Facilitation Tips
From: M. D. Anderson Department of Performance Improvement
Date: January 15, 2008

Narrator: Duke has a few things that he would like to share with you about facilitating your teams.

Duke Rohe: Excellent, thank you so much. We're going to have a segment each time on group process - just to get a feel for things. One thing that we got a lot of feedback on was people feeling ill at ease; team leaders feeling ill at ease as far as managing the team, making them effective, that kind of thing. These are just a few pointers I'd like to bring about that I've studied under facilitators.

Number one is to gain permission from the team yourself, to do your role. If you can and you have at least four members inside your team, then you can pretty much pull back and be a full time facilitator as far as managing the health of the group process itself. But to begin with, ask the team themselves; do I have permission to fulfill this role? And usually they're going to all say “yes” anyway.

Next, stay in your group process role. Many times what happens is you have so much (in)vested into the solution (or whatever the conversation is), you'll hop out of the facilitator role and you'll jump into helping as a team member to come up with the solution. So stay in your group process role. One suggestion someone gave me was to go ahead and take your watch and put it on your other hand and it'll feel sort of awkward. But, it will remind you to remain as a facilitator while you're handling the group processes as you're doing that.

Next is to treat team time as different. It's more special, it's a very highly prized commodity. Inside that, you do team thinking as opposed to individual conversations. Next, is get your ground rules up front, make them specific, and make sure as you make the ground rules everyone acknowledges they'll follow those ground rules. At the front of the meeting agree on the purpose. This is what we're going to accomplish during this meeting, you get a heads up - so everyone's working toward that end time.

And finally at the end, do a hot wash up. We'll have the tool for that, and basically that's going around the room and saying what you like about this meeting and then what would you like to improve. It's a continuous process part of it.

And finally, as facilitator inquire of the team. A lot of times a single person will dominate - take over the conversation. Come back and say, “Team what do you think?” And it actually “groups it back to the team.” It’s their responsibilities to be successful. You as the facilitator, you're just making the team to be as healthy as they can be.