Berger Leadership Blog

Categories: Leadership

11 tips to effectively facilitate team discussions

Dan BergerAs our businesses reimagine the way we operate in a socially-distanced society, we'll be faced with tough conversations and difficult decisions about the best way to move forward. Leaders must equip themselves with as much information as possible, which means listening to your team, members/customers, health experts, regulatory agencies, and more.

In order to do this effectively, leadership guru Todd Ordal argues that facilitation is a skill leaders should develop and prioritize.

"Successful CEOs need a few God-given traits, some skills and the right behaviors," Ordal writes. "General intelligence is good. Emotional intelligence is very good. Assertiveness, conscientiousness, communication, decision-making skills, and the ability to properly frame issues make my list when I consider the most successful CEOs I’ve coached.

"Facilitation, however, doesn’t often show up on the 'best skills for CEOs' lists. Unless CEOs structure a company where people all work independently and make unilateral decisions, they must learn how to facilitate successful team conversations."

Here are his tips to facilitate meetings and discussions so that you walk away with the feedback, information, and commitment from your team to move forward:

  1. Have a clear agenda beforehand with objectives clearly stated.
  2. Ask people to come prepared to discuss and share what they know. Emphasize facts versus opinions.
  3. Prepare in advance any questions you want to ask your team.
  4. Ensure that everyone participates. If they don't volunteer, ask them. Lack of participation typically means opposition.
  5. Conflict over the idea (not personalities) is healthy. Allow it and look for it.
  6. Offer your perspective last; otherwise, the decision will suffer from group think. To eliminate this, ask participants to share thoughts in writing.
  7. Be assertive and keep the conversation focused on the objective.
  8. Don't let verbose people hijack the meeting.
  9. Summarize periodically.
  10. If there's an even split or several strong opinions, make the decision.
  11. At the end of the meeting, identify:
    1.  What actions the team is taking.
    2. Who is accountable for what.
    3. By when are the accountable.
    4. How you will monitor it.
    5. When everyone will report back.
    6. State your expectations around commitment.

As presidents/CEOs, we don't have all the answers, which is why we surround ourselves with people who have complimentary skills and knowledge. Each of our team members will have a different perspective on issues and ideas for solutions. Amid a crisis, facilitating effective discussions becomes even more critical.

Use these tips from Ordal to ensure you can lead conversations in the right direction and keep your organization moving forward successfully.

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About the Author

B. Dan Berger, President and CEO, NAFCU

Dan BergerB. Dan Berger first joined NAFCU in 2006 and has helped expand the association's reputation into becoming a premiere advocate for the credit union industry.

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