Building Healthy Communities and Organizations
Healthy communities and organizations have some common characteristics:
Clear vision, mission, and strategic plans
An organization designed to carry out the mission, based on the vision
Buy-in and commitment to the vision and mission, and involvement in the development and implementation of plans of all levels of the organization
Good communication between all parts of the system
Healthy communication and respect across natural divisions in the organization (like between leadership, development, research, etc.)
Clear roles, rules, and responsibilities
Well-defined and flexible methods for responding to and making the most of change
Responsive, multi-level systems for responding to conflict
What can go wrong
Most groups and organizations are very intelligent about developing clear ways to produce and disseminate whatever they do, from software to sermons to students to government regulations.
Most, however, do not plan on how to create responsive, productive systems for communication that mean very different kinds of people with very different kinds of responsibilities, approaches and skills can work together successfully.
And, when departments or sub-groups split off, stop communicating, break into factions, undermine each other, resist change, stop understanding each other, and the mission and vision are in jeopardy – most organizations and groups do not know how to repair and rebuild and respond.
Organizations dealing with these kinds of issues need:
• Visioning, and possible mission and strategic planning support so the organization can reconnect with its core values and goals.
• Assessment, to understand why and how problems are being created.
• Systems design, to create new systems that support healthy communication, prevent conflict from escalating, and deal with differences well when they arise.
• And, finally, every organization needs to run productive, efficient, and successful meetings and processes. The science behind this is called ‘Facilitation’.
What is facilitation?
Facilitation comes from the Latin root ‘facil’, meaning ‘easy’.
A good facilitator makes your life easier.
Why is it useful?
How many meetings or group decision making processes have you been part of where one of these things has happened?
It feels like you are talking about the same topics over and over and nothing ever gets done.
Everyone is going in a different direction and it isn’t clear what you are there to accomplish.
Everyone has a clear sense that something has to be done, but everyone is talking about a different part of the problem so it is impossible to solve anything.
It feels like a battle of wills and the goal seems to be to be loudest or defend yourself.
Anyone with a new idea is shot down by the old guard who fiercely trumpet the same demands or ideas.
The meeting is really a sham, as all the decisions have already been made, or will really be made by someone else.
Despite all this, the group makes a decision, ends the meeting and goes home, but nothing happens because there was no plan made or responsibility taken.
Meetings don’t have to be this way. There are wonderful skills that can be taught to anyone and if used properly, can assure productive, successful, efficient meetings.
What can a facilitator do for us?
A skilled facilitator helps groups:
Clarify their needs
Develop do-able agendas
Suggests processes that will best meet the group’s needs for the agenda items
Have the right people in the room do what is needed
Support space for everyone to be give input or be involved in decision making so that the final decisions are workable, meet the real needs, and will be supported by the group.
Help the group take ownership and responsibility for implementation so good decisions become responsive solutions.
Support the group to keep working together and evaluating their solutions so as the world changes, they and their plans can, too.
What facilitation services are available?
We offer both skilled facilitators and their services, including assessment and design, if needed, as well as on-site facilitation. And –
Facilitation training for you or your staff or organization, so you can develop your own internal facilitation capability.
What do these services cost?
We charge between 50 and 100 dollars an hour per person, depending on the size of the group and the task involved, or 1,200 dollars a day for full-day service, which includes all prep and follow up work. However, each case is individually tailored to your needs, including negotiating a budget for your particular case.