About Whee Jim
I stumbled onto corporate facilitation when I was tasked, as a new middle manager, to facilitate the Ministry’s annual strategic planning workshop. My first attempt was far from pretty – so I know what (really) poor process design and corporate facilitation look like. I am thankful for supervisors, peers and colleagues who gave me all the advice, coaching and support throughout these years to up my craft. I am incredibly grateful for my ongoing journey as a corporate and learning facilitator. My more recent facilitation adventures include:
- Multiple workshops to engage a range of internal and external stakeholders to craft Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s mission and vision
- Virtual workshops for public officers in regulation and enforcement to unpack lessons learnt from battling COVID-19
- 2-week leadership development workshops for Directors and Deputy Directors in the culture sector that also took us to Indonesia and Malaysia
- Virtual and physical Sunday school classes for my church’s 10-12 year olds, and workshops for Sunday school teachers on ways to better use digital tools to engage our children
- Inaugural 10-day programme to various cities in China for Senior Directors and Directors to better understand China’s politics, economics and social policies
I am inspired by Psalm 119:105:
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
This verse shines the spotlight on the importance of being sensitive and living according to the Word. I believe that in our messy and troubled world, those who stubbornly live by our own ways and venture into the darkness without the Word, will ultimately find themselves slipping, falling and lost.
Navigating relationship challenges with those closest to me, I have seen how God’s Word pierces through the darkness and shines a light on the path ahead. Ultimately, we have to be the ones to choose to take that step forward.
Everyone–and I am certainly no exception–goes through periods during which we find ourselves in the abyss, our view shrouded in dark clouds. Issues appear daunting, the road ahead unclear. In many ways, facilitation is about helping individuals, teams and organisations hold the lamp up, such that we can see the road ahead. A little clearer than before.
Words and conversations have incredible power. We all need safe, trusting spaces to bring together everyone for conversations that are deep, difficult, and divergent. Initially, at least. A good facilitator can be that lamp to illuminate and reframe issues, resolve conflict, connect people. A good facilitator can nudge people to take the right but difficult path ahead. It is only against the backdrop of dusk, dimness and even complete darkness, that we are able to see, feel and appreciate the light.
But in the still dimmer light of the candle stand,
as I gazed at the trays and bowls
standing in the shadows cast
by that flickering point of flame,
I discover in the gloss of this lacquerware
a depth and richness like that of
a still, dark pond,
a beauty that I had not before seen.
In Praise of Shadows (陰翳礼讃)
by Tanikazi Junichiro (谷崎潤一郎)
When I am not designing and facilitating workshops, I am working on my creative expression. Plating my home cooked food, folding pandan leaves into flowers and books into artworks, or fiddling with my video editor.
If not, I am exercising, stretching, and upping my level of physical and emotional awareness. My child deserves all the credit for motivating me with reminders that I am “old, fat and naggy”. Even though those words have stopped being uttered aloud. But I suspect those sentiments remain.
Indeed, the lasting power of words and conversations.