can support it in all sorts of ways. One of the best ideas I had on a two day workshop was to suggest a self-cooked barbeque on the middle evening. I had to fend off hotel staff to stop them helping… by cooking the meal together, people got related better. They tended to break their organisational status too… there’s something primal about the act of cooking and eating together than can be powerful. It can help create relatedness even when people have huge disagreements elsewhere.

I wonder if I’d go for the word “agency” over autonomy…. the latter sometimes suggests a kind of isolation, whereas agency is more about feeling connected to action. Again, cooking a meal together gives everyone a bit of agency…

“Muddling through”

Chris Rodgers has written a couple of related posts, on management as “muddling through” and the “beautiful ugly truth” of management. As usual, I find myself nodding in agreement.

I’ve been thinking lately about the status we play when we use different kinds of language.  In management, there’s a tendency to favour high status language because it sounds more important. This creates the kind of jargon most of us secretly dislike. So on the whole, I’m in favour of more of the lower status language. In my own line of work I often realise there’s a lot of muddling through or “making it up as I go along”.

But supposedly low status language carries its own baggage too.

I may think by saying I make it up as I go along, I am merely being honest and not making myself seem too important. However, it can be interpreted as suggesting more than this.. perhaps suggesting I am just carefree, or flippant, or disrespectful of the participants and what is at stake. When I am muddling through as a facilitator, I hope I am not just being casual, but doing something sensible and considered in the light of all the information I am receiving.

It’s a tricky business, describing what you do…

 

Disruption debunked

Jill Lepore has a thought-provoking article challenging the thinking behind the Innovators Dilemma. She questions the glibness with which people champion disruptive innovation.

I like a bit of contrarian thinking, and this scratches a familiar itch I feel about many conversations about innovation. Lepore seems to argue that case studies about breakthrough innovation are ignoring some longer term things that don’t change so much.

We often think of continuity and change as opposites, each to be confronted or challenged or (unconsciously) denied.

Amsterdam workshops this week

Don’t know why I didn’t mention this before, but Viv is doing two workshops in Amsterdam this week.

Thursday’s is called Bring Your Meetings to LIfe – I think of it as the basics of Viv’s and my approach to facilitation.

Friday’s is called Survival Skills for Facilitators. This one focuses on what to do when things go wrong. To be honest, I think the essence of facilitation is the ability to live the stage fright, the feeling of being an imposter, and keep going when things appear to be on the brink of going awry.

Each one is 145 Euros for companies, 95 Euros for independents. In a last minute change of plan, I’m actually going to join Viv on Friday. But don’t let that put you off!

Blurb here. And big thanks to our friend Raymond van Driel for hosting.