Facilitation

From time to time your organisation may need the services of a skilled external facilitator.

Spandah specialises in facilitating

  • difficult situations and groups
  • organisational change issues
  • executive and senior management issues.
  • strategic sessions
  • solving major problems and opportunities.

The two case studies below are typical of the value of professional facilitation.

For more information or enquiries contact us.

Difficult situations:

Christo Norden-Powers was the facilitator in both of the following examples.

Case Study 1 - a difficult issue.

A division of a large heavy engineering company was being hampered by serious tensions between management and sections of staff. The Divisional Manager had received death threats. The tensions resulted in a direct cost to operations of close to $1million per annum.

The Regional General Manager (RGM) of the organization requested an external facilitator to mediate the situation. The facilitator requested a 4-hour morning session to deal with the issue, plus lunch to be provided for the participants after the session.

The client did not believe that it was possible for the parties to be cooperating and to want to have lunch together after only one session of 4 hours, because of the difficult history of the conflict, and initially hesitated about arranging lunch.

The two most senior Divisional Managers and three staff/union representatives attended the facilitated meeting. The facilitator applied the MasterProcess first to clarify and test current positions and facts, then gave the group a short exercise that allowed them to understand how they created the conflict and how to let go of the conflict.

After a mid-morning break the participants were invited to answer 8 questions individually and separately on flipcharts. The questions were from Steps 1 & 2 of the MasterProcess. When that was done, the participants shared their answers. They immediately realised that they all really wanted the same outcomes, but were in conflict over the strategies for the outcomes.

The facilitator then used the MasterProcess to facilitate the group to alternative strategies that worked for each of them and their stakeholders.

When the RGM arrived for lunch he was surprised to see and hear all parties enthusiastically and amicably discussing when and where to next meet to implement their solutions.

 

 

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External facilitator.

When you are in the problem it can be harder to see the way out. By having an external facilitator it helps to get the emotion out of the issue and find the way forward.

 

Case Study 2 – Facilitating Resistance to Change:

Company A is a substantial transport business with over 5,000 employees and a strong union presence.

A serious accident had resulted in a Judge directing the company to implement various changes to its operations, in particular to a section that controlled scheduling and time-critical movement of vehicles.

New technology and software was to be installed, upgraded from what was effectively a manual operation, and the relevant operations facilities were to be moved to a new location and re-designed.

The senior managers designed a new system and venue to meet the Judge’s requirements, but the operations team, and unions, refused to accept the changes only six weeks before the judicial deadline for compliance, and insisted that an alternative be implemented (which management believed was not a workable alternative). The executives of the company stood to be prosecuted for contempt if the changes were not effected. In addition, another serious accident was a real possibility.

The executives sought time-critical assistance to facilitate an outcome that would work for all parties. The facilitator met with a group of key stakeholders over a 5 day period, for half a day at a time, using the various elements of the MasterProcess to match whatever situation arose, and enabling the participants to navigate their own way through key processes such as identifying positions and differences, clarifying facts, challenging assumptions, defusing historical and cultural negativities, building trust in the group, ascertaining the group’s motivational drivers, suspending judgement, putting aside positions, developing alternatives that would work for all stakeholders, getting ‘buy-in’ and ownership from peers and managers, and finally working together to create and implement the best solution.

The changes were subsequently implemented on schedule, with no resistance and with full co-operation and goodwill of all stakeholders.