One of the many tools used by MG RUSH in our Professional Facilitation training is the FAST facilitation technique. The FAST facilitation technique ensures that meetings and workshops that require group input will be more effective in building consensus and producing quality decisions. As the Facilitator, it helps make you a more successful leader and methodologist.

Most academic books, classes, and courses focus on the individual; individual beliefs, values, and behavior. Most courses on ‘Critical Thinking’ for example, strive to make the individual participant a better thinker. Most courses on ‘Marketing’ for example, emphasize individual preferences and selection.

When dealing with groups, leadership styles have been so ineffective that many rely on voting to make critical decisions. The voting method yields bigger numbers but not necessarily higher quality decisions.  In corporate, government, and NGO (ie, non-governmental organizations) cultures, decision-making frequently requires three voices:

The FAST Facilitation Technique is perfect for facilitating complex issues

The FAST Facilitation Technique is perfect for facilitating complex issues

  1. Need identifier
  2. Brand selector
  3. Budget approver

HOLISTIC

The structured FAST facilitation technique is a holistic technique for structuring the input of various and complex perspectives, galvanizing a consensual outcome that everyone will own and support.  With consensus, as opposed to voting, you develop a win-win situation.  The FAST facilitation technique is designed to help you win and it begins by teaching you HOW TO THINK. The curriculum focuses on the tools and method that generate results an entire group will support.

LEADERSHIP

We begin with leadership, defined partially as possessing line-of-site, to know where you are going. If you are going to run a meeting, you first need to know ‘what done looks like.’ Specifically, before any meeting begins, you need to clearly articulate the meeting deliverable (ie be able to describe what success means before your meeting begins). Even a lousy facilitator will succeed when the deliverable has a clear and demonstrable impact on the quality of life of its meeting participants. They will help a poor facilitator get results for their own benefit.

FACILITATIVE

Leaders can be doubly effective when they embrace a facilitative style. This means taking subject matter expertise and putting it in the form of questions rather than answers. The facilitative style is the opposite of control and command, also known as waterfall mentality. Modern leaders appreciate the likelihood that there is more than one right answer, so they seek the best answer given current conditions, from the group they are leading. If the leader already has the answer, they should not have a meeting, as meetings are a very poor form of persuasion.

METHODOLOGY

HOWEVER, even a leader who knows where they are going and what it takes to be facilitative still requires one more skill to be optimally effective. They need to know HOW TO build what done looks like (ie HOW TO build the deliverable). The FAST facilitation technique emphasizes the HOW TO and calls it methodology.

When you take a trip for example, first you need to know WHERE you are going (and of course, WHY you are going there). HOW you get there reflects numerous options and various criteria. For short-distance trips, for example, most of us could take a motorized vehicle, walk, ride a bicycle, etc. FAST facilitation is designed to optimize HOW you get from the meeting introduction to the meeting conclusion, on time and with results everyone will support.

The structured FAST facilitation technique works, and based on alumni feedback, it works great  Read some of the testimonials, including those from recent classes (by our standards, the most important). Everyday we are helping thousands of alumni run more effective meetings, thus helping them exceed personal and project objectives faster than they would have without understanding HOW TO think when dealing with groups of people from various cultures with multiple beliefs and individual values that seem to yield contrary choices and behavior. While not for the faint hearted, you will leave our class inspired, competent, and adding more value than ever for the benefit of your career and your organization.

Building on the FAST facilitation technique, MG RUSH Professional Facilitation has provided the foundation for successful meetings and workshops worldwide by supporting:

  • Application environments such as JAD, OLAP, SAP, SOA, and UML
  • Business agility, analytics, architecture, intelligence, decision-support, and portfolio alignment, and process improvement models
  • Life-cycles such as DMAIC, Kaizen, Lean, RUP, SCRUM, Six Sigma®, SCM, and SDLC
  • Our most popular deliverables that include gap analysis, planning of all sorts, prioritization with six levels of increasing complexity (and appropriate tool for each), and team and project charters
  • Work products such as Daily Scrums, Kick-offs, Logical Models, Product Backlogs, QFD, Requirements Gathering, Retrospectives, Root Cause Analysis, SIPOC, Use-Cases, and User Stories

The FAST facilitation technique refines the governance and ownership of information and decision-making with proven results:

  • Capacity building for nonprofits, NGOs, and management support organizations
  • Clear and traceable assumptions, preferences, and decisions
  • Documented governance and ownership of information and decision-making
  • Fewer omissions resulting in costly changes
  • Up to 400 percent reduction of total resources compared to individual interviews

Primary features of the structured FAST facilitation technique are:

  • Extensive reference manual that covers the life-cycle of facilitated workshops. Topics include facilitator skills, group dynamics, meeting agendas and preparation, project planning, and visual aids.
  • Five-day FAST Professional Facilitation Training—frequently called “THE boot camp” for facilitators, producing some of the finest facilitators in the world.
  • Dozens of hours of practice and daily personal feedback, including five written pages.
  • Commitment to continual updates of our content and improvements. Electronic access to hundreds of templates/ support materials to conduct you own meetings, workshops, and presentations.
  • Availability of continuing professional development through our Advanced Facilitation training that enables experienced facilitators to expand their abilities and continue to grow as facilitators.
  • Continual fine-tuning and improvement of our technique through our own (and alumni) in-field application of FAST facilitation as regular, practical facilitators—we practice what we preach!

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Finally, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on providing methodology. Each student thoroughly practices methodology and tools before class concludes. Additionally, some call this immersion. However, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Become Part of the Solution While You Improve Your Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology Skills

Take a class or forward this to someone who should. MG RUSH Professional Facilitation Training provides an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, 40 CDUs from IIBA, and 3.2 CEUs. As a member of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), our Professional Facilitation. Therefore, our training aligns with IAF Certification Principles and fully prepares alumni for their Certified Professional Facilitator designation.

Furthermore, our Professional Facilitation curriculum immerses students in the responsibilities and dynamics of an effective facilitator and methodologist. Because nobody is smarter than everybody, attend an MG RUSH  Professional Facilitation, Leadership, and Methodology workshop offered around the world, see MG RUSH  for a current schedule.

Go to the Facilitation Training Store to access our in-house resources. You will discover numerous annotated agendas, break timers, and templates. Finally, take a few seconds to buy us a cup of coffee and please SHARE.

In conclusion, we dare you to embrace the will, wisdom, and activities that amplify a facilitative leader.

Facilitation Expert

Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Monthly Facilitation blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

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