It is well known that using a talented facilitator for strategy retreats and sessions provides for enhanced team focus, a more efficient process and effective outcomes. Why is that? Here are the top 7 reasons:
#1 - Objectivity Matters. A facilitator is a neutral partner, whose only mission is to engage the team to drive strategic outcomes.
#2 - Focus On The Process. A facilitator has a longitudinal view of where the team is, and where the team is going in relation to the strategic planning process. Thus making sure that key steps and milestones are achieved.
#3 - Training and Experience is Paramount. A facilitator has training, experience and a talent for activating and engaging team members throughout the process. Effective techniques and tools are used, during each step, such as pre-work assignments, individual and group work activities that produce results and build culture.
#4 - Group Dynamics & 4 T's. Every team has its talents, tendencies, tensions and tailwinds. A facilitator is able to manage the agenda, the personalities and the conversations, fostering the group to work together and execute at a higher level.
#5 - Leaders Can Participate Fully. Supervisors, Board Chairs, CEO's and others can participate at the group level. This reduces the hierarchy in the room and allows the leaders to openly contribute with the team in real time. A powerful process.
#6 - Team Members Can Speak Their Mind. I believe we have all been in a meeting and wanted to share something, yet did not due to a lack of confidence or possible judgement from others. A facilitator can leverage the intellect in the room, and ask direct and/or challenging questions to all members, with no repercussions (fostering non judgmental openness which is critical to strategic thinking.)
#7 - Clear and Concise Action Plans. A facilitator is able to draw from the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, and furnish suggestions regarding the strategy methodology, tools, measurements and project plans used. In this case, their is no "turf" to protect, only the desire for a clear and concise plan of action