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Monday, July 2, 2012

Guest Post: Proven Approaches to Group/Team-Based Approaches

Today's post is brought to us by fellow ASQ Influential Voices Blogger Guy W. Wallace. Guy has worked as an external consultant on over 250 external projects for over 60 clients including more than 45 Fortune 500 firms. He is a CPT – Certified Performance Technologist – since September 2002. That means his work and results have been attested to by his clients against 10 Standards.

He has received numerous awards and recognition from his clients and professional organizations, including:

  • Chairman’s Quality Award at General Motors in 1998
  • President’s Award Siemen’s Building Technologies in 1999
  • The recipient of ISPI’s Honorary Life Member Award in 2010
  • Recruited as a founding member of the ASQ Influential Voices Program in 2010.

More Heads Are Better Than One
They just take longer to get anything done – and can sometimes they can “never get there” without the right approach to Group Process. A Group or a Team can quickly devolve into chaos with the proper structure and facilitation techniques.

Most of my consulting work over the past 31 years has involved facilitating teams – using a Group Process - first written about in this TRAINING Magazine article from 1984 – available here. I have facilitated hundreds and hundreds of groups through various improvement efforts’ analysis, design, development and testing stages.

I also wrote in 1999 about my first business experience in team creation back in 1979 in the following article – available on my web site:
Teaming for T&D GWW 1999 - 5 page PDF – on my story of inadvertently creating a team – out of frustration with too many revision cycles for a video script I was writing – for training development back in 1979 – and liking the approach for using a Group Process to shorten cycle times and improve the quality of the output.

Clarifying “the Process” has always been important, in team and non-team work. It is just so much more critically important to group efficiency, especially the larger the group. But the Process to create the deliverables, the intended outputs, is just one layer of team effort, on the top if you will. Below the surface are enabling Processes, sub-processes for the facilitation of groups that are also critically important.

Navigating the Team Facilitation Waters
Years ago – back in the early 1990s I believe - I constructed the following 12 Rules/Guidelines for Facilitation/Facilitators that I was training and certifying in my Instructional Systems Design (ISD) methodologies – where being able to facilitate teams in a number of different ISD Processes was a key enabler. A showstopper enabler if you will.

Here are the 12 Rules – or Guidelines -

Please note – the sequence is mostly arbitrary. I’ve been asked about that!

My 12 Blog Posts on these Facilitation Tips and their links are listed here.

1. Go Slow to Go Fast.
2. Be Declarative.
3. Write Stuff and Post It.
4. Be Redundant by Design.
5. Use the Four Key Communications Behavior Types.
6. Review and Preview.
7. Write It Down and Then Discuss It.
8. Use Humor.
9. Control the Process and the Participants.
10. Be Legible on the Flip Chart.
11. Beware of Group-Think.
12. Assign Parking Lot Valets.

Use Groups to Go Faster
I do believe that while Groups can be slow to start, and that that can be a good thing, Groups can really race along and do really good work after that slower – by design - start up.

What’s your experience tell you? What else would you add or what nuances would you layer in?

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