Today, I would like to tell you what facilitation means to me. It’s a concept that I really like because its main concern is foremost human beings in the workplace. I am a facilitator because I like to support people, help them consider other perspectives, and make them feel happy in their work. All of this, while pursuing the objectives of their teams or of the organization they are working for. That is, help with human and business growth!
That’s pretty interesting, but what does a facilitator do exactly? What would be the gains for your organization to have people with facilitation skills?
Let me tell you what my daily work consists in. First of all, my role as a facilitator is to support individuals and teams. I help them improve their communications and discussions, resulting in richer and more dynamic exchanges. How do I proceed? First, I must understand their intention well. In other words, their objective. If they don’t know what their intention is, I help them discover it. Once this foundation is well established, my mission is to assist them in fulfilling their intention.
To succeed, I do my best to encourage communication within the team. I highlight the team members’ common opinions and I also point out conflicts and differences of opinion. Why? Because there is great richness in divergence: instead of focusing on a single idea, the team can assess many and eventually find the best solution. By not wanting to upset anyone and agreeing right from the beginning, people can leave out innovative solutions that could only emerge when team members freely express their points of view, as different as they may be. Of course, it is not easy to disagree. And my role is to ensure the team is in a secure place where everyone can express themselves, even those for whom it is more difficult.
Another article on facilitation: read Dave‘s post entitled “Facilitating your organization”.
Easy to say, isn’t it? Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of tools to do it. For example, I lead people to appreciate perspectives that are different from theirs. Generally speaking, people are able to take a step back when it is about themselves. However, when it comes to going to a different level, it’s more difficult. Understanding how the other person thinks can help resolve conflicts and ease tensions. Ultimately, people are more adaptable and more capable of facing uncertainty and complexity than we think. In today’s modern world, where things change quickly, it’s undoubtedly an asset! And, as a bonus, it often allows people to be happier at work, resulting in improved retention of top talents, greater commitment to the project or organization, and increased productivity. Thus, it’s beneficial to everyone!
For instance, when people succeed in taking into account the perspective of another team or top management, new opportunities arise! That is how I begin my work as a facilitator in order to mitigate, or even reverse, the effect of the much-touted organizational silos.
And what is great, is that these principles can be applied at a larger scale; that is, organizational facilitation. I can help teams improve their communications with one another. Then, instead of having two rival teams, each sticking to their own ideas, we find ourselves with two teams that are collaborating and helping with fulfilling the company’s intention, and even more. Think of those who are working at NASA and who are asserting that they are all serving one objective, which is bigger than themselves… You know the story of NASA’s janitor who was saying that his job was to help put a man on the moon. That is quite a perspective!
Don’t worry, my job is not only to make others work. I also have to constantly develop myself in order to remain effective. With a greater presence and a better understanding of myself, I can better support teams. Am I always entirely neutral? Who can pretend to be? However, I must be aware of my feelings in order to do a better job. I must be present, listening, and I must show compassion when a team member experiences a particular emotional turmoil. I must understand the different contexts in which the team can be. Beginning of a project, delivery date coming soon, other particular stress…
Facilitation is a job that I find extremely satisfying and rewarding. I am happy to help companies achieve their objectives, to help teams develop their skills in order to become more efficient, and to help people be happier at work.
What do you think? Does it challenge you? Do you feel like improving your communications at work? Feel free to contact us…