Facilitative Leadership ...

“Fail to honor people,they fail to honor you; but of a good leader, who talks little, when his work is done, his aims fulfilled, they will all say, ‘We did this ourselves.”

Lao Tzu

Beyond ToolsTM

Beyond ToolsTM is an outcome-based workshop methodology effective in group problem solving, change management, project planning, issue resolution, team organization, and strategic planning. The methodology focuses intently on the desired outcome and on the individual group, planning a process or path that will take that unique group to their specific goal. Beyond ToolsTM emphasizes the relationships between bits of information and analyzes how facts fit together to form decisions, plans, and strategies.

The name was chosen to remind us that facilitation is more than applying a set of tools – it is managing a group of people. A facilitator's job is to manage the flow of information, using it to bring a group of people to the desired endpoint whether that is a decision, solution, agreement or plan.

The Beyond Tools methodology is a series of seven sequential steps …

1. Describing the Deliverables:

You can not have a successful workshop, or a successful meeting of any kind unless you know what you want to accomplish. Therefore, a facilitator's first job is to clearly establish the purpose of the workshop and to describe that purpose in terms of specific deliverables. These deliverables form the contract between the facilitator and the sponsor (and later between the facilitator and the group).

2. Identifying the Steps:

Once you have established the deliverables. You must decide on the path (or multiple paths) to each deliverable and identify the critical steps along those paths. You can think of these steps as gates a group will have to walk through to get to the deliverable.

3. Designing the Activities:

Now that you have identified the steps, the point at which decisions are made or information is documented, you can design activities that will take the group to those points. You can think of the steps as places the group comes to; the activities are the actions that bring them to those places.

4. Anticipating the Report:

Since so much of the value of a workshop comes from information, and since the report is the document that transfers that information, it makes sense to look at what that report should contain and how it should be arranged.

5. Finalizing the Facilitation Plan:

This is where all of the activities are combined into one comprehensive plan. There are many ways to do this. You can go through the steps for each deliverable. You can combine activities and use the information or action they generate as a step to more than one deliverable. You can mix the steps and work on all the deliverables at the same time. This flexibility can help you keep the interest level high and keep the progress steady. If you do mix the activities, you need to give the group some sense of what they are working toward, and you need to keep the information from each activity visible so they can see their progress and keep their focus.

6. Executing the Facilitation Plan:

Once you have all the preparation done, it is time to facilitate the workshop according to the plan you have made.

7. Preparing the Report:

After the completion of the workshop, the facilitator and/or people helping him collect the information and generate the report documenting the completion of the deliverables.