Facilitation- what we mean by it

Ever since people around me got to know about Nucleus Insights, they are curious to know what we do. And when I say we are a consulting company and we “facilitate” a client’s process, there are all sorts of questions about business process consulting, business strategy consulting, what domains we cover etc. But facilitation is a very different approach in consulting, where we help clients arrive at their solution and it can be done across any domain. I have tried to explain what we do, but for someone who has not experienced our work, it may be hard to comprehend what we exactly do, and some of it may even sound too simplistic.

So this is an attempt to describe what we mean by facilitating a client’s process.  For us facilitation is a process through which we journey a group of people to discover the solution themselves, by working with each other in a collaborative manner. Our unique tools and techniques let the participants experience the power of their own thinking as well as the see the magic of the new creation.

An assignment always starts with spending sufficient time with the client to understand the issue at hand. Once the area is identified we finalise with the client the people who need to be involved in the overall program and in each of the sessions that we would facilitate to address the area of concern.

Then each session is clearly defined in terms of the purpose and the products, keeping in mind program objective. After the purpose and the desired outcomes are finalised, we design the process that we take the teams through to achieve the desired products. While most pay attention to “what” of a session  (the tangible products), we focus our attention also on the “how”.  Every part of the session is thought through – what happens when, the space, lighting, furniture, timings, handouts, the “glue” that holds the sessions together, quality of handouts, what goes on the walls, what happens when etc..etc..-all in great details to ensure the session is a holistic experience.

When the session is conducted, we manage the process tightly. We ensure that everyone in the room works, both individually and in teams to achieve the products for each part of the session. We get the participants to dialogue and synthesize the ideas that emerge, clearly define the next steps and agree on the ownership. All the output created by the teams is visually available for everyone to look at in each session- there are no ppts (power point slides) used.

At the end of every session, the teams walk up to us and tell that they have much better clarity on the future path, an enhanced sense of working towards a common objective and the experience of working as one team.  Our process creates a common mind as everyone shares the same experience:  what they hear, see, feel and learn.  Every meeting ends with very specific actions that impacts business and clear ownership defined. And there is a collective commitment made towards the future.  And when this happens over a series of sessions over the months, the teams start living the experience not just in a facilitated session, but also outside the sessions, thus addressing the underlying area of concern that we started with.

The key to our facilitation style is the experience we create during the session. If one of the products was to experience “oneness” then the participants will experience oneness, if it was “energy,” they will experience it, if it was “self awareness” they will experience it through the entire process. We don’t discuss it, we ensure all experience it. And even with all this going on, our sessions always start and end on time!

We believe and abide by some fundamental principles in our facilitation. We believe that every organisation, team and person have the innate wisdom for dealing with their unique situation.  We strongly believe every individual brings unique gifts to every setting. We create an open environment for dialogue, where people suspend all their assumptions, receive multiple ideas and participate equally. We facilitate the content or the solutions to emerge from the richness of what people bring.

Facilitation can work in various types of situations and to address a variety of business issues. We have facilitated sessions in various contexts, some of them being: where the CEO and his immediate team were seemingly pulling in different directions; an organisation which felt it had stagnated and needed to reenergize; an organisation spread over multiple geographies that had to hold all parts together and ensure the leaders are supporting each other well and have a common understanding of the organizational goal; a team that was starting out on a large project and needed to have a tightly woven process to plan with the client; a young start up that wants clarity of its flight path etc. We also have facilitated sessions between the community and government agencies on an island where the services had to be delivered in a coordinated fashion.

So facilitation is not telling people what to do, it is not training people, it is about getting the collective wisdom to the fore through a series of well thought out processes. It’s about creating an experience of affirmation and unleashing the true potential of every participant.

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