When groups interact, two distinct dynamics are happening. The group is working in an existing PROCESS. The PROCESS can be explicit or implicit, intentional or accidental. The group is also exchanging and developing CONTENT. CONTENT is not PROCESS and PROCESS is not CONTENT, but they are inextricably related.
It is best to have those responsible for the PROCESS refrain from offering CONTENT and those offering CONTENT to refrain from shaping the PROCESS. When this rule is not followed people can use the PROCESS to force the group to place higher value on their CONTENT and personal agendas.
Specifically, leaders are most powerful when they delegate to another the responsibility to design an explicit and fair PROCESS for the conversation. This approach frees the leader to participate powerfully at the CONTENT level.
One person must facilitate the PROCESS and surrender their role to add CONTENT. With this person “in role neutral,” he or she can maintain group adherence to the PROCESS and prevent individuals from pursuing their own agendas.
A group with a clearly defined facilitator in charge of PROCESS allows the rest of the group to focus purely on CONTENT. The facilitator provides an unbiased environment, which ensures the best exchange of ideas and full stakeholder involvement.