It is well known that people are resistant to change. And yet in this messy world, we know that continual change is necessary.

Change is more likely to be effective when people impacted by the changes are invited to participate.

Whether it’s a merger, reorganization, new initiative, or you want to revisit how you work together, change can be energizing rather than draining.

We are dedicated to creating space for participation so that people can work together and relate to one another effectively. For us, “creating space” means doing all the small things to prepare an environment for valuable interactions, and then being responsive within that environment to the needs, voices, and potential that surfaces.

We are facilitators. That doesn’t mean that we just preside over meetings. To facilitate is to “make easy.” And although what truly matters in work or life is rarely easy, great facilitation makes participation easier. It makes working together and relating effectively easier.

We talk about effective facilitation involving five key elements:

  1. Context provides significance for why people are coming together. It is key for participants to be reminded of the “why,” and their potential impact. When people have this context, they can clearly see the past, present, and future together, and how the parts and the whole can fit together. An effective facilitator weaves people, perspectives, ideas, and time together into impact.
  2. Equity is more than measuring talk time or dampening the loudest voices in the room. This principle means we continually seek diversity in the conversation, believing that diversity is the fuel of creativity. A meeting without diverse participation can be flat. An effective facilitator uplifts needed voices—those in the room and not in the room.
  3. Participation is not effective when forced or coerced. It takes skill to create an environment where people feel relaxed, engaged, and eager to contribute. An effective facilitator invites people to participate in ways that work for them, tracking the energy and continually working to help build trust and a sense of safety.
  4. Timeless Principles root new and dynamic practices, so adaptation is still grounded in what we know can potentially work well.
  5. Connected Actions result in a sense of continuity and value. People need to feel like a convening is “on track” and know that actions will be taken as a result of their contributions. It doesn’t mean rigidly sticking to an agenda or extracting opinions. By allowing divergence, finding convergence, and letting people know where on the map they currently are, people stay engaged.  Effective facilitators organically cultivate accountability, so people feel like their time is worthwhile.

Thriving requires the capacity for ongoing change.