Facilitation

“Facilitators, like leaders, have an opportunity to play a special role
to inspire, direct and structure participation among people.”

— Fran Rees

 

Why Facilitation Matters

Teams are the core of organizations. Good teams help a company soar. Bad teams kill growth and morale.

Most groups face challenges from unclear roles, differing communication styles, uneven teamwork skills, and inexperienced leadership. Effective teams can overcome these with a skilled facilitator.

Where It Helps

  • Executive retreats
  • Strategy formulation
  • Business model development
  • Project planning
  • CEO group sessions
  • Board & governance
  • Team building
  • Staff projects

How It Works

By understanding individual and group behavior and interactions, a facilitator helps a group make decisions, function effectively and achieve its goals. A facilitator provides independence and objectivity in addition to process skills to do what a group often cannot do by itself. A great facilitator leaves the group better able to function more effectively on its own in the future.

We work with a client to understand the organization, its values, specific outcomes desired, group dynamics, and the history of how this issue has been addressed. We mutually define desired outcomes and the required information, participants, setting, and schedule.

Although consultant and facilitator roles must always be separate, ROM’s broad experience in a range of disciplines and industries gives important insight into the perspective and attitudes of how different organizations and individuals think and interact.

Mark Haas facilitates USASA Strategy Session

Facilitation Case Studies

(click title for details)

CEO Strategy Session

Client Need: CEOs in the training and development industry sought to explore opportunities to improve the industry and their competitiveness without breaching confidentiality. Participants ranged from newer, small companies to the established leaders in the industry.

ROM Contribution: Facilitated discussion of issues facing individuals and explored how each company could develop competitive products and simultaneously advance the interests of the training industry. Maintained discussion at a level that permitted newer company CEOs to contribute to generation of ideas and maintain the interest in the discussion of the older, larger companies.

New Board Development

Client Need: A new board was convened for a new type of financial company and board members needed to get acquainted, develop working relationships and quickly construct a vision, mission and strategy for the startup. A key concern was that the strong personality of the CEO would discourage open discussion and suppress creativity in an innovative type of company.

ROM Contribution: Designed a two-day session to create personal relationships, build trust, and elicit preferences and possibilities from company executives without suppressing enthusiasm and creativity. Interviewed every board member prior to the session to establish a personal connection (since most board members did not know each other) and stimulate their creativity in advance of the session. Worked the board through processes to think broadly about possibilities without conforming to traditional ways of looking at vision, mission, values, etc. Session produced a board with solid personal relationships and a shared, enthusiastic vision and strategy for this new company.

US Military WWIV Strategy Development

Client Need:  A group of military strategists, headed by prominent leader of the US War College, were devising an approach to move beyond traditional orientation of past world wars- WWI (chemist), WWII (physicist), WWIII (information specialist) to a new strategy – Cognitive Dominance – based on control of political outcomes and intuitive vs. hierarchical decisionmaking in military operations. They needed to sort out what was possible, what capabilities were needed and how to implement such a strategy.

ROM Contribution: Facilitated development of approaches to training warfighters and support personnel in intuitive decisionmaking, including addressing options for training both at service academies, in the field and for evaluation and coordination of effective warfighting. Managed session to maintain progress in an ill-defined objective and contentious group and keep passionate factions from dominating the conversation.

STEM Strategy

Client Need: The US Navy Office of Naval Research is committed to improving the STEM capabilities of its personnel as well as K-12 students. As part of its first Naval STEM Forum, it asked ROM to facilitate a group of 200 educators to develop a strategy that the Navy could best support the nation’s schools. ROM was one of several facilitators addressing education, training and on the job STEM training.

ROM Contribution: We worked with Naval personnel and leading national STEM educators and technology association executives to design a facilitated session for K-12 teachers that was engaging, efficient and productive. The sessions were lively and resulted in a powerful set of recommendations that the Navy used to fund and facilitate STEM programs in schools across the country. In response to the success of this session, Mark Haas was asked to summarize all facilitated sessions and provide comments to close the Forum (following Bill Nye) on the last day.

Response to Nuclear Terrorism

Client Need: The US Coast Guard, as part of the National Maritime Recovery Symposium, assembled public, private and institutional sector stakeholders to understand the impacts of, and determine how best to recover from, a terrorist improvised nuclear device set off in the port Long Beach. Participants incuded unions, commercial supply chain managers, homeland security administrators, and representatives from transportation, communication, medical, legal and other disciplines and industries.

ROM Contribution: As one of the three expert facilitatorsfor this multi-day exercise, facilitated the data collection, analysis and strategizing of a coordinated response. Session management required keeping all participants, man of whom were key national figures from their institutions, engaged and balanced in their contributions and takeaways for thier sectors.

Facilitation of Global Technology Strategy

Client Need: The US Navy Office of Naval Research Global provides worldwide science & technology (S&T)-based solutions for current and future naval challenges. More than 50 scientists, technologists and engineers on five continents,  are engaged in the global technical community and the operational fleet/force commands to foster cooperation to bring the full range of possibilities to the Navy and Marine Corps. ONRG annually convenes a Global Technical Meting with these experts from around the world to hear from leadership, set priorities, and improve operations.

ROM Contribution: With only a few weeks to prepare, ROM worked with ONRG Technical Director, Commanding Officer and Operations Director to design a facilitated Global Technical Meeting to bring these scientists and technologists together and move them through a process to define how best to meet the technology news of fleet/forces of the Navy and MarineCorps. The session concluded with a briefing by the Vice Chair of Operations of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Resources You Can Use

  • The Role of the Facilitator (UVa)
  • Stages of Group Development (coming Fall 2016)
  • Template for Facilitator Playbook (coming Fall 2016)
  • Tips on Selecting a Facilitator (coming Fall 2016)

Better functioning teams can improve morale,
customer service and value growth.

What Our Clients Say

  • I thought that you handled the difficult task of mediating between the CPC and the board with extraordinary delicacy and effectiveness. Most impressive.

    Board Chair
  • You did a terrific job getting a diverse and independent group to agree on some important issues. It was a pleasure to see you in action.

    Executive of a Credit Union Association
  • Mark, I thought you did an exceptional job with a group that had difficulty understanding its past, present, and future. I loved your frequent comment “Do we have 80% of what there is.” That certainly moved things along. I believe we have a great start. […] will move things along and as a result the Council Forum will become much more productive. Thanks for a great job.

    Executive Director of a Finance Company