By: Cindy Blackstock, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Recent changes in marketplace dynamics and consumer behavior are putting businesses at a crossroads: pivot to evolve the brand to stay relevant. Too often the activities of an initiative take over and a team runs the risk of confusing activity for progress. The alignment gained by pausing and reflecting as a team will keep the momentum going in the right direction.
A key step amidst the learning activity is to reflect, assess, and decide on next steps. This may be even more challenging to think about given our virtual meeting spaces. For this critical step in the journey, an outside, unbiased facilitator can be your most powerful tool.
There is no better time than now to consider these Top 5 benefits of engaging a professional facilitator:
- Unbiased Professional: A trained facilitator brings the valuable benefit of being an objective leader who can listen to all points of view, not vested in a particular position or outcome. This creates the conditions for a more open dialogue and opportunity to see possibilities that otherwise may be missed.
- Participate in the Discussion: Ask yourself where you can add the most value. Should you try to participate and facilitate or focus 100% on participating with your team? Engaging a trained facilitator does a couple of things. It sends a message that this work is important. It also allows you, the owner, to invest your energy into the discussion while allowing an expert facilitator to customize the process and tools around your needs and objectives.
- Full Engagement: Critical to success is hearing from everyone in the group. This can be tricky, particularly if there are strong (or silent) opinions and voices, and now you are not in the same room! Facilitators are skilled at navigating the group dynamics and engaging all participants into the discussion to ensure each voice is heard. They also know how to keep the ideas flowing when the group might get stuck.
- Stretch Thinking: One of the most valuable benefits of a trained facilitator is the ability to stretch the group’s thinking. They are experts at quickly capturing ideas, summarizing, asking the right questions to build on ideas, connecting the dots between ideas, and pushing participants to think outside the box.
- Drive to Solutions: With a process designed to meet the objective, the facilitator continually uses techniques to ensure a successful outcome with clear next steps, accountability and buy-in from the group.
Through the stages of Immersion, Interaction and Ideation, we help our clients gain empathy and develop the alignment needed to boost momentum and forward progress toward the team’s goal. Please contact Cindy.Blackstock@SIVOInsights.com to learn how we can customize an approach with the right professional facilitator to meet your needs. We have a team of seasoned professionals who are passionate about working with like-minded clients and would love to talk to you!
Cindy has over 20 years of global product experience with expertise in both marketing and R&D. Her laser focus and unwavering drive ensure that even the most ambitious project will always be executed with excellence and efficiency. As an Ironman athlete, she continues to push herself both physically and mentally and has yet to back down from any challenge.