Facilitation and training
A team may more effectively accomplish its objectives by working with an experienced consultant to facilitate meetings, retreats, or customized trainings. Relying on in-house talent can also be effective in some cases, but leaders or team members may be perceived as biased, which can stifle creativity, generate interpersonal tension, or create other roadblocks. In addition, a team or project leader who attempts to both facilitate and participate may shortchange themselves in the process.
These retreats bring together key decision-makers, involve complex dynamics and discussions, and often have far-reaching effects on the whole organization. Management-level retreats may focus on regular planning or on specific objectives such as process improvement, change management, or strategic planning.
The consultant’s role could include:
- Clarifying and naming the goals and purpose of the retreat
- Planning appropriate means of arriving at the outcome desired
- Facilitating discussions and activities at the retreat
- Post-retreat follow-up to ensure that the outcomes have the maximum chance of success
Bringing in a facilitator allows all members of a group or team to fully engage in a meeting and is particularly useful when there’s a history of discord or controversy, employees feel vulnerable, or individuals have an emotional or personal stake in the topic at hand.
The facilitator’s role could include:
- Reminding the group of the meeting goal
- Sharing honest constructive feedback
- Suggesting tools for problem solving
- Acting as a resource
- Keeping the group on track
- Observing and addressing group dynamics issues
Rather than sending individuals to training, it can be more fruitful and cost effective for leaders to bring training to the entire group. People can meet when it’s convenient for them, training can be customized to meet a group’s needs, and the team can more readily apply new concepts because they’ve gone through the experience together.
Most of POD’s quarterly courses are available as privately scheduled training programs. Classes can be customized to fit your group’s schedule and objectives. In addition, through its University Consulting Alliance, POD has access to dozens of internal and external trainers and consultants who have expertise in many of topics that can be customized based on your organizational needs. Popular topics include communication, customer service, emotional intelligence, change management, project management, public speaking, and team building.