Good facilitation is essential to effective face-to-face KM processes. Effectively identifying and exchanging knowledge in a meeting requires high quality interactions between people. These interactions need to be built on
- Open behaviours – listening, exploring, not criticising
- Good listening
- Dialogue, not argument
This requires balanced input from many people; not a few people talking, and the others listening. It requires process to be followed, within a given time frame. Without a facilitator, none of these are easy to achieve, particularly when you want to acheive the high-quality dialogue that is the basis of knowledge sharing!
Facilitation is the process making it easier for a group to effectively deliver the objectives of a meeting such as a Retrospect, a Peer Assist, or a Knowledge Café. By providing non-directive leadership, the facilitator helps the group negotiate the meeting processes, so that the group arrives at the required objectives. Their role is one of assistance and guidance, not control. The facilitator looks after the process of the meeting, while the group looks after the content of the meeting
Facilitation is not
- Teaching You are not teaching the group about Retropects or AARs, you are helping them to deliver results from a Retrospect or AAR
- Coaching You do not coach them towards the right answer – you don’t know the right answer – they do!
- Reviewing and assessing You will not tell them at the end whether they conducted the meeting correctly or incorrectly – you make sure they do it correctly!
- Team leadership The team leader is always interested in the outcome, and cannot facilitate effectively
- Identifying themes or common threads in a discussion “Many of us have identified planning as a problem in this project – I wonder if we need to have a short discussion on planning“
- Clarifying confusing statements , or ask for more detail on lessons “Susie, you said that it was important to plan properly – can you tell us what proper planning would look like?”
- Summarizing and organizing the ideas “If I can just summarize our discussion, we would suggest that in future , projects approach planning by ……….”
- Testing for agreement “Is that a fair summary of the discussion? What do you think?”