How Can a Facilitator Maximize Your Planning?

As you think about your team’s performance goals for 2020, have you blocked out time for strategic planning?  Whether this happens in a one-day session or a full-blown offsite retreat, there are some very real benefits to having a third party facilitator lead the planning process.  Consider the following:

  • You’re free to participate. When someone else is running the meetings, it frees you up to be fully present in the discussions. The facilitator will worry about agendas, schedules, and group dynamics, and you’ll be available to bring you best thinking, undistracted.

  • Speaking with candor. A third party has no stake in internal politics or pet projects, so they can say the tough things when needed. I tell my clients, “If I don’t ruffle your feathers at some point, I’m not doing my job.” That might include calling out rude behavior, or pushing the team out of their comfort zone.

  • They know what works. A skilled facilitator has done this before. They’ve encountered all types of personalities and group dynamics. They know which exercises produce results and which are a waste of time. And they know how to pace the sessions, infuse variety and team-building exercises, and get you “unstuck” when things break down.

  • New ideas and approaches. Your team is entrenched in solving specific problems and driving productivity. But sometimes, their intense focus is limiting. An outsider can bring a fundamental shift in your approach, opening up new ways of thinking and giving a perspective that you may not have considered before.

  • External validation. You may be pitching an idea to your team for months only to have it fall on deaf ears. But when an outsider presents the exact same idea people perk up, listen, and buy into it. Use that dynamic to your advantage. A skilled facilitator can help bring your team to the same conclusions so that they embrace it as their own.

It’s not too early to schedule your 2020 strategic planning.  Engage a facilitator to ensure your team gets the most enjoyment and best results from their efforts.