Group Facilitators Create Results by Encouraging Attendee Participation

Getting a group of people to work together with the purpose of achieving a common goal is often an obstacle for businesses. Facilitators may be incorporated into a workshop as a way to encourage positive participation in the workplace. Group facilitators help all participants with applying practical skills, problem resolution, and productivity issues. When the goal of a session is to put all these items to better use in future team collaborations, the process is commonly called a facilitated workshop. These sessions are advantageous any time a business is attempting to manage organizational changes.

A facilitation expert is included to remove existing barriers and to assist with goal achievement. Workshops help employees become motivated and create interaction that promotes a productive environment. Working relationships are improved due to the sense of belonging these professionals provide during the process. Many techniques are used throughout the building session to ensure it is a success.

How Do Facilitator Techniques Increase Collaboration?

The techniques applied by facilitators are an attempt to encourage each individual to constructively participate along with the rest of the group. A professional will first identify the objectives to be accomplished through the workshop. Flexibility is important in regards to participant schedules and goal achievement. If the facilitator is too focused on time or rushes into deliberations too quickly, less successful results will follow throughout the session.

Games are a common tool used before a meeting commences because it removes tension from the atmosphere. When individuals have to work together to win a game, they often have an easier time opening up and becoming comfortable around each other. These little breathers also promote teamwork, communication, and compromise.

Complex problem solving where the resolution is broken down into small pieces may be another used technique. Facilitators present the problem on a large scale and then break it into smaller manageable components. A section of the problem is assigned to each group so they can come up with a solution. By removing the intimidation of a big issue, the entire team is able to solve the complex problem. Some participants are not as willing to take part in the workshop. A facilitator typically identifies social unrest to provide additional encouragement to contribute to the group.

Visual tools are another tactic used during the facilitation process. Participant numbers are often limited to ten people because this count ensures all attendees are involved. Techniques vary based on the personal style of the professional and the overall objective of the workshop.

Group facilitatorsmust be self-aware, friendly, communicative, and open to provide needed results. Any business can set up a workshop to improve team work or decision making abilities. Some services provide a program for this type of facilitation designed to include one or many series of workshops. A company can also set up their own event and locate a facilitator to assist with developing a team building or staff enhancement session. Businesses often find these processes to be more rewarding when a qualified professional is used. With a little research, any type of collaborative session should be a success.

Managing Science and Research

Managing science and research requires a unique skill set that are not the same as general management skills required for other types of businesses.  General management theory is applicable to science and research management, but not sufficient to cater for the specific requirements of science and research management.  For that purpose we assume in this article that the reader is already familiar with general management principles and approaches.  Our focus here is to look at the specific requirements of science and research management.

An important aspect is understanding what would constitute good science and how to create an environment that would allow the knowledge generation aspect of science and research to flourish.  Important aspects that differ from general management principles are:

  1. Quality assurance often supersedes the process-focused approach in organization generally.  Especially where the problems are not standard and therefore require unique approaches to be solved, it is very difficult to provide consistent quality assurance and performance indicators.
  2. Science and research management requires a careful balance between investment and creating utility for current use.  Unless a considerable effort is made to constantly invest in more capabilities and growth of existing capabilities, management of science and research finds itself over the medium term with an increasingly stale and unproductive scientific research capability.  This requires a financial management approach that does not optimise for short term profit only, but also caters for the capability building of ongoing the investment.
  3. The people performing the science and research work are usually a scarce commodity, and replacing them require considerable investment of both time and money.  For this reason retention and ongoing development of existing experts needs to be a focus in the business model (this is true for all knowledge-intensive innovative environments).
  4. The work environment need to enable innovative and creative work, and facilitate and value team work.  The performance indicators for these are often difficult to define (they might even be intangible).  But giving attention to them and getting them right for the specific type of science and research work is very important for a successful science and research capability.

In addition to all of this there is the aspect of “managing science where it happens”, namely to ensure the scientific work itself is of a good quality and make the best use of the available capabilities.  Usually this is catered for by the various conventions that scientists and researchers of specific disciplines adhere to professionally.

However, the various sciences have a number of differences and commonalities that make maintaining the scientific rigour when work is done in more than one of the major branches of science very difficult.  For this reasons many research capabilities either restrict themselves to only selected branches of science, or they retain the barriers between the various sciences and never really get to an integrated scientific capability that spans across the boundaries of the sciences.  In the complex and highly connected societies we live in that is becoming an increasingly untenable situation.  We need to be able to integrate the sciences to be able to provide relevant and useful new knowledge, utilising the best that science offers. Using science in an integrated way  unlocks most value in situations like this.  We need to keep in mind that

  • All the sciences share a common goal to search for the “truth”, or “facts”, or “evidence.  This common goal provides the background against which we are able to identify a number of similarities.
  • There are some legitimate differences between the sciences that we cannot remove by forcing one approach on all the branches of science.

