Promise & Challenge of Collaboration

The moment you bring diverse stakeholders together, especially if they cross departmental units to include disciplines from Finance, Operations, HR, IT, or to cross sectoral boundaries to include suppliers, customers or community groups, then you can expect your session will require more upfront planning. This is where best facilitation practices help out.

From Partial to System Views

Collaboration: Facilitating Diverse Stakeholder Groups Across Boundaries

You need to solve a problem, improve a process, innovate a new product, plan new directions or brainstorm creative ideas. You are inviting a diversity of people with different expertise, disciplines and experience to collaborate around your purpose to accomplish a unique outcome.

The promise of collaboration is that you’ll achieve superior outcomes through their meaningful engagement - better than if only one or two people with similar backgrounds participated. Beyond this, you know that when you involve people who have a stake in an interest area, they are more likely to support of any decisions or recommendations that are made, and this will greatly increase the chances of implementation success.

Now, if you're working on a project with an intact team to address an emergent issue, you can expect things to go relatively smoothly. Most business-as-usual sessions involve members who share similar common goals and priorities and are used to working together. But you also know from experience that smooth sailing is not always guaranteed.

The moment you bring diverse stakeholders together, especially if they cross departmental units like Finance, Operations, Human Resources, or cross sectoral boundaries to include suppliers, customers or community groups, you'll likely bump into the challenge of collaboration - how to overcome partial views.

Each group member arrives with their inherent set of values, knowledge, skill sets, and different ways of looking at, and making sense of, the world. This diversity is why you are convening them in the first place; you want their views to be considered. At the same time, the promise of collaboration can only be realized when group members learn from others and evolve their initial perspectives to encompass a fuller understanding of the whole system.

Good facilitation is particularly important to achieve this. Facilitation enhances your ability as a group/project leader and professional to guide the work of your diverse stakeholders. With best facilitation practices, techniques, processes, and methods in your toolbox, you can more easily build the collaborative common ground upon which your group can develop more innovative and inclusive answers to your focus question.

Interested in learning more? If you lead collaborative projects and groups, take our free webinar – Facilitate Like A Pro: Go Beyond Discussion on Zoom and Lead Productive Online Group Work.  

Gain Confidence and Skill Facilitating Your Diverse Stakeholder Group

If you're ready to be empowered with practical and powerful facilitation best practices to enhance your stakeholder group work, both online and in-person, then our signature course, Facilitating Online Collaboration is what you're looking for. Here's what a recent graduate said about the program:

"This is the foundational course for facilitators who are new and building their skills, and those that are intermediate in the discipline. It offers a wealth of resources, ways of thinking and structuring thinking that is powerful and grounded. I'm looking forward to applying some of the new tools in the toolkit right away in an upcoming facilitation! - - Laara Archer, Director, In Your Corner

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