Teams get things done, and helping teams be clear on their role, how they behave, what they value, how they make decisions, and what success looks like is critical to creating an empowering culture.
What is the role of a workshop or retreat facilitator?
Effective facilitated workshops are an area I thoroughly enjoy. It provides a robust method to enable your teams to;
- encourage conversations
- feel safe to freely express their ideas
- constructively challenge or support individuals
- help functional groups to perform at their maximum level
- uncover ideas that management may not have considered yet
A key component of facilitation is getting individuals out of their day-to-day activity so they can think at a different level.
What is the benefit of a workshop with a facilitator?
Getting teams comfortable is key to an effective workshop, as within an organisation or at a community level, most people will fall into hierarchical structures that may limit their ability to contribute, be honest or bring new ideas to the group.
Seeing people as individuals as much as members of the group is key in helping groups work together to deliver tangible outcomes. Good facilitatory structures help build products that can be directly consumed or picked up after the workshop has finished, or deliver clear next steps or actions to help continue the resolution or the exploration of relevant issues.
Some of the benefits of having a facilitator can be;
- To have an external and unbiased person to guide the discussions with their neutral approach. This can help build trust, maintain balance in all the conversations, and where needed, keep management and leadership teams independence from the process
- A focus on the workshop being able to meet its objectives and deliver tangible and actionable outputs
- Give all participants an equal voice no matter their role and to have a range of diverse perspectives shared which can build empathy and understanding across the team
- To help improve potentially toxic environments where there is distrust, conflict or lack of harmony
- To foster shared and collaborative decision making processes to drive ownership across the team
- Where there are difficult business problems that need resolving that require a balance of strategy and operational prowess
What outcomes can a workshop facilitator help deliver?
An experienced workshop facilitator will understand their role very clearly and they can use team facilitation sessions to deliver really clear business outcomes such as;
I use team facilitation to:
What styles of workshop facilitation can be delivered?
- On-site workshops; using a traditional meeting, conference or boardroom
- Off-site workshops; using meeting rooms and facilities at different venues such as a hotel, business retreat, conference facility or local club
- Online workshops; using video conferencing facilities or online platform such as Zoom, Teams or Skype
- Leadership retreats; executive, board or management retreats to support strategy, direction or vision development or evaluation
- Operational debriefs; to support review of programs, projects, incidents, events or scenario planning
- Movement based events and conferences; such as planning and team workshops combined with nature experiences and outdoor facilitated discussions
I also specialise in nature-based workshop facilitations where it allows teams to set aside their day-to-day workloads and focus all their attention on the core problem or issues they need to work on. It’s done in an environment that is conducive to being more open minded with fresh air and space.
Creating the space to have those conversations is a blend of facilitatory technique and the physical space you are in.
Taking people out of their traditional space, immersing them in a different, more natural setting, can help individuals shed some of the ties that hold them in their traditional ways of thinking and working.
What is the type of framework applied to a workshop?
Every scenario will be different, I will work with you to design, construct and deliver a workshop around the goals you’d like to achieve, this includes working out the ideal location or best online approach where we can’t get your people or stakeholders together.
Being clear on what success looks like, what happens next, the experience you wish to create, or the role you want to play is key to designing and delivering an effective workshop or session
When thinking about your needs, we would discuss:
What you are seeking to facilitate such as a;
- discussion / meeting / planning day / off-site / community meeting / board or executive get together
The people you want to be included, be that a;
- unit / area / team / directorate / branch / committee / advisory group / stakeholder group
What the workshop relates to and aims to achieve, such as a;
- Product: explore / develop / plan / assist / create / support
- Situation: resolve / unpack / unblock / progress / share / learn from / review / debrief / connect / identify next steps
- Decision: get agreement on / seek levels of support for / reach consensus on / set the scope for decision making around
- Data Collect and input: feedback / insights / gain an understanding of / consult /
- Inform or educate: convey / communicate / impart / convince / encourage / educate