Facilitation and Collaboration

I watched a “professional facilitator” absolutely waste 16 person-hours. The opportunity made me so mad, it took a while to figure out what I think.
Here’s what I think:
Unless you are working by yourself, you need enthusiastic buy-in from your team to get superior performance.
Taking time to get everyone on board is usually well worth the effort, and has often lifted my results beyond anything I understood when we started.
Facilitation is a set of tools and processes, which have little value unless the facilitator has a strong commitment to a result. Someone showing off their process is entertainment.
A facilitator who has a strong commitment to the results is an important part of the team. A facilitator who has an overriding commitment to facilitation is lost.
She who writes the agenda controls the meeting.
What do you think?
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Chris Poirier

Being a “facilitator” myself I have a few comments on this:

1.) Facilitation is the goal of managing from the middle. Being a “driver” is more goal/mission oriented towards results.

2.) Agenda’s target topics, not results.

So in combining these two concepts we end up pushing for end states in order to gets things moving with the help of a good “driver.” This comes back to your point on commitment. If the person is driving the team towards the goal, constantly remains engaged, and helps others become engaged you all end up at your end point at the same time.

Needlessly put, facilitation is not for those who hold the interest of being everyone’s friend in mind, but more so for those who are focused on the results and helping people get there. The journey will build the bonds of the team if done correctly. This saves time from spinning wheels and getting people on track.

Dick Davies

Well said, Chris! Thank you for commenting.

Best thing I learned from your comment is “managing from the middle.” That would be a really interesting post. I would like to read more.

Thinking about what you said, I am seeing I manage from the customer. I don’t seem to have time to placate a bunch of thinkos. (A thinko is a typo, only in the mind.) And without a clear understanding of customer needs and desires, the project is DOA.

Chris Poirier

I can break this down even further:

It’s not just customer needs and desires, but over all project/program requirements: “what are you trying to accomplish” Too often we walk into meetings and projects without any end state in mind, we’re trying to figure out how to get past the storming stage of an idea before we even know where we are going. So, I post this for consideration: Customer and provider should identify mutual requirements that address the problem and/or stated end goal.

Lead from the front..not the back..middle or side..the front..good requirements, commitment, and drive = results.