The need for reflection in getting decisions to stick

I had an interesting experience of being facilitated this week. It was an intense 2 hour meeting to resolve a long standing problem. My experience was that I left the meeting feeling like we had made progress, and reasonably OK with the decisions we agreed.

However, as time passed after the meeting, I had growing misgivings about the decisions we had made. This has resulted in the need in another meeting, to revisit, and renegotiate the decisions.

My reflections on why this happened are, that the meeting was very intense, the facilitator pushed us through the decision making process, and there was no opportunity to reflect on progress during the meeting. In fact the only time I did reflect briefly, during a quick toilet break, I came back into the meeting with misgivings. However, these were not really picked up by the facilitator, and we ploughed on regardless.

So, my learnings from this are:

  • Allow time for pauses in decision making – use soak time, reflection and iterative decision making.
  • Make space to hear concerns as decisions are being made – if they are not addressed, they will only come back to bite you.
  • Don’t push for closure when there are still unresolved issues.

As David Sibbet once said to me, ‘you must lead a group into decision making and follow them out.’

I have found this a particularly useful learning experience, as I have had the chance to really feel the experience as a participant, a change from my usual role as facilitator.