Attending meetings. We all do it; however, how effective are your meetings? Have you ever left a meeting wondering what was actually accomplished? Do you find it difficult to stick to an agenda? Have your participants stopped participating or worse, stopped attending altogether? Hiring a facilitator can help.
Many organizations have a strategic plan that is reviewed every three to five years. This can be a daunting task; especially with new leaders or board members. While each client has its own unique set of requirements, I find the process to reach a strategic plan is often quite similar. A typical client relationship looks something like this:
- Need assessment I meet with all clients to discuss what exactly they are looking for. Do you already have a strategic plan or is this a brand-new exercise? If you have a plan, have you attained your goals and objectives? Has the landscape changed in your organization, industry or community?
- Who are your clients A great place to begin a strategic planning discussion is to ensure everyone involved understands who exactly are their clients. By keeping clients in the forefront, a strategic plan will be client-centred rather than organizationally based. While this seems pretty straight-forward, it may be more difficult than you think.
- What products and services do you provide What is your client looking for? How do you want them to feel when they interact with your organization?
- Develop Goals and Objectives Now that you have an understanding of your clients and their expectations, you can begin to develop Goals and Objectives to meet those needs.
- Mission, Vision and Values Your mission statement should reflect what you are doing now while your vision statement is where you want to be in the future. Values support the mission and vision and give everyone a sense of what you expect of your employees when delivering service.
“Strategic planning can be very overwhelming, but Carole made the process of identifying three key issues and coordinating goals much easier. Both myself and the board were very pleased with her facilitation skills and the outcome of the day. I would certainly use her services again and definitely recommend Carole to other organizations.” ~ Jade Kearley, Interagency Coordinator, Community Mental Health Initiative Inc.
When someone says brainstorming, what do you think of? A room full of people shouting out suggestions? One or two dominant personalities hijacking the meeting while the quiet participants disengage? When asked by a client to assist in brainstorming, I get excited at the thought of introducing new techniques!
- What do you hope to accomplish Meeting with my client to understand exactly what they hope to achieve as a result of the brainstorming session gives me a better sense of what techniques I can pull from my toolkit.
- Where will the brainstorming occur Is the session in-house, off-site? Does the venue encourage creativity, i.e. lots of natural light, open space to allow for movement?
- When and how long is the session Knowing the time allotted, and the time of day will directly impact the techniques used in brainstorming.
- Outcomes Are you interested in simply generating ideas or are you hoping to make decisions as well? Do you require any reporting as a follow-up of what was accomplished, what technique was used, who was in attendance?
There are many types of meetings. Not all require the use of an external facilitator; however if you find your meetings are getting bogged down, it is difficult to remain neutral or you struggle in managing the participants and reaching expectations, it might be time to consider some outside help.
According to MindTools, the definition of facilitate is “to make easy”or “ease a process”. What a facilitator does is plan, guide and manage a group event to ensure the group’s objectives are met effectively, with clear thinking, good participation and full buy-in from everyone who is involved.
At Spicer Facilitation & Learning, I am all about making it easy for you to be successful. ~ Carole