Diversity in Counsel, Unity in Command.
—Cyrus the Great
Why Hire an Outside Facilitator/Chair?
- So each member can fully participate without having to moderate
- To hold and moderate potential conflict
- To ask the difficult questions, and enlarge the group’s consciousness
- To observe the meeting flow, participant interactions and move the group forward when it appears stuck or entrenched
- To provide an outside perspective
- To keep meeting focused on agenda goals
- To manage time and agenda
- To summarize conclusions, decision, and action items
- Provide educational/business learning and tools
- To provide continuity between meetings
Organizations and teams find it valuable to employ experienced meeting facilitators in various situations such as–a periodic strategy meeting, an inflection point or time of transition. They understand the leverage skilled facilitators can bring to shape the dialogue, content, and outcomes of the meeting.
We help our clients decide how to decide. Our objective is to create the conditions where both good decisions are made and where an equal focus is placed on the process—how these decisions are reached.
We manage the tension between conflict and consensus and help our clients arrive at a course of action that will achieve organizational objectives more efficiently than other alternatives—And, where participants have a common understanding of the decision as well as being equally committed to its implementation.
A 3 Step Process
- Clients come to us with a described situation—a challenge or opportunity. We solicit their input to further define their understanding of this situation.
- We determine with the client who should be in the meeting
- We interview each participant in advance of the meeting to get their perspectives, increase their buy-in, and establish an initial level of trust and respect (we may also interview other internal or external stakeholders who will not be part of the meeting)
- We summarize participant responses and share them with each other—in the process we begin to shape and outline how the meeting conversations should proceed
- An initial agenda unfolds, is presented to the client, and through conversation a final agenda is developed and provided to the participants
3. Meeting Facilitation
- We encourage cognitive input and conflict—evaluate alternative solutions, test assumptions, gather dissenting views
- We help our clients refrain from single cause theories and quick solutions
- We identify the experts in the room and while respecting their experience and expertise, we insist that others have the confidence to voice their concerns or questions in the face of such authority
- We continually take the affective temperature in the room—personality clashes, politics, social pressures can negatively impact the decision quality and the commitment to implement the decision
- We build consensus around decisions, not that everyone must agree on them, but that they understand them and commit to implementing them including discussion of what could go wrong
- Documentation of decisions and accountabilities
- Participant feedback—meeting content and process, facilitator performance, personal and other participant performance
3. Post Meeting Review & Input
- Summary of Defined Decisions and Accountability
- Comments on meeting process—where it was strong, not as strong
- Summary of key insights
- List of new questions to consider
- Recommendations on how to follow-up and implement decisions