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Facilitating Powerful Conversations- 6 Key Ingredients for Inspiring Innovation

/ May 7, 2017 May 7, 2017


In Great by Choice, author Jim Collins states, “The factors that determine whether or not a company becomes truly great, even in a chaotic and uncertain world, lie largely within the hands of its people. It is not mainly a matter of what happens to them but a matter of what they create, what they do, and how well they do it.”


Whether you are facilitating a team through organizational change, or working through an organizational decision, effective facilitation can propel an organization into a better future.  There are a few key ingredients that enable progress and innovation.

  • Challenge ideas and norms as they exist today. As described by James Kouzes and Barry Posner in their book, The Truth about Leadership,the goal of a facilitator is to establish a group of forward-looking individuals and to provide them with a future-focused vision.
  • Establish frequent and regular steering meetings to align expectations and keep the team on course. These meetings will allow you to continue to drive progress towards your desired outcome.
  • Shift your focus from “speaking to the group” to “managing the group dialogue”. Empower the group to share their knowledge, thoughts and expertise among the team.
  • Get curious. As facilitator, you can’t know what it is that your team members are thinking unless you get curious.  Ask plenty of open-ended questions. Use steering meetings as a platform to ask key questions, such as:  “What is on your minds? What are your concerns? and What is success?”
  • Give praise for team member’s individual contributions and their collective efforts. The act of showing appreciation is an effective way to highlight the value of participation and collaboration.
  • Innovation often comes from productive debates so encourage and examine different ideas. Teams who try to preserve harmony, often overlook and ignore some of the better ideas that lead to innovation. These challenging discussions can lead to a strengthened team commitment.

This has been just a quick snapshot of the key ingredients to effective facilitation. If done well, facilitation will influence team development which can ultimately lead to higher quality working relationships and innovative opportunities.

If you are interested in how Exude can help you with developing facilitation skills for managers and leaders, contact us at We’d love to chat this through with you.