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Road Rage. Have you been irritated by someone else’s driving? Of course, we all have.

Today I realized however that I am likely guilty of doing the precise thing that others have done to piss me off. However, when I did it, there was justification—of course. When they did the same thing however, they were wrong, dumb, stupid, and worthy of decapitation. So what’s the difference?

Being a humane human.

Have you ever made a right turn in an automobile very slowly, because your grandma was in the back seat, or you didn’t want the pie to spill, or the house number you were seeking was right around the corner? Imagine so. But when someone makes the turn incredibly slowly in front of you, they are being rude and inconsiderate, correct? So what’s the difference?

Become a Humane Human, Understand WHY Behind WHAT

Become a Humane Human: Understand the WHY Behind the WHAT

The difference evidences itself when you seek to understand WHY. Chances are, the person that upset you had good reason in their own mind, and was not attempting to be intentionally inconsiderate. They were not malicious at all. They simply had their own reasons.

We should always stay mindful of the phrase in St Francis’ Peace Prayer—Seek to understand, rather than being understood. The Dalai Lama also has a nice way of expressing similar sentiment when he states (paraphrased)—“When you speak, you are saying something you already know. When you listen, you may learn something new.”

Facilitators Need to Challenge WHY

As facilitators, we cannot afford to let down our guard. Keep the ego in the hallway.  Challenge meeting and workshop participants to justify their positions by explaining WHY they are making a particular claim. Chances are, we will discover something new. By active listening through the reflection and confirmation of their rationale, we can begin to build consensus.

Would it bother you if I turned slowly around a corner if you already knew that I had an infirmed occupant or something that might spill?  I imagine not, as you would likely have some compassion, not because you liked WHAT I was doing, but because you understood WHY I was doing it.

To build consensus, make sure everyone understands WHY claims are being made. They likely hear what the other person said (or did), but since it upsets them, they fail to understand nor strive to understand WHY. That’s your job as facilitator. Build consensus around WHY since most WHAT everyone believes is not simply black or white, rather it is conditional. It’s your job to get the group to understand under what conditions someone’s erratic thoughts or behavior may in fact echo the same thing you would do if you were in their shoes.


Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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  1. Unfortunately, kind actions are more important, in fact, the only important thing; not simply kind words. Fortunately, thoughts usually precede words that precede actions, increasing the likelihood of kind actions.

    Hope your move went smooth and pray for fewer fires.

  2. Terrence – Thanks for the gentle reminder, as so much of what we do today is to keep things moving forward at a fast pace it is important to slow down and seek to understand before plowing ahead.

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