Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Pitfalls of Having the Wrong Scribe

Kristen Peterson related an interesting story in a March 3rd comment that I thought was worth sharing...she points to several of the pitfalls in facilitating a group when you don't have the right scribing resources...

"This is very timely -- I did an all day facilitation with a client last week. An in-house facilitator at the client had read Tim Hurson’s book Think Better and wanted to try the process internally on their biz relationship with one of their clients -- a $20 million account for them - on how to improve the relationship, increase revenue, be seen as a trusted advisor, and broaden and deepen the relationship.

I was primarily there to "observe," introduce the principles of productive thinking, and step in if things started to fall apart I stepped in halfway into the first step -- mostly because the facilitator, Tina, had arranged for someone on her team to "take notes" on a laptop – basically a clerical from the team -- which clearly wasn't happening. So I took over facilitating and Tina picked up the scribing. The scribing dragged me down as a facilitator -- Tina didn't know the process well enough. I would have moved to paper and scribed for myself but the room was tiny and there was little space to move around.

Lesson learned: the scribe must know the process AND be a fast and accurate typist -- otherwise they can totally slow things down and divert the focus of both the facilitator and the group . If asked again I would say no to a "note taker" and provide my own scribe, or less desirably, scribe for myself.

Big additional benefit having a scribe -- having an expert in the process greatly improves the quality of note capture and dramatically speeds up convergence.

In feedback from the group, one of the more senior participants recognized that the electronic note taking got in the way."

Any other stories out there?

1 comment:

Delphine Batton said...

together with another facilitator we are scribing for each other regularly. So during a session we switch from facilitation to sribing.
Knowing the process, even the agenda precisely is of a great help for scribing. Even more when as a facilitator we have to change the agenda during the session : the one who is scribing a this time can follow easaly!