facilitator is the consummate teacher. He or she is called on to
teach when it is needed the most—at the point of application. The
setting is usually the team meeting, and the lesson taught is
whatever is required by the team either to help them begin a task or
to redirect them when they are struggling. Often these minilessons
are a review of important guidelines or aspects to remember before
utilizing a method or tool. Other times the facilitator will be
teaching the team a new technique that will help them. The team may
be confused about what the next step should be in the
problem-solving process. The facilitator will help them by becoming
a teacher and showing them where they are in the process and go over
the next steps. When you think about it, the facilitator is a
teacher most of the time. The ongoing interventions the facilitator
uses with the team are all teachable moments. The team learns from
the interventions. Over a period of time as the team learns and
develops, they will begin to practice more of what they have learned
on their own, and the facilitator's role should decrease.
To be effective,
facilitators need to have a good understanding of a few core tools,
techniques, and methods that are commonly used to help teams
tool for generating a large number of ideas in a short period of
time. Brainstorming depends on the team's discipline to guidelines:
• No discussion of
any kind during the session.
• All ideas are recorded where all can see.
• Wild ideas are welcome.
• The session will have a time limit or a goal of a certain number
• Don't evaluate ideas in your mind.
• All ideas will be shared.
• Quantity is the goal.
Decision-Making: a decision-making process that takes each member's
opinion into account and results in a decision that everyone can
live with and support. Consensus decision making depends on the
team's discipline to guidelines:
• Avoid arguing
your own point of view. Make your idea clearly understood, then
• Carefully listen to others information to be persuaded.
• Look for a compromise.
• Trust the team to evaluate your ideas fairly.
• Never criticize others or their ideas.
• Always allow enough time to gain consensus on important
• Use consensus language that will help lessen the conflict and
facilitate the process.
Methodology: the step-by-step method of working your way to a
solution to a problem. The problem-solving process depends on the
team's discipline to the logical thinking process:
• Define the problem (where? when? how often? who?).
• Determine the cause (why?).
• Determine the solution and implement.
• Evaluate the results.
technique used to reduce a large list or to prioritize a list of
items. There are a few methods the team can use to multi-vote but
all involve a voting input from each of the members. There are three
• Each item is
voted on (one vote per person per item). Items voted for by half or
more members will remain on the list for further discussion. The
others are eliminated.
• Members assign a numerical value (0-5) to each of the ideas. The
values are added together and the items are rank ordered.
• Each member has three votes (or as many as the team decides) and
can put one vote on each of the items they prefer. The votes are
then tallied and the high numbers are prioritized.
ARE MADE—NOT BORN!
As in the
dictionary's definition, the facilitator's job is to "make" the
team's work "easy." He or she accomplishes this by learning certain
skills and then uses them to become proficient. If a person has a
positive attitude, respect for others, a desire to lead, patience,
and a sense of humor, then that person need only P.O.I.N.T. his or
her way to successful facilitating.