by Jessica Delaney, Principal, Engagement + Communications
I am a mom. I think I’ve mentioned that it’s the hardest job I have ever had and I am paid in a mix of hugs and kisses, boogers and blood. Sometimes I can’t get my kids to stop talking; other times they are like a vault. A few months back we started a nighttime ritual and it made me think of de-briefing facilitated sessions and engagement events.
The 4 Hs are:
- What today made you happy?
- What was hard today?
- What was your helping thing?
- What is your hope for tomorrow?
Sometimes the answers are short and sweet – like what made you happy – “right now with you mommy”. And sometimes the answers are openers: what was hard? “My friend wouldn’t play with me.” I have come to realize a few things.
- There is power in ritual and habit.
- It’s not about the question, but the opportunity to engage on a deeper level.
- In the stillness, there’s vulnerability.
I have no doubt that if I asked these questions around the dinner table I would get different responses. But I ask them under the duvet, in the darkness, surrounded by stuffies.
While I am not suggesting that you get under the duvet with your colleagues, I am suggesting that reflecting on facilitated sessions or engagement events will likely always get a different response if you do it in a safe space and within a set framework. That might mean that you debrief and reflect alone, with a cup of tea, a few days after the fact. It might mean waiting a while to debrief with colleague during a walking meeting in the park. However you do it, I would like to suggest that by ritualizing reflection and debriefing you can create safer work spaces where you can explore things more deeply than “order more coffee”.
A framework might be:
- What are we proud of?
- What would we change?
- What can we learn from this session / event?
And like my debrief with my six-year old, some responses fill my heart and others sometimes crush it, but it’s always better to know than to have silence.