The Role of Facilitation in Collaborative Groups

Introductory Session

There has been a lot of talk about collaboration, group facilitation, and generally, improving the way we work together among ourselves and with others.  Is this an important direction for us? If so, what are some specific steps we should take to move that way?  This session will seek to answer these and other questions, such as:

Why is "collaboration" receiving increasing attention in IT organizations?

How is "working collaboratively" different from other ways of working?

Would your organization benefit from working more collaboratively?

What is the role of a facilitator in a collaborative group?

Group Facilitation

Essential Skills for Managers, Team Leaders and Change Agents

To address today's complex issues individuals and organizations with diverse perspectives must come together to create a shared understanding and develop consensus solutions.  How can you help your group members work together more effectively?  Group facilitation is a core competency for managers, team leaders and change agents.  In this workshop you'll spend most of your time practicing basic group facilitation skills that will enable you to work with a group to elicit, clarify, analyze, and evaluate ideas. These skills are basic to working with any group: ongoing, single-organization teams (e.g. executive teams, work groups) as well as ad-hoc groups that include representation from multiple parties (e.g., expert panels, task forces, commissions, round tables).  You'll gain an understanding of the role of a group facilitator, how to prepare for meetings, and how to select and arrange the meeting space.

In this workshop you will practice:

Interacting with a group in the role of group facilitator

Eliciting ideas and information from groups

Conducting the six-step Nominal Group Technique (NGT)
(silent generation of ideas, round-robin recording, serial clarification, preliminary vote, discussion, final vote)

In this workshop you will learn:

Definitions of basic group facilitation terms

What is facilitative leadership and the goals and roles of the facilitator

What it means for a facilitator to be neutral, impartial, or disengaged

Why "brainstorming" is a weak method for generating ideas, and what's better

How to clarify a group's problem or purpose

The role of the sponsor, convener, participant, stakeholder, and content expert.

A Sample Content Outline

Understand the Role of the Facilitator

The differences in the roles of facilitator, participant, and other roles in the decision making process

The role of meetings in the context of decision making

How the facilitator can support the social, cognitive, and political processes that occur in group decision making

Build a Conceptual Basis for Acting as a Facilitator

What a facilitator does: Detect, Reflect, Effect

Goals of facilitation: Participation, Adaptability, Efficiency, Accountability

Develop Facilitation Skills

Practice facilitation skills using Nominal Group Technique

Receive feedback from other course participants and instructor

Develop observation and feedback skills

Individual skill development exercises for using a flip-chart