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Seb Anthony

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Challenge skills for facilitators


I am designing a session to help some process facilitators (they are process experts and their role is to guide the participants in a group process through it) improove their skills.

The challenge is that participants often arrive with preformed ideas about the sollution to the problem being explored and the facilitators want to upgrade their skills at challenigng these preformed ideas.

The participants tend to be technical experts whose expertise has so far been unchallenged - the process is about that challenge, not to question their technical competency but to encourage them to use that competency in innovative ways.

Any ideas for exercises would be very welcome.
Geoff Roberts

2 Responses

  1. non confrontational challenges
    Hi Geoff
    (perhaps using the 5 M’s from the Ishikawa Cause and Effect approach) your facilitators could challenge the teams to
    a) halve the man days
    b) remove a specific piece of the machinery
    c) reduce the waste in the material by 25%
    d) use a completely different method (Eg no electric power-being green)
    e) rejig the process to automate all management controls/reporting etc

    They could actually present the question as something like
    “How would the team continue to operate this process if there was….
    … a continuous break in power supply?”
    ….a total failure of this machine and it couldn’t be replaced?”
    ….no supply of x material?”
    …a need to reduce the unit cost by x% due to a foreign competitor?”

    Hope this helps

  2. Use 6 hats

    You may want to use Edward de Bono’s 6 Hats to run the session. This encourages ‘parallel’ thinking where everyone thinks the same way for a set period rather than the usual adversial style of discussion.

    If this is your first attempt at this it is best to give a set order to the ‘hats’.

    For example,
    blue hat – explain what is going to happen
    white hat – what information/facts do we have?
    green hat – alternative ideas
    red hat – how do i feel about this
    yellow – positives about the new ideas
    black hat – problems with new ideas
    Blue hat – summary/conclusions

    This sounds artifical but can be effective at removing people’s resistance and focus more on the issue.

    You should be able to find out more info about 6 hats from Google.


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