Standing in the Fire

When Facilitating Complex Group Dynamics: The Main Thing is Not to Panic!

stand in fireYou’ve been hired to facilitate a meeting involving a diverse group of people whose ideas, specialized knowledge, expertise, alignment and/or support are needed for an important outcome. Yet the diversity inherent in that cross-functional group, inter-disciplinary project team, organization-wide planning session, or multi-stakeholder meeting is a potential source of complex group dynamics.

What can you do to minimize the possibility of group dynamics disrupting productive work? Continue reading “Standing in the Fire”

Facilitating Complex Sessions

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Seeking to become a more agile and professional facilitator? 

Perhaps you are assisting a group over time to resolve issues, generate new directions, improve team performance or develop innovative solutions. What can you expect as you scope out and design more complex facilitated sessions?

MORE COMPLEXITY:  Usually a greater diversity of perspectives and views must be considered, balanced and reconciled, before it is possible to generate consensus and commitment. You’ll need to design processes to build mutual understanding between partial views.

HIGHER STAKES: The outcomes of such meetings matter to the organization’s goals. Success is important, and so is the downside of not succeeding. Make sure your pre-session scoping is rigorous and involves more than just your client.

DESIGN MATTERS: Your facilitation must rely on a thoughtful process to help the group achieve desired outcomes. It is essential for you to have the right process framework to follow, and to know where you are in the process. There is a sequence to what questions must be answered before other work can be tackled.  Professional facilitators invest as much as 2-4 hours in design work for every hour of facilitated group process.

LONGER MEETINGS: As a result of all the above, more time is needed to achieve desired outcomes, extending to several days, and sometimes weeks and months.  Having an expanded facilitation toolkit is essential to your nimbleness and ability to keep sessions productive, and participants engaged and energized.