What is FAST, Why you should care, and How FAST Structured Facilitation Technique Can Help You Reach Your Objectives
FAST Structured Facilitation Technique was created for running more effective meetings and workshops that require group input, building consensus, and decision-making quality. You should care if you personally lead meetings, teams, and groups of people because the FAST technique will make you more successful as a leader, facilitator, 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.
Group think is different and much more complicated. When dealing with groups of people, whether its teams or general assemblies, leadership styles have been so ineffective that most 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:
- Need identifier (e.g., Manager)
- Brand selector (e.g., Director)
- Budget approver (e.g., Executive)
FAST is the only known 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. FAST Structured Facilitation is designed to help you win and it begins by teaching you HOW TO THINK, not so much about individual behavior, but through the tools and method that generate results an entire group will support.
Based on extensive research of effective facilitation and many, many hours of intensive field testing of new methodologies, the FAST technique reflects the modern organization: distributed, electronic, multi-cultural, and a heavy emphasis on quality and project management excellence.
Successful meetings 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; describe success 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.
Modern 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.
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 get it done, HOW TO build the deliverable. The FAST structured 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 is designed to optimize HOW you get from the meeting introduction to the meeting conclusion, on time and with results everyone will support.
FAST 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.
YOUR NEXT STEP
To reserve a space, arrange for a private class, or inquire about this and other courses, call us at (630) 954-5882 or Register Now
FAST 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 AGILE, 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 Standups, Kick-offs, Logical Models, Product Backlogs, QFD, Requirements Gathering, Retrospect, Root Cause Analysis, SIPOC, Use-Cases, and User Stories
FAST 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 FAST Professional Facilitation are:
- Extensive reference manual that covers the life-cycle of facilitated workshops including: facilitator skills, group dynamics, managing conflicts, 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 with electronic access to hundreds 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 as regular, practical facilitators—we practice what we preach!