By Kerry Juhl
Fast changing marketplace dynamics and consumer behavior tied to the recessionary economy are putting businesses at a crossroads. Teams need to quickly assess their priorities and pivot to new revenue and profit growth strategies. But in times of upheaval, the activities of teams can take over and they run the risk of confusing activity for progress. The alignment gained by pausing and reflecting as a team can keep the momentum going on key priorities while letting go of the rest.
An important step amidst a consumer learning initiative is to reflect, assess, and decide on next steps. It can happen in-person or virtually and can take as little as 60-90 minutes of the team’s valuable time. 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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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 strategies and alignment needed to boost momentum and forward progress toward the team’s goal. Please contact Kerry.Juhl@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!