Frequently Asked Questions about Facilitators
Click on each question below to show/hide the answer.
Meeting Facilitation (10)
The goal of all facilitators is to make things easier. What sets our high stake meeting facilitators® apart is their ability to ensure a successful outcome for highly important meetings, taking the stress off of you. They help guide the team process, enabling people to understand the issues, reach agreements and plan next steps. Whether the team is planning for the future, solving a problem, improving a process, resolving a conflict or deciding a course of action, our high stakes meeting facilitators® help the team achieve their desired results efficiently, effectively and in the least amount of time required.
There are two types of facilitators: active facilitators and developmental facilitators.
Our active facilitators are usually used for a short term need, such as when a decision needs to be made quickly and a problem needs to be solved. Typically, in active facilitation, our facilitator meets with the team to prepare for the meeting and agree on the outcome. Then, the facilitator actively leads the team through the process to achieve the desired results, allowing the team leader to participate fully in the session.
During team implementation projects, we may start off using active facilitation, gently tapering off our involvement using the developmental facilitation strategy.
Our developmental facilitators use a longer-term strategy where the team learns how to facilitate their own processes. In developmental facilitation, our facilitators spend more time coaching the members on the process, roles, tools and techniques before and after the meeting. This type of facilitation appears much more passive during the actual meeting while the facilitator observes team dynamics and only intervenes in a way that teaches the team members facilitation skills. The end goal of developmental facilitation is for the team to get to the point that they won’t need an outside facilitator anymore.
Kristin is a master facilitator; she not only facilitates all along the continuum from active to developmental facilitation, but she trains others to be facilitators, as well. Our Extraordinary Team focuses on process facilitation and we have a clear and deep understanding of team process, which involves how groups of individuals come together, work together, talk to each other, make decisions and handle conflict.
We have an enormous set of process tools and techniques to help teams achieve their desired results, whatever stage of development they are in and we have a large base of experience to draw from to help the team avoid making errors and missing opportunities.
We believe that your team already knows what to because no one knows the company better than the people who work in it on a daily basis. We have the process and tools to draw it out for you in an efficient, effective and orderly way.
We typically work with mid to senior level managers and executives of medium to large organizations. We work with a wide spectrum of clients, service and manufacturing industries, trade and industry associations, not for profit agencies, government agencies and military organizations.
It’s helpful to know some things like names, acronyms and definitions, but for the most part facilitators focus on the process as opposed to the content. It’s preferable to know just enough about the organization to ask really good questions, provoke thoughts and create a great space for teamwork and agreement.
When Kristin meets with clients for the first time, they generally have an idea of what they want to do and often it’s very conceptual in nature. Kristin starts by asking about the overall goal and every meeting is part of a series of meetings relating to an overall organizational goal. Most meetings have a product, such as an action plan, a list or an agreement.
Then, Kristin and the meeting participants look at the context in the environment to determine which events will have an impact on the meeting. From there, Kristin asks about team rolls. Next, she looks at the environment for the meeting, which is an often overlooked, but important part of the process.
The next step in a planning session is to select a decision strategy, agree upfront how a decision will be made and then agree on a process to achieve the outcome, identifying how the object will be obtained. Participants might brainstorm, review, list, discuss, select or some other process. This is where Kristin provides a lot of value, selecting the most efficient and effective process to achieve the outcome.
Kristin and the participants then build the agenda, which is the deliverable of the planning session. They take all of the previous steps to build the agenda, listing the amount of time, the topic, the process and the leader of each piece of the session.
Many of our clients are surprised at the amount of effort and involvement that’s needed to plan and coordinate the session, but if you remember the adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, you can plan and create an extraordinarily successful session.
An extraordinary team is set up for success with the right people working on an important, meaningful issue with solid support from the sponsors and an agreed upon process to proceed. Additionally, there are several other elements that make it truly extraordinary.
An extraordinary team has a clear vision of the desired result, the team’s purpose, direction and goals. An extraordinary team recognizes the diverse roles and unique contributions that each member brings to the team, both job-related and in other areas, such as organizing, clarifying, creating and team building.
Extraordinary teams also have open and clear communication. We don’t think teams can emphasize communication enough because poor listening, poor speaking and the inability to provide constructive feedback can be major roadblocks to team progress. For success, team members must listen for meaning, speak with clarity, engage in dialogue and discussion and continually provide feedback to each other. In an extraordinary team, people not only talk, but they participate in a meaningful fashion with every individual contributing when appropriate.
There is a feeling of cooperation in an extraordinary team because the members know they need each other’s skills, knowledge and expertise. Extraordinary teams have a positive atmosphere where people are comfortable enough with each other to be creative, take risks and make mistakes; there’s a climate of trust and openness.
Members of the team are committed and involved, which means you’ll hear plenty of laughter, but there will also be conflict. An extraordinary team manages that conflict by confronting the issues rather than confronting other team members. They see conflict as a healthy way to create new ideas and to solve difficult problems. They’re aware of and they use many methods to manage that conflict and arrive at difficult decisions.
Extraordinary teams use various methods to make decisions, such as command decision, expert decision, majority vote, minority control or a command decision with the input depending on the time available, the amount of commitment and resources required.
Finally, the Litmus Test of an extraordinary team is whether the leader is a good coach, teacher and if they share responsibility and the glory. They’re supportive and fair, creating a climate of trust and openness. This leadership role shifts at various times and in the most productive teams, it’s often difficult to identify the leaders during a casual observation.
When you put all these elements together, a clear vision, diverse and shared roles, open and clear communication, cooperation, a positive atmosphere, and effective decision making, and you have a truly extraordinary team.
Kristin works in partnership with her clients and feels very strongly about planning for their success. She believes if she can work in partnership with her clients to identify what’s truly needed and wanted, the actual doing becomes a lot easier. Kristin works with the team leader and the team members to ensure they know what makes up an extraordinary team. There’s clarity and understanding of the issues and we build consensus around courses of action, step-by-step in a series of small decisions or agreements rather than one big bang at the end.
By using a facilitator you have a tremendous opportunity to increase the number of people involved, increase the quality of their ideas, increase their commitment and provide support to the session outcomes and bottom line. Ultimately, you have a much greater possibility that the team’s overall goal will be achieved.
We encourage you to pick up the phone and call The Extraordinary Team. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you and you can expect for Kristin to do a lot of the listening, asking a few questions and sharing with you in a little more detail how we help our clients achieve extraordinary results.
After literally decades of personally participating in these exercises, I was pleasantly surprised at Kristin’s skill in making this off-site one of the best ever. She exceeded all the team goals I set and provided several useful recommendations in her closing remarks and leave behind materials. Kristin is my first choice in the future to help me identify and resolve the challenges associated with any large team building exercise. She has my unqualified recommendation as a facilitator, mentor, and problem solver of the first order.
Garnett Stowe, Vice President, Raytheon Company
It was great to have you and you did a beautiful job teasing out the kernels of the issues and keeping us on task. That just wouldn’t have been possible if one of us had tried to serve in that role!
Tracy Casteuble, VP Research & Education,Healthcare Distribution Management Association