Process a waste of time? LO13303

Ragnar S. Johansen (
19 Apr 1997 16:17:13 +0200

Replying to LO13253 --

On Thu, 17 Apr 1997, Bob Williams wrote:

>Just how do you respond when at the end of a process people say that
>they could have come up with that list of issues, ideas or solutions
>at the start ? :-)

I view the process as a means to achieve a shared understanding of the
situation at hand, often including a commonly understood terminology to
describe the issues. Since the participants already know the situation
(allthough from different perspectives), we should not be suprized that
some participants feel the result was "given up front". I'd be a lot more
concerned if participants was surprised by the results.

When faced with this question from participants, I've tried to explain
that the value of the process (and its results) lies in the shared
understanding of it, and (hopefully) the comitment to act upon it. I allso
point out that this is a common reaction, and that in researchsettings, it
is considered a quallity criterion on the trustwortyness of the

Finally, I doubt such statements to be entirely true. Although the results
may seem familiar and consistent with a participants initial mental model,
it seems unlikely that a single participant would have done as good a job
at categorizing, prioritizing and deciding to act upon the issues as the
entire participating group did. The ancient Norwegian saying that "two
heads think better than one" tend to be true, especially when joined by a
good "facilitator".

The last snow fell today, at the northernmost outpost of western
civilization, where the world's best jam is made: Brumunddal, Norway.

Ragnar Johansen



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