Facilitators offer strategic guidance on agendas, keep meetings on track by managing personalities, hold group members accountable for staying on topic and take responsibility for accomplishing meeting objectives. Facilitation has a high return on investment when, for example:
- Leadership teams meet to engage in strategic planning
- Staff come together for important discussions
- A group engages with external stakeholders
- Groups need to address underlying conflicts and disagreements
In all these scenarios and many more, the stakes are high. Consider not only the business cost of taking people away from their jobs for even a single day, but also the momentum (or lack thereof) of moving forward.
Will your event get you where you need to go, fall short, or worse, set you back? What do you stand to lose if that time is viewed as a waste, or if it is experienced as frustrating and ineffective? On the other hand, what will you gain from a productive, invigorating meeting that is viewed as a great success?
It is worth far more than the cost of a facilitator to ensure that the time and resources invested in group meetings and retreats have long-term benefits. An external facilitator is able to:
- Help leaders identify clear and realistic objectives for a group meeting or retreat;
- Quickly learn relevant contextual details;
- Create a safe, open atmosphere;
- Gain the trust of individual group members;
- Engage various personalities;
- Deal effectively with resistance;
- Keep participants focused on meeting objectives; and ultimately to
- Ensure that time invested in meetings and retreats is productive.
Many leaders feel it’s their responsibility to be their own group facilitator. The wisest leaders, however, recognize that an external, expert facilitator is often critical to success. Do you have an event that may benefit from an external facilitator? Let’s talk.