When a taste of facilitation creates demanding participants

Many people can now bear witness to the fact that facilitation opens up largely unexplored channels of dialogue, communication and collective effort within organisations. They would also attest to resulting decisions unifying all stakeholders and leading to outstanding team mobilisation.

But there’s a catch: it makes them demanding.

Once people have had a taste of a stimulating meeting or workshop led by a facilitator, they’ll no longer settle for meetings with top-down discourse. From then on, participants have the impression that they’re wasting their time in old-school meetings where teams aren’t consulted and decisions appear to be made before the meeting is even held. It’s as if they become allergic to poorly managed meetings with no objective.

It is good news that people within organisations that employ facilitation are seeing the benefits when it comes to group sessions and actively want to implement them.

However, this is bad news for managers preferring to stick with “classic” meetings. They don’t see the interest in opening up the conversation. In their eyes, it’s a bit like setting the cat among the pigeons.

An internal facilitator told us that the workshop leader profile – whether they had been trained in facilitation or not – had become a deal breaker in participants choosing to be involved in meetings of not. This is a clear indication that the demand for high-quality group sessions is increasing as facilitation becomes more commonplace. “Facilitation acts like a Trojan horse in company transformations” as said recently by a client with whom we have worked on several occasions. 

Organisations that want to see a successful conclusion to their transformation need to set high standards when it comes to facilitation of group sessions.