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When you facilitate alignment, you help groups identify gaps, omissions, overkill, and to confirm the appropriateness and balance of their action plan.

How to Facilitate Alignment and Confirm Balance

Facilitate Alignment, an Illustration

Rationale to Facilitate Alignment

Building consensus around alignment can be very challenging, especially if you facilitate exclusively in the narrative world (ie, written words). Therefore, MG RUSH suggests the use of icons (see PowerBalls) that are both appropriate and powerful to help you facilitate alignment.

Method to Facilitate Alignment

First of all, create a matrix with your options (eg, actions) and the targets (eg, goals). Common items that may be aligned include the comparison of strategies to objectives. To facilitate alignment, consider these three steps:

  1. First complete the matrix with a linear approach, but be careful to always ask the open-ended question, “To what extent does ‘x’ (ie, option, action, or strategy) support ‘y’ (ie, target, goal, or objective) ?”
  2. Having defined the PowerBalls (preferably with a legend that is visible throughout the activity for your participants to reference), label each cell with either a high, low, or moderate PowerBall symbol, indicating the extent to which the option supports the target.
  3. While completing the matrix, ask the group to confirm completeness. Add anything missing or modify as required (i.e., Create a new option or calibrate an existing option).

Note: Since the solid balls indicate high and the empty circles indicate low, the half-filled balls indicate moderate. We like to define High as mandatory, “must have at any price.” We define Low as “would like to have but not willing to pay extra.”  The stuff in between is Moderate, the stuff for which we would be willing to “pay a reasonable amount.”  The equivalent to the MoSCoW tool would be: Must have, Should have, Could have, and Won’t have (null).

For seasoned professionals and alumni, consider using the Book-end method to equal dispersion after you complete your initial baseline analysis.

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Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

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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 Facilitation Best Practices 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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