A professional facilitator brings not only expertise in guiding conversations, but a neutral perspective free from self interest and political agendas. For most companies, taking the leap to hire facilitation help can be a hard decision. Consulting firms are often given a bad rap, and leave your team open to criticism: shouldn’t your team be able to do this work themselves? With fees ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for multi-day experiences, how can you guarantee that the investment will pay off?
Through our work facilitating stakeholders across different industries and varying business models, we’ve noticed five big red flags that signal that outside help is needed.
The infinity deadline.
Your project deadline is continually pushing out and your go-to leadership tools are failing you due to constant changes in direction and strategy. Your team is misaligned on priorities. There’s confusion cross-functionally throughout your org. Sound familiar? You can’t get everyone on the same page if you can’t get them in the same room. An outside facilitator is an expert in bringing teams together and using tried-and-true tools and tactics to guide them toward faster decisions and accelerate progress on projects that are stuck.
Emotions are running high.
Intense work situations are often charged with damaging emotions and strong points of view. In the most politically-charged meetings, an outside facilitator provides an unbiased perspective to acknowledge these emotions and effectively channel the brunt of the conflict into productive methods to solve problems and reach solutions. Most of the time, internal teams are too deeply tied to their perspectives to be able to do this themselves.
Decisions don’t stick.
Whether it’s a change in strategy or an update to an internal process, if your leaders are continually communicating decisions to the organization that no one actually seems to apply to their work, it’s likely because your employees aren’t bought in. People support what they help build, so inviting your staff into a facilitated session enables them to craft and co-create decisions and solutions they believe in. Your team can be wildly effective by bringing the right people into a facilitated process at the right times.
Lopsided power dynamics.
Often times, large organizations work with numerous segments (both internally and externally) that hold power outside of the executive suite. When you’re bringing together two departments of power, such as hosting labor negotiations with the union or policy changes tied to state funding, it is extremely valuable to bring in third-party facilitator to help see the big picture, understand how the two groups interact, and help navigate the varying points of view.
He said, she said.
When different messages are coming from leadership, organizational progress slows until this confusion is resolved. You can’t afford for that to happen. If leaders are not aligned, the only way to get things done quickly is to bring them together, figure out where the confusion lies, and get them all telling the same story.
Experiencing any of these symptoms with your team? This is the sweet spot where an outside facilitator can really help you get where you’re going, fast.
When you make the decision and investment in getting your team aligned and accelerating progress, you will not regret it. It’s easy to question, “why do we need outside help?” but the most common feedback we get after a working session is, “we could never have gotten there alone.”