Facilitating Success

What could be tougher than binary logistic regression? How about facilitating a team? Team inputs vary in type, personality, knowledge level, background, etc., but the choice for team output is pretty discrete – success or not.

So what does a good facilitator look like? Here’s what Wikipedia says:

  • “An individual who enables groups and organizations to work more effectively, to collaborate and achieve synergy”
  • “One who contributes structure and process to interactions so groups are able to function effectively and make high-quality decisions”
  • “The facilitator’s job is to support everyone to do their best thinking. To do this, the facilitator encourages full participation, promotes mutual understanding and cultivates shared responsibility

For some belts, being a good facilitator may come naturally. Others may need training and practice to sharpen their skills. In either case, one thing is for sure – don’t underestimate the need or value of this key skill. It could make a big difference in whether the team finds success . . . or not.

Comments 4

  1. michael cardus

    Thank you! what an effective facilitator does is create creative breakthrough. The structure of 6 Sigma in the proper facilitators hands delivers powerful creative thought. By having the boundaries we are forced to look at the data and find solutions within the data that 6 Sigma delivers.
    WIth the right faciliator a 6 Sigma project becomes achievable with the team when once the team members thought that goals were unachievable.

  2. Gianna

    Keeping ’creative’ teams on track can be a challenge but is manageable. One of the first things a facilitator should do with his or her team is to create a team charter that everyone buys into. The charter should not only spell out project objectives and timelines but should define guidelines for how the team operates (decision-making, conflict resolution, communication, etc.) If a team begins to get off-track, bringing everyone back to the agreed upon charter helps to refocus discussions. Also, having a ’parking lot’ or list to capture creative ideas so that they are not lost and can be used later in the process will acknowledge these types of contributions and have them noted and visible to use at the right time. Reviewing the meeting agenda at the beginning of each team meeting may also help get the team focused on the task at hand. In the end, team members will appreciate a facilitator that encourages creativity and good ideas but then also keeps them on track. Hope this helps.

  3. Todd Klein

    One of the issues I deal with is leveraging creative thought against established formal practices. I find that teams tends to dispense with the formality of the 6 sigma apporach and head off on creative trails. I like this kind of thought process at the beginning of a project but it makes it difficult to organize later on. How would a "Good" facilitator handle this dynamic????

    Todd Klein

  4. jeff cox

    I’m new to 6 Sigma, but a former teacher. With a current project team I found it worked really well to use a 6 Sigma tool – a SIPOC – to get them to abandon all of the close-in detail of "how we’ve always done things." I got them to do it and taught them what they had done after the fact. If I had approached it with the idea of explaining the SIPOC first, I’d still be trying to get them to trust it to be a useful exercise. This way they focused on what they saw as CTQ and were able to get outside of the box.

    An idea, anyway.

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