A primary concern in meetings and information gathering activities is getting good information—to build the right product the first time—and to make well-informed decisions. Significant trends show that groups are embedding the role of ‘facilitator’ in the culture and health of modern, especially holistic, organizations. Therefore, take strides to avoid poor facilitation.
“Perversely, organizations with the best human resource departments sometimes have less effective teams. That’s because HR tends to focus on improving individual rather than team behavior.”
— Diane Coutu, HBR, May 2009, pg 99
Group decision-making processes are more prevalent than ever. Intellectual capital is critical to the growth and profit of service organizations. Manufacturers are becoming “infomediaries” and sourcing production based on worldwide, not parochial, views. Innovation determines the future prosperity of most organizations:
Meta-trends Demand Facilitative Leadership
- Cultural modernization—the basic tenets of modern cultures include equality, personal freedom, and individual requirements.
- Economic globalization—in developed economies, where formal institutions sustain order and predictability, consensus is critical to survival.
- Universal connectivity—information technology continues to inundate us with capabilities and the “death of distance”, when we can find what we need.
- Transactional transparency—ubiquitous computing and comprehensive electronic documentation make leaders and decision makers exposed.
- Individual limitations—empirical evidence that groups make higher quality decisions and are better at addressing more difficult or complex challenges.
Problems With Poor Facilitation
Decision-making and information gathering share two problems:
- The first is the communication gap between those who have the information (eg, information technology) and those who need to use it to build something (eg, business community or product development).
- The invariable power struggle between the players involved exacerbates poor facilitation. Egos make building consensus a significant challenge.
Power Struggles With Poor Facilitation
The power struggles between various departments or business units are often the result of language differences. Frequently, power struggles are not intentional but occur because of differing perspectives around the same issue. Reconciliation may be critical to organizational success, particularly for proactive organizations that want to lead change rather than be changed.
Errors & Omissions Through Poor Facilitation
The most effective way to reduce the cost of reaching objectives is to reduce errors and omissions. Groups recall and remember more than individuals and are capable of using their input to create an integrative response. Consensus helps prevent errors, but more importantly, it helps prevent omissions.
Help Needed to Avoid Poor Facilitation
Numerous analytical methodologies, design methodologies, life cycle techniques, etc, have evolved to address errors in the planning and development phase. While methodologies work well in analysis and design, they have not successfully addressed the information gathering necessary to gather effective and timely input.
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.
Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)
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