Almost nothing

Rob Poynton is fond of quoting Zinadine Zidane:

“Magic is sometimes very close to nothing at all.”

In recent years, I’ve realised that a lot of the work of facilitation is to sit with all sorts of ideas for interventions I could make in a meeting. And then not act of most of them.

This is not quite doing nothing, because there’s a lot of impulse control going on.

Facilitators often worry that when you are doing it really well, a lot of the time it looks like you’re not doing much. I think anyone in a position of authority will understand this pressure to look like they’re leading, even when it’s not helpful.

I think this kind of impulse control is important, resisting the urge to “act like a leader”. Some of the best work I’ve done is when I’ve chosen to fade into the background.

There’s a kind of tyranny of the explicit, as if leadership is only stuff that people can clearly see, activity rather than receptivity. But in our often madly busy world, it could be that we don’t need to add to the frenzy of action, but instead be more attentive to what is already happening.

And choose more carefully if and when to “do” something.

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