Occasionally, the technical collaboration bogs down. The facilitator must decide what to do in order to get the team back on track. I am experiencing one of these situations now, so I do what I normally do – I pull out my old yellow folder and review some thought-provoking references. These are four roles for you, either as facilitator or facilitator, to use as part of an intervention approach.
Four Roles to Help the Team Complete Its Task
The piece of paper in my folder references Benne and Sheats. That is it. Plus, these four roles.
A participant who provides a constructive critique of task-specific work and schedule compliance.
A participant who keeps the team action-focused, re-iterates the importance of the work and focuses on quality work.
3. Procedure/Process Advocate
A participant who focuses on expediting the schedule and maintaining the process.
4. Special Recorder
A participant who records suggestions and decisions and reads back to the group during the session. (This is different from the facilitation secretary or recorder).
How to Do It
The facilitator is the obvious person to enable these roles as part of the intervention approach. However, I have declared myself, as a participant, as acting in one of these roles if the facilitator does not intervene. There is usually a lot going on when technical collaboration bogs down in a formally facilitated process, but active human roles are one of the fundamental elements of recovery.
Recovering Technical Collaboration
It’s been a while since I have had to do this type of intervention. I guess rule #1 as a facilitator is to collect things you have done successfully so that you can reflect and use them again. Rule #2 is not to kick yourself too hard. Remember, of the three things necessary for interactive communication, the one we control the least is outside forces changing the facilitation context. Just make sure you have good intervention approaches that can be implemented in a timely manner.
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JD Solomon is the author of Communicating Reliability, Risk & Resiliency to Decision Makers: How to Get Your Boss’s Boss to Understand and Facilitating with FINESSE: A Guide to Successful Business Solutions.