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Team Facilitation Skills
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The team 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 mini-lessons 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 succeed.

Brainstorming: the 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 of ideas.
• Don't evaluate ideas in your mind.
• All ideas will be shared.
• Quantity is the goal.

Consensus 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 release ownership.
• 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 deci­sions.
• Use consensus language that will help lessen the conflict and facili­tate the process.

Problem-Solving 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.

Multi-Voting: the 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 common methods:

• 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.

GOOD FACILITATORS 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.

To Be Continued

Part 1  Part 2   Part 3  Part 4  Part 5  Part 6  Part 7  Part 8


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