We are all feeling it: the pressure to build smart, innovative organizations. How do leaders and their organizations craft a learning organization? By creating safe and involving environments where people can identify and solve problems, plan together, make collaborative decisions, resolve their own conflicts and self-manage as responsible adults. Facilitative mind and skill sets are essential ingredients to making real a learning organization.
What is a facilitator?
The facilitator’s job is to support everyone to do their best thinking. They create an environment where everyone is encouraged to participate, understand one another’s point of view and share responsibility. In doing so, a facilitator helps group members look for elegant solutions and build sustainable agreements.
Some groups have little need for this kind of help. For example, those whose meetings are largely information sharing, announcements and reports. Or groups who meet regularly for routine decisions about standard problems like scheduling. Those kinds of issues can be handled without much need for facilitation.
What about more difficult challenges groups face? For example, a product-launching group consisting of design, marketing, manufacturing and customer service. Despite a common goal of increased sales, their frames of reference are very different. What seems reasonable to one may place too many demands on another. And interpersonal communication styles are likely to be quite different as well. What’s the likelihood that the group will survive the push-pull of their group work?
Groups face other issues as well including clarifying roles for projects that have not been done before, resolving high-stakes conflicts, etc. In situations like these, groups will make better decisions if they embrace a facilitative mind and skill set to support them to do their best thinking.
To what extent does a facilitative mind set exist in YOUR organization?
~Melissa Smith, Managing Partner, The Training Clinic www.thetrainingclinic.com