Faciliation Pattern: Sherlock Holmes

Posted by Doc
Feb 02 2009

sherlockMotto: With enough information, we can reach a conclusion.
Belief: It’s facts that count, not opinions, bound with reason.
Behavior: Asks questions, engages participants in inquiry, and guides them to reaching conclusions based on facts/information in evidence.
Characteristics: Patient, inquisitive, articulate


So much of what we do in meetings is (or should be) around gathering information and moving to conclusions/solutions/decisions.

When you go to a meeting, which occupies you: Telling? Or asking?

Like Curious George, Sherlock Holmes is interested in gathering information through asking questions. Unlike Curious George, Sherlock Holmes also collects evidence, relates what he’s learned and gathered, and drives toward conclusions.

Sherlock Holmes, the fictional character, was known for his use of deductive reasoning. Using deductive reasoning, we move from the general to the specific. We collect evidence and knowledge, and then use that evidence and knowledge to reach conclusions.

Holmes was also known for employing abductive reasoning, along with deductive reasoning. One description of abductive reasoning is “creating new rules to explain new observations”.

The facilitator’s role is to use her skills in data gathering, abduction, and deduction to guide the participants. As noted repeatedly, it is not the facilitator’s role to offer the conclusions, although that happens from time to time. It is the facilitator’s role to use these skills to guide and teach.

As is no doubt becoming clear, many of these patterns and antipatterns overlap in various ways. That is, they are not mutually exclusive.

Coming up? Dr. Moriarty, The Evil Genius!

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