How I Learned to Stop Fixing and Start Facilitating—Sara Wachter-Boettcher

I worked at a rape crisis centre in college, spending my afternoons in middle schools talking to kids about sexual abuse. More often than you want to know, they talked back. Every time a child disclosed abuse he’d experienced, I’d have the same desire: to take him in my arms and promise him it was going to be OK.

But that would have been a lie. I could tell him it wasn’t his fault. I could listen. But I couldn’t fix it.

Years later I realised that the same’s true in my work. Promising solutions to clients may be immediately comforting, but it’s ultimately dishonest. I can’t mastermind a solution and expect it to stick in an organisation any more than I can carry kids out of abusive situations and into a safer world. I can only foment the tiniest of changes: help pinpoint what’s wrong, turn awkward meetings into productive conversations, and make the future feel a little less scary. 

My clients don’t need a saviour. They need a guide.

In this talk, I’ll share how I stopped trying to fix things, and started facilitating tiny revolutions instead. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Use small changes to foment big culture shifts.
  • Empower colleagues and clients to take ownership and lead.
  • Let go of big, monolithic “solutions”—without losing sight of the big picture.

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Jonathan Kahn

Jonathan Kahn

David Caines

David Caines

branding and illustration
Rhiannan Walton

Rhiannan Walton

Daniel Howells

Daniel Howells

digital design
Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Sara Wachter-Boettcher

content strategy