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    GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit? GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit?

    GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit?

GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit?

As a Group Facilitator and Mediator, I know that my primary job is to help people talk to each other about their wants, needs, positions, feelings, opinions, etc. – in other words, all of the elements of any disagreement, whether major or minor.

 
If I do this well, parties typically come to some sort of resolution of their conflict.  A group of relatively like-minded individuals may reach agreement on an action plan for their group (e.g., the Board members of a non-profit organization).  Two individuals in a workgroup may sign a Memorandum of Understanding concerning how they will work together in harmony (or, at least, without overt hostility) in the future.  A large group of people with very diverse points of view may agree on a way for a project to move forward (large environmental projects often involve such antagonistic groups).  However, I must always remember that my success is not an agreement reached, but a real conversation completed.  If I fixate on agreement, I may not know when to quit.

Toward the beginning of my career in conflict resolution, I was asked to facilitate/mediate a group of 20 to 25 people who were at odds over a proposed major rock quarry.  There were representatives from the landowner proposing the quarry (his attorney, environmental consultants, etc.), citizens opposing the quarry (nearby landowners concerned with the potential impacts of such an operating quarry), attorneys and consultants for the citizen opponents, representatives of local and national environmental groups, local government regulators (planners, public health personnel, etc.) and anyone else who felt that he or she had an interest in whether or not the project should be approved.  The group was commissioned by local government officials (who would eventually […]

By |March 4th, 2015|Group Facilitation Denver|Comments Off on GROUP FACILITATION AND MEDIATION: When do you know it’s time to quit?
  • construction of agendas group facilitator denver
    GROUP FACILITATION – Construction of Agendas GROUP FACILITATION – Construction of Agendas

    GROUP FACILITATION – Construction of Agendas

GROUP FACILITATION – Construction of Agendas

An agenda is a powerful tool a Group Facilitator uses to keep a meeting on track and ensure that progress toward the goals of the group can be made.  I will not facilitate a meeting without a written agenda.  My strong preference is to have a timed agenda – each topic has its own specified time period.  Then, when people digress or carry disputes to extremes during the period of time allotted for that topic, I can use the agenda to remind them that they only have a limited period of time for the topic and exceeding that time will mean that another topic will be shorted or pushed to a future meeting (given a not unlimited number of meetings such topic shifting may not be possible – and the parties usually know it).  This focuses the parties to keep them on topic.

It is important to work with the convener and the group itself to make sure that the agenda for each meeting is doable for the meeting time.  Trying to cover too many topics during a meeting will put the Group Facilitator in the position of appearing to cut off discussion, not allowing everyone to fully have his/her say on a topic.  This can put the Group Facilitator into an opposition stance with a party or a faction within the group.  Using the structure of the agenda to permit good time management is the key element to keeping the group on track in a collaborative way.

I always make sure that the convener who hires me as

By |August 2nd, 2013|Group Facilitation Denver|Comments Off on GROUP FACILITATION – Construction of Agendas