Accomplishing this is not easy. However, there are two sets of features that are common to all branches of the sciences.  They can be used in all branches of science to ensure that we are able to integrate our scientific work across the traditional branches of the sciences.  They are

  • The scientific productiveness features:  These are the features of science that facilitate its success in knowledge generation.  Knowledge can be generated in a number of ways, but these science has illustrated over the centuries that where these features are present and used appropriately they facilitate a level of success that is not otherwise possible.
  • The Scientific Capability Features:  These are the features that describe the way to go about knowledge generation utilising the scientific productivity features.

We have used these two for integrated scientific work in a number of cross-disciplinary applications (mostly to solve complex real life problems in strategic management decision making).  They have proven themselves to add value in the rigor, quality and relevance of cross-disciplinary scientific work.

Business Productivity in Relation to Technological Advancement

An entrepreneur starts a business in order to earn a profit by making use of his time, resources and expertise in order to be his own boss. It therefore calls for a businessman to be alert and find ways of improving his business that is if he wants to remain relevant in today’s business environment.

The essence of running a business is to provide the society with products or services while on the other hand the society provides it with an income as they purchase these products or services. It is therefore imperative for a firm to continuously incorporation and embrace new technologies if they are to remain relevant and survive harsh market conditions.

Due to the fast changing world we are currently living in, a business needs to change with the times so as to satisfy the constant changing market trends. This is by adopting new technologies and business methods that will guarantee the continuity of the firm in the current economic conditions.

With modern technology, services are usually offered efficiently and effectively, thereby improving the image of the business. Improvement of the quality of products and services then leads to standardization. Technology has enabled machines to perform work and in uniformity hence give consistent results. Advancement in technology has facilitated in machines’ ability to work faster and for long durations thereby greatly increasing the levels of productivity.

Technology has also greatly contributed to the success of business ventures by enhancing managerial control and simplifying business transactions. Managers in different parts of the globe can now access research findings and use the same to better their managerial skills.

How Facilitation Skills Improve Meeting Productivity

Meetings take up a significant amount of time for employees in small and large organizations alike. At some point, employees at every level of the organization will have to attend a meeting with other employees to obtain information, participate in a brainstorming session, or for a number of other reasons. Yet when employees are in these meetings, they are costing the company money. If these meetings are unproductive, they will cost companies even more money because additional meetings will have to be held down the road. In order to have a good meeting, one needs:

  • Goals that are thoroughly explained and understood
  • A defined strategy for reaching these goals
  • Employees committed to arriving to the meeting prepared and ready to participate
  • A feeling among participants that their thoughts and ideas are valued

When a meeting lacks the qualities outlined above, it will be unsuccessful and the company will need to hold additional meetings. One way to ensure that these qualities are present is by putting an individual with facilitation skills in charge of the meeting. Since many organizations do not provide meetings training for employees, they usually end up having to hire someone from outside the organization to properly plan and run the organizational gathering. Hiring an individual with facilitation skills will prove beneficial before, during, and after the meeting.

Before the Meeting

The hired facilitator begins by meeting with organizational leaders in order to gain background information including specifics about the company, its industry, its goals, and its employees. This individual will also make sure to ask about the purpose of the meeting so that he or she can set goals for what the gathering should accomplish. This is the time when organizational leaders should inform the individual with facilitation skills about all known personality conflicts within the organization, so he or she can address these during the gathering. Once preliminary research is complete, he or she will type up a summary of this information and distribute it to participants before the meeting begins.

During the Meeting

Facilitators effectively oversee the meeting and make sure that all organizational goals for the meeting are met thanks to knowledge acquired through meeting training. He or she encourages member participation by asking questions to spur discussion and by helping shy employees to come out of their shells. Once everyone has had a chance to speak, the facilitator will use facilitation skills to help the group reach a consensus on which every team member has agreed.

Following the Meeting

When an individual with facilitation skills is put in charge, the meeting will be run so smoothly that fewer meetings are necessary in the future. In fact, the facilitator will ask members of each department whether they understand their role in reaching the organization’s objectives. By giving everyone a chance to ask questions before work begins, the organization is able to keep everyone on the same page.

Once an organization is ready to hire an individual with facilitation skills, it should check an online database of facilitators. Ideally, the company should find a facilitator who has completed meetings training.