Human Resources and Learning & Development departments make up the heart of every successful organization.  Not only do they influence every business unit in the group, but more and more they are being brought to the table when it comes to strategically moving the business forward.

Balancing it all can be challenging: from trying to determine the right needs for your business units, to developing and maintaining trusting relationships, to keeping your own supervisors satisfied with your efforts.

Here are just a few challenges you may be hearing in your organization:

IT – “We have bad meetings. Our technical people and business analysts do not speak the same language as our users, and the constant back-and-forth delays delivery.”

Project Management – “I’m a certified PMP and can manage projects without a problem, but I have difficulty managing expectations and getting team members on board.”

Continuous Improvement – “In order for us to actually implement, we need to get buy-in, which is tough.”

Finance – “We’re skilled with numbers, but my people need to improve their communication skills during meetings.”

Senior Management – “We have a great plan; I just can’t get my team moving in the same direction to implement it.”

How do you solve the unique challenges of this diverse group? Consider introducing facilitation skills to everyone in your organization.

Facilitation is a powerful tool for reaching better decisions, often faster, with much higher levels of buy-in and commitment.  Better decisions are reached because a diversity of views are  openly shared and considered, and it’s often done faster because the facilitation process promotes productive and efficient communication.  Much higher levels of buy-in and commitment can be achieved because, through facilitation, those impacted by the decisions are involved in creating them.

The more people in an organization who understand and are skilled at facilitation, the more productive and effective an organization can be. Facilitation is key in leading people, managing teams, creating strategy, defining project scope, running meetings, and more..

Here are 10 of the most important ways facilitation can help your business units, and raise your value in your organization, making you a hero:

1) Deliver Training with Energy and Higher Learning Transfer
Teaching your trainers to use the same powerful engagement strategies used in group facilitation to create buy-in in the training room can powerfully increase the results of group learning.

2) Have On-time Project Delivery
Missing deadlines is a major problem across all industries.  It leads to increased project cost, loss of credibility and lack of trust from senior management and clients.  Taking a facilitative approach to project management not only helps define needs, but it also helps communicate the scope of the project across channels and help set and manage accurate expectations.

3) Get Action Plans Actually Implemented
One of the biggest challenges with any kind of planning is the risk of the plan sitting on a shelf and not turning into action.  Using facilitated action plan review sessions on a monthly or quarterly basis can result in better execution and implementation.

4)  Properly Define Needs and Scope
Whether you’re talking internal or external consulting, facilitated sessions with all stakeholders in the room can lead to better understanding and stronger consensus of what needs to be done, where, when and how. Set the course for smooth projects that have better results by taking a facilitative approach to uncovering needs and accurately defining the scope of work.

5) Conduct Better Meetings, Both In-person and Virtually
Through facilitation, meeting leaders will have a purpose, product and process for every meeting.  They will have the skills for engaging from the starting, gaining consensus, keeping people focused and addressing the dysfunctional behaviors that far too often derail meetings. And the same facilitation principles that apply to in-person meetings can be adapted to make virtual meetings just as productive, including strategies to deal with distractions and multi-tasking.

6) Set Effective and Productive Goals
By using the Drivers Model in your planning, you can more easily, efficiently and effectively identify the right goals and objectives to get you where you need to be.

7) Master the Strategic Planning Process
Strategic planning teams often waste time arguing over terminology and using methods designed for two people arguing in a smoke-filled room rather than processes that engage people and inspire them to creative solutions. When your strategy team experiences a well-facilitated, well-designed strategy process that isolates issues and builds consensus around solutions that work, you will be the hero.

8) Manage internal and external relationships better
A key aspect of facilitation is improving a person’s ability to listen and ask questions that lead to working together for common solutions, rather than trying to dictate and control. Better communications yield better relationships both inside and outside the organization.

9) Build Consensus and Buy-in
You can achieve more effective results when solutions are created, understood and accepted by the people impacted.  Engagement leads to buy-in and consensus, and facilitation is the vehicle for achieving all three. The strength of consensus is that it encourages listening that can result in creative solutions that meet key needs and gain the support of all.

10) Improve Employee Engagement
When the executive team, mid-level managers, supervisors and individual contributors all understand and are employing the power of facilitation, the result is a culture where people feel valued and that their input can make a difference.  That means much higher levels of engagement and satisfaction, which research has shown, yields a better bottom line.

Become the Hero by equipping your organization for facilitation! Consider these steps.

  • Raise awareness of facilitation and provide a foundation understanding by hosting a 90-minute webinar, “An Introduction to Facilitating Groups” open to everyone in your organization.
  • Increase the skills for managers and individual contributors by providing an on-site facilitation skills training course.
  • Include public facilitation training classes in your on-line course directory.
  • Create an internal cadre of trained facilitators who are permitted to spend two- or three-days a month facilitating important meetings in other departments throughout the organization.
  • Ensure your trainers have the skills they need by providing a facilitation skills building course aimed specific at trainers.
  • Role model effective facilitation by using facilitated sessions for strategy and other important meetings inside your department and encourage others to do likewise.