Facilitation Services

What type of facilitation do you need?

We are trained and experienced in proven methodologies and processes for a wide variety of facilitation needs. A complimentary consultation to discuss your goals will reveal which process or combination of processes will best meet your needs. 

Below are descriptions of some of the proven, outcome-driven methodologies we utilize, as outlined by the the Institute of Cultural Affairs.

Read about the Technology of Participation (ToP) Facilitation methodology here.


Strategic Planning:


· Multiple year timeframe (2-5 years)

· Multiple goals/objectives that are integrated into broadly related strategies

· Intent: Discern new initiatives resulting from trends or changes in the environment (i.e., resulting from an environmental analysis) 

· Overarching question: What are critical areas where we need to put our action and resources over this extended period of time? (Alternately, the question could be phrased as: Where do we need to concentrate our time and resources?)

Ideal for when:

· Your industry is experiencing significant disruption, or disruption is on the horizon. (Think: automation, artificial intelligence, tariffs, technology, sharing economy, gig economy, aging workforce, climate change.)

· Your company is having challenges attracting or retaining talent.

· You’ve recently had major leadership changes or have major leadership changes coming in the next decade.

· Your organization is expanding rapidly in terms of staff or offerings, or both.

· There is more competition than in the past.

· You’re not winning business as regularly.

· Doing things as you’ve always done them is no longer producing the same results.

· You are not getting the funding needed.

· Your audience or mission has changed (or you’ve been experiencing unintentional “mission creep”).

· You haven’t done a well-designed and professionally facilitated Strategic Planning process in the past three years (or ever).


· Practical vision articulated

· Underlying blocks identified

· Strategic directions set

· Focused implementation, starting with first 12 months, outlined

· Builds trust, support, consensus, enthusiasm, commitment, ownership


When Strategic Planning is done right, you only need to redo the entire process every three years. In the interim, each year the plan should be reviewed and actions updated depending on progress made or major changes experienced.

Read about 8 Strategic Planning Fails (and Their Fixes)


Project or Action Planning


· Short time frame ( one year or less)

· Single focus

· Intent: Accomplish a specific task

· Overarching question: What do we need to do to accomplish this project/event?

Ideal for:

· Developing a project plan or initiative

· Planning a conference

· Planning and launching a publicity plan

· Planning and launching a Capital Campaign

· Jump-starting a stalled program

· Planning a corporate event

· Planning a fund-raising event

· Planning a community event


· Clarify and delineate tasks

· Align creative capabilities, interests and resources

· Decide necessary actions, roles and responsibilities

· Create a timeline for getting things done

· Coordinate related actions and assignments

· Build trust, support, consensus, enthusiasm, commitment, ownership


Operational Planning


· Longer time frame – often one year

· Multiple goals/objectives with organized actions to accomplish them and measurable goals to track progress

· Intent: Create a work plan for already defined operational functions 

· Not necessarily based on environmental analysis

· Overarching question: What do we need to do to carry out these operational functions? 


· Review and analyze “current reality” and progress so that the resulting actions are realistic and achievable

· Set up clear forms of accountability

· Clarify and delineate tasks

· Align creative capabilities, interests and resources

· Decide necessary actions, roles and responsibilities

· Create a timeline for getting things done

· Coordinate related actions and assignments

· Build trust, support, consensus, enthusiasm, commitment, ownership


Consensus Building

Ideal for:

· Creating a shared vision, goals or objectives within an organization, department, committee or group

· Coordinating departments with differing objectives

· Setting team priorities

· Agreeing on criteria for decisions

· Finding common ground among parties with opposing views or perspectives

· Identifying barriers or blocks to effective communication

· Motivating volunteers or team members

· Restructuring or realigning job functions

· Doing weekly individual/staff planning or operational planning

· Discovering a group’s hopes and dreams

· Creating alignment in teams

· Developing quality improvements

· Developing policies


· Consensus-based group decisions that respect diverse perspectives

· Highlights common ground

· Creates joint resolve

· Inspires individual and group action

· Builds trust, support, consensus, enthusiasm, commitment, ownership


Focused Conversation

Ideal for:

· Creating a setting for meaningful conversation

· Facilitating group discussions

· Allowing participants to share diverse perspectives in a non-confrontational manner

· “Warming up” a group that has not worked together before or that has some discomfort


· Participants share insights and creative ideas on a common topic, issue or experience

· Reveals the existing level of consensus within a group

· Builds trust, support, consensus, enthusiasm

· Creates a sense of “being heard”

· A disparate group starts to “gel” and get focused to do work


Environmental Scan

Ideal for:

· Getting all participants on the same page in regards to a reality check on the organization

· Obtaining relevant situational facts—past and present—necessary to craft new designs, systems, approaches

· Preparing a group to do additional work, such as Strategic Planning or making significant decisions


· Enables a group of stakeholders to reach an appropriate “level of equity” in their knowledge of the whole big picture surrounding their work and educate each other as they combine perspectives to create the holistic picture. 

· Provides a basis of information to build upon for future sessions and work


Why use a professionally trained facilitator?

A workshop, meeting or series of meetings facilitated by a third party, trained professional is vital to moving a topic or initiative forward, getting buy-in, building consensus or developing an outcome-driven plan.