Facilitation (business)

Facilitation (business)

Facilitation in business, organizational development (OD) and in consensus decision-making refers to the process of designing and running a successful meeting.

Facilitation concerns itself with all the tasks needed to run a productive and impartial meeting. Facilitation serves the needs of any group who are meeting with a common purpose, whether it be making a decision, solving a problem, or simply exchanging ideas and information. It does not lead the group, nor does it try to distract or to entertain.

Aspects of facilitation

* The role of the facilitator. (see below) The role of facilitator only emerged as a separate set of skills in the 1980s. It has similarities to the traditional Chair or secretary roles in a meeting but goes beyond them to actively participate and guide the group towards consensus.
* Consulting with the client. A facilitator will work with a client who is someone in an organisation, or diverse group, who is calling them and has invited the facilitator to assist. They will try to understand the purpose and outcome of the meeting by discussing it with the client.
* Making arrangements for the meeting. The practical arrangements will be arranged or managed by the facilitator. They will also consider in detail the location and layout of the room. They will research the meeting beforehand to understand why it is being held and that all stakeholders are invited and able to attend.
* Setting the agenda. They will understand in detail how each item on the agenda is to be tackled and how long it should take. Using specialist techniques they will allow participants to understand all the issues at stake and all alternative courses of action.
* Understanding group norms. They will not make assumptions about the way people interact and will try to adapt to the ways of different cultures and organisations.
* Understanding group dynamics. Whilst tackling the practical aspects of a meeting they remain aware of undercurrents, both verbal and non-verbal, which may indicate problems the group is having. The facilitator may try to assist the group in becoming aware of these.

The role of the facilitator

"See the facilitator article for details of exactly how a facilitator might run a meeting."

*Prior to a meeting, facilitators:
** research the meeting before it happens
** find out the purpose and goal (if any) of the meeting
** establish who needs to attend
** draw up a draft agenda and design the group processes to attain the necessary results
** share the agenda with potential attendees, changing it as necessary
** ensure everyone gets fully briefed for the meeting and that everyone knows the purpose and potential consequences of the meeting

*During the meeting, facilitators:
** monitor the agenda
** keep time
** manage the group process
** encourage participation from all attendees
** help participants understand different points of view
** foster solutions that incorporate diverse points of view
** manage participant behavior
** create a safe environment
** teach new thinking skills and facilitating structured thinking activities
** record (with an agreed phraseology) agreements. They may also note unresolved issues for later debate.

*The facilitator may write up and publish the results of the meeting to everyone concerned including those who could not attend.

The form of meeting

A meeting usually means everyone is together in the same room at the same time and this is the major situation in which facilitation is practiced. With the introduction of modern telecommunications the field has grown to embrace other forms of meetings:-
*Same time same place - the traditional meeting in a room with all parties present.
*Same time different place - the teleconference with either all parties on separate telephones or some in separate rooms with speaker phone connection. The internet chat also falls in this category.
*Different time same place - a meeting focussing on a notice board and poster display which allows individuals to add comments as they pass.
*Different time different place - meeting via a web link such as discussion groups and Wikipedia.

Principles of facilitation

* " [http://iaf-world.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3744 Statement of Values and Code of Ethics for Group Facilitators]
* " Teach them to fish": helping people "do it themselves"
* " When the true leader leads the people say", "We did it ourselves"
* Facilitators are substantially neutral to content discussions
* Facilitators are outcome oriented
* Facilitators Plan before Doing
* Facilitators use proper models and methods
* Facilitators work to understand factors driving groups and individuals
* Facilitators promote participation by all
* Facilitators encourage collaborative decision-making when appropriate
* Facilitators capture the results
* Facilitators manage the climate and space of the event
* Facilitators manage the resistance
* Facilitators provide and request timely and effective feedback
* Facilitators seek to understand and manage themselves

External links

Professional and accrediting organisations

* [http://www.iaf-world.org/ International Association of Facilitators]
* [http://www.globalfn.org/ The Global Facilitators Network]
* [http://www.inifac.org/ The International Institute for Facilitation]

Networks

* Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network: http://www.Mid-AtlanticFacilitators.net/
* Midwest Facilitators Network: http://www.midwest-facilitators.net/
* Facilitator Development Network: http://www.FacilitatorDevelopment.net/
* Worldwide Network of IAF-Certified Professional Facilitators http://www.facilitator4hire.com/
* Facilitators Network Singapore: http://www.fns.sg/ & http://fnsingapore.blogspot.com/
* Australasian Facilitators' Network http://www.facilitators.net.au/

Resources

* [http://www.albany.edu/cpr/gf/ Group Facilitation Listserv Discussion at University of Albany]
* [http://www.masterfacilitatorjournal.com/home.html Master Facilitator Journal]
* [http://www.iaf-methods.org/ International Association of Facilitators Methods Database]
* [http://www.mgrush.com/content/view/45/33/ Associations of Facilitators]
* [http://www.mgrush.com/content/view/70/33/ Glossary of Terms for facilitation and facilitators]
* [http://www.moderatio.de/biz/englisch/note_facilitation.pdf A very short overview]
* [http://www.dialoguebydesign.net/consultation/resources_reading.htm Dialogue Top 10]
* [http://www.lets-focus.com A Periodic Table of 100 Facilitation Methods]

References

* [http://www.participative-dynamics.com/index.htm Ingrid Bens] (Author); Facilitating with Ease!; Jossey-Bass ; ISBN 0-7879-7729-2 (New & Revised Feb 2005)
* Sam Kaner with Lenny Lind, Catherine Toldi, Sarah Fisk and Duane Berger (Authors); " [http://www.CommunityAtWork.com/book.html Facilitator's Guide to Participatory Decision-Making] " Jossey-Bass, 2007; ISBN 0-7879-8266-9
* Thomas Kayser; Mining Group Gold; McGraw Hill - 1995.
* Ron Kraybill (Author); Structuring Dialogue: Cool Tools for Hot Topics; " [http://www.RiverhouseEpress.com Riverhouse Epress] "(2005)
* Ron Kraybill (Author); Group Facilitation: Skills to Facilitate Meetings and Training Exercises to Learn Them; " [http://www.RiverhouseEpress.com Riverhouse Epress] "(2005)
* Sandor Schuman (Editor). " [http://www.iafhgf.com The IAF Handbook of Group Facilitation: Best Practices from the Leading Organization in Facilitation] ". Jossey-Bass, 2005. ISBN 0-7879-7160-X
* Sandor Schuman (Editor). " [http://www.culture-of-collaboration.com Creating a Culture of Collaboration] ". Jossey-Bass, 2006. ISBN 0-7879-8116-8
* Roger Schwarz (Author); The Skilled Facilitator; Jossey-Bass ; ISBN 0-7879-4723-7 (New & Revised July 2002)
* Josef W. Seifert (Author); Visualization - Presentation - Moderation; " [http://www.moderatorenshop.de/detail/42/66 A Practical Guide to successful presentation and Facilitation of Business Prosesses] ". WILEY, 2nd Edition 2002
* Laura Spencer (Author); Winning Through Participation; - 1989.
* Salas, Tillmann, McKee (Authors); " [http://www.southbound.com.my/Vipp/Vipp_VisualisationParticipation.htm Visualisation in Participatory Programmes] ". Southbound, in association with UNICEF Dhaka, ISBN 978-983-9054-45-3. A people centred methodology for conducting group events.


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