The facilitator's job is to support everyone to do their best thinking.
In today’s complex, global organizations it seems impossible to get people in one place at the same time.
And yet, given the pace and demands of modern business, leaving big decisions to a Slack chat, an email thread or a 70-page presentation deck is a huge source of risk.
What are the chances that everyone on a conference call clearly understands a new process or initiative?
Are they fully engaged in the discussion as opposed to checking their email, Slack or playing games on their phone?
As challenging as it is to organize everyone’s schedules, it’s more important than ever to get people in the same room in order to get them on the same page. Once they're together, it's critical to keep engagement high and to maintain focus on solving problems together.
A professional facilitator not only brings expertise in guiding conversations, but a neutral perspective that is free from self interest and biases.
Changing the way people gather
If you’re going to invest thousands of dollars in facilitation services, you want to be sure of the value of those services.
Clients rely on us to help them solve a wide range of problems. In our experience working across different industries, the following challenges have been particularly common...
Deadlines whooshing by:
The deadline is continually being pushed out. The direction and strategy keeps changing. The team seems to be misaligned on priorities. There is cross-functional confusion throughout the organization. Facilitators are experts at bringing teams together. They guide those teams toward faster decision-making and accelerate progress on projects that are stuck.
Intense work situations are often charged with conflicting emotions and strong points of view. In the most highly-charged meetings, an outside facilitator provides an unbiased perspective that acknowledges these emotions while effectively channelling the brunt of the conflict into productive activity to solve problems. Often, internal teams are too deeply tied to their perspectives to be able to do this themselves.
The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing:
When different messages are coming from leaders, organizational progress slows until this confusion is resolved. This situation is costly both due to a lack of progress and a loss of momentum. Leaders and their teams need to be aligned. The only way to get things resolved swiftly is to bring these groups together, figure out where the confusion lies, and get them all on the same page.
Lack of commitment to decisions:
Leaders often find themselves communicating out changes in strategy or internal processes only to be faced with an organization where adoption of those changes is slow or non-existent. People support what they help build, so inviting your staff into a facilitated session enables them to craft and co-create decisions and solutions they believe in. Your team can be wildly effective by bringing the right people into a facilitated process at the right time.
PeopleStorming designed and facilitated our company sales and marketing offsite. We're a remote company, so we really wanted to make the most of our time together and come away with clear deliverables from the meeting. Rachel really kept us on track, and made sure all decisions and parking lot items were recorded. As a result, there was never a sense that something was "decided" but then lost, never to return to it again, and there was no derailing due to off topics, but rather an efficient use of the parking lot. Rachel is an excellent facilitator and very perceptive - she could immediately tell if and when we were going off on a tangent.
Anna - Sensu
Rachel is an excellent facilitator. She is incredible at gathering information, prepping with purpose, and creating an environment around the toughest issues that is healthy and constructive. Rachel uses organizational improv in an innovative way to solve complex cultural problems. I have seen her push the envelope in terms of traditional facilitation and helping teams think about their retrospectives in new and interesting ways. Rachel gets to the core of the issue easily because she's able to process and parse another persons message quickly and effectively through active listening.
Zach - Riot Games
I've been through these kinds of trainings before and am rarely pleased with the outcome. This was different. I'm not sure what magic y'all brought to the table but people felt comfortable and ready to share and connect in that way that makes all the difference in the world.
I feel more personally connected to several members of my team in the "other" office. I think that's going to really change the dynamic of the team. The two days we would have spent closing tickets or clicking buttons (doing design work) wouldn't have been nearly as valuable as the past 36 hours.
Casey H. - Indeed
I like how you started off our workshop with a series of activities both fun and professionally related - that forced people to be active. This prevented anyone from stagnating in a way we see in many meetings.
I thought it was really smart when you swapped people between groups working on a mission statement. This created a scenario where both groups walked into the alignment phase partially bought in to both of the mission statements proposed.