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What does the facilitator do?

Essentially, the facilitator holds a space for discussion. One of the best places where you can look for those skills, and to be honest to identify the missing skills more often, is a parliament. Usually, the discussion goes in the direction of either who is for Yes or who is for No. There is no deep democracy, and specific views are very fast channeled in one of the opposites. Besides guiding discussion toward the group's goal achievement, the facilitator is responsible for time management, encouraging participation, and creating a safe environment. The facilitator needs to be skilled in conflict mediation, as you can expect that there will be some conflicts. 

In a business environment, when you talk about facilitation, the first you can think of is how meetings are run. Who is invited, what the agenda is, and why usually none of that information is conveyed upfront. When the MoM will arrive and what will be my ToDo list there?

At any meeting, there can be different types of people. We will represent them as funny animals. Some are like:

They are involved and their skin is in, so they are very interested in everything. You can treat them as team members usually and their success is dependant on the success of the meeting and of the actions fulfillment that will follow up.

Others are like:

They can accept some responsibility but it is not all they are interested in, and they have some other roles in different teams, multiple projects running, and they can survive even if this one goes bad. Usually, a lot of stakeholders and people working in matrix organizations behave like this.

You have a very important role:

And not to go too much into details, Scrum Masters can be identified like it.

If you have some Decision makers, they are like:

The majority of people you can find at meetings will be like:

They are ready to follow, but seldom those who move things over. The success of your initiative will depend on whether you can influence them to onboard your train. 

And beware of:

Group interest is not always their interest, and only if there is alignment you can expect their involvement. At some point, they look like selfish people, but it is just because their goals can conflict with the goals of rest, so best is to put all things on the table and to see why is this happening.

And facilitator needs to know how to recognize those people, to leave a space for them to express themselves, and to guide the whole group. 

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