IAF Chair's message on COVID 19.

11 March 2020

Dear colleagues,

These are interesting and challenging times for the facilitation community as the increasing global spread of COVID19 is impacting our ability to work face to face with groups and engage with communities. 

The term VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) has never been more applicable to our work as it has become recently.  The next few months may well continue to be uncertain with a wide myriad of messages coming at us.   Most importantly I hope all of you are following the WHO advice in terms of keeping yourself and your loved ones safe. 

I am sure many of us are facing cancellations, postponements, and application of force majeure in the work we do, all of which may have a financial impact. 

So what can we do in these uncertain times?  With every challenge opportunities emerge, I would like to suggest 3 for us to think about:

Virtual facilitation - Meetings need to happen, strategies and execution plans need to continue to be created and business planning and execution is still on the minds of leaders. There is increasing interest from organisations to see how we can continue to engage with groups in a virtual format.  There is an opportunity for us to increase our exploration of virtual tools and see how we can bring our facilitator competencies more into the digital world. 

Continuing Professional Development -  Anytime we get professional time that we had not planned for it can provide us an opportunity to improve our own knowledge and skills.  Time to catch up on reading, learn new facilitation methods, participate in some of the amazing IAF webinars, meetups and other learning opportunities. Share your experiences and learn best practices from others.  Or you could write the case study of the facilitation impact you made recently and consider an application for the Facilitation Impact Awards. 

Connect and communicate -  This is the time to reach out to your connections and make new ones.  Get active in the various facilitation forums (LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Meetups, Facebook, YouTube, Slack, and Podcasts) and connect with the community of practitioners.  If you are concerned about the current situation these are great places and spaces to share what is happening for you, how you are feeling and to connect and communicate with others in similar situations, for support, advice and understanding on one of our many channels. 

We are confident that the current situation will pass and all of us will get back to the amazing work of making an impact with our facilitation work. 

In the meantime the IAF board is committed to supporting our members and leveraging these, and other, opportunities for our community so that we can make the best of these uncertain times.  After all as Aristotle once said: 

“Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.” 

In the next few weeks we will be expanding our ideas on these 3 opportunities and how you can leverage them through the IAF community. 

Stay tuned, stay safe, stay resilient. 

Vinay Kumar
IAF Chair