Your role during each of the activities covered in the previous module is that of a facilitator. A facilitator is “someone who helps bring about an outcome by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, guidance, or supervision.” In this role, your job is to help your employees figure out the answers rather than giving them the answers yourself. You can think of yourself as a guide on a journey your employees are taking. You want to help them stay on the path, you want to help them reach their eventual goal, but you don’t want to carry them on your back. In order to become invested in the vision they’re creating, they have to think through what it should look like, what it’s going to take to get there, and why they want to work towards it in the first place. Just giving them these answers would be about as effective as giving them that vision you created. So, think about these tips as you work to get the most out of your meeting.
- Keep the Conversation on Track. Sometimes employees get off topic, give one-word responses, or try to turn meetings into a series of complaints. If this happens, get the discussion back on track by saying things like:
- That’s a good point – can you elaborate?
- That’s a valid observation – how does it relate to our questions?
- Tell me more about your thoughts on that.
- What are some other thoughts on this question?
- I know we want to quickly solve issues, sometimes I do too, but let’s explore these questions fully before we try to fix things so that we’re working on the right things together and everyone is involved.
- Talk Less and Listen More. The less you talk, the more people will engage and share. This holds true even if there are awkward silences. Silence does not mean disengagement. In fact, it’s often a good indicator that people are thinking. Deciding what to say and how to say it in front of peers can take time and courage. If your staff needs that space, give it to them. A final thing to keep in mind as people are sharing -this kind of collaboration may be new to them, and it may take some getting used to. Once people begin to see their ideas and thoughts are heard and respected, the conversation will probably begin to open up a bit more.
- Manage Participation. In order for your employees to create a collective vision for your practice, everyone has to participate in all of the activities. If your team is like most practices, this means you’ll have to draw quieter employees out and make sure the talkative employees aren’t the only ones contributing. Setting the expectation that everyone participates and creating ground rules that ensure less vocal employees aren’t talked over can help with this. For example, you might want to suggest “no interrupting” or “take turns talking” be added to the list of ground rules your employees create. If there is someone in your group you know will likely take over, you might also consider giving them a job to do. Most of our activities ask the meeting facilitator to capture employees’ responses; however, you might ask your most talkative employee to do this instead.
- Provide Clarity When Needed. In this document which can be found on the resources tab of this page, you’ll find information that can help you do this, including outlines of each activity and sample responses to activity questions. We recommend reading it ahead of time, and printing it and bringing it with you to the meeting. This might be new to you too, so if you get stuck, it’s perfectly fine to tell people you need to take a minute to consult your guide for help.
Overall Course Time:
Is your practice exactly where you want it to be? Or, are there changes you’d like to make, or like your employees to make, that would help your practice realize its full potential? The first step to making any change in your practice in an effective, sustainable way is to develop a collaborative vision for your practice with your employees. This course shows you how to do just that. It includes a video that walks you through the collaborative vision process and includes a video you can watch with your staff to complete this process together.
If you can answer “no” to one or more of the questions below, you’ll likely find the information in this course helpful.
- Do you have a clear vision of what you want your practice to become? Can you explain that vision to your team?
- Do you know what changes you and your employees need to make to create the practice of your dreams?
- Do you know how to help your employees make any changes needed in a sustainable way?