Ray Moore and JD Solomon recently sat down and chatted about JD’s new book, Facilitating with FINESSE: How to Lead Others to Successful Business Solutions. The book is scheduled for release on May 31, 2023.
Ray: What is your new book about?
JD: It is a practitioner's guide for 10 common applications that technically trained professionals are frequently asked to facilitate. The range of applications covers quality and reliability techniques such as block diagrams and tree diagrams through master plans and strategic plans.
Ray: What is the premise of the book?
JD: Technically trained professionals are often enlisted to lead teams to workable solutions, despite not having facilitation training, The book is a practitioner's guide to move good facilitation to great facilitation.
Ray: How do you define facilitation?
JD: The simple definition is to make things easier. The working definition that I use, and that we use in the book and my workshops, is leading a group to solutions that are created, understood, and accepted by all.
Ray: Can everyone do that?
JD: That is one of the messages. A storyline in the book is about the epic journey of someone who comes to understand what effective facilitation means. Once professionals like project managers and subject matter experts understand what effective facilitation means, better decisions can be made about who and how we facilitate.
Ray: Why is great facilitation important?
JD: How the sessions are facilitated impacts the results of the techniques and applications we use. Leading a group to solutions that are created, understood, and accepted by all requires a proven approach.
Ray: What inspired you to write the book?
JD: Throughout my career, I have been a type of human bridge between groups like technical staff and senior management or engineering and operations. I have seen a lot of good facilitation and a lot of bad facilitation. As I facilitator, I have learned and sharpened my own facilitation. This book shares some of the key things I have learned over the years.
Ray: So, have you facilitated all ten applications in the book?
JD: Yes, multiple times and multiple locations for all ten. Most of which has been good, but I am also open about my mistakes and misjudgments.
Ray: What makes this book different than other books on facilitation?
JD: We do not waste a lot of time on the basics covered by most facilitation books. In fact, we only spend part of one chapter on the basics. This book focuses on ten practical areas and provides specific ways to facilitate them better. There is no other book with all of this in one place.
Ray: Why should someone spend $30 to buy this book?
JD: There is the only practical book on facilitation for technical professionals. We have organized it to be modular in the sense that you can skip over applications that do not apply to you at this point in your career. The book has also been priced affordably to reach more people, especially younger professionals, who are often thrown in over their heads before they know what is happening.