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Horse sense for people

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

From Rick Lamb of The Horse Show came the following gem. People in groups have similar focus issues! When I read this, I thought that these similar things happen in group meetings. The job of a facilitator is to create the focus exercises that help the group stay on task.

With apologies in advance to Rick Lamb, I’ve inserted “people” words [in brackets] for “horse” words. Enjoy!

The world is full of distractions for your [group]. Getting [them] to focus on the task at hand starts with you.

You can’t change what goes on around you and your [group] and sometimes you will lose [their] attention.

Trainer John Lyons suggests that you have an exercise ready to work on, focus on doing that exercise, and be ready for a little mental battle with your [group].

“[Groups have a tendency to mentally wander. They distract themselves by mentally playing] a game. I bet I can make you think [I’m really very important because I need to be constantly in touch via cell phone or text]. No, no, I’m doing this. But I’m [not interested in this part. I want to move on to the next agenda item]. No, no, I’m doing this. But [lunch is] coming up. No, no, I’m doing this. But there’s a lot of people. No, no, I’m doing this. And so it’s just a game and it’s learning how to keep our focus on that game. Then what’s going to happen, the longer [the facilitator stays] focused, pretty soon that [group] is going to come right over and start working on what I’m working on.”

Avoid checking out the distraction yourself. It usually doesn’t matter what it is, and if you let it draw your attention, you’ve lost the focus game.


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Sherry S. Jennings, PhD
Founder and principal of Sound Governance. Sherry started Sound Governance because board leaders need a safe space.

Read more about sherry.
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