Change - Strategic Facilitation

by Tony Mann

Common questions

  1. What is the role of a strategic facilitator and how does it differ from other roles?
  2. What is strategic facilitation?
  3. How does a strategic facilitator operate?
  4. What is process and how does it differ from the task?
  5. Are there any key models that a strategic facilitator uses?

1. What is the role of a strategic facilitator and how does it differ from other roles?

The strategic facilitator’s role exists to bring ‘strategic process’ to bear on any given situation in a changing environment. They design a way for an organisation to do the following:

  • Tackle a problem
  • Develop solutions
  • Create new ideas
  • Design a process to deliver a strategic pathway.

The emphasis is on the strategic process being put in place. The strategic facilitator does NOT bring technical/specialist knowledge and is not there to teach. So strategic facilitators do not get involved in the change agenda itself – they leave that to the managers/leaders. Their primary interest is in the strategic process.

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2. What is strategic facilitation?

Strategic facilitation is the symbiotic connection between the change agenda and the process required to achieve the desired outcomes. It is the strategic approach to delivering change and achieving project deliverables in the context of the organisation.

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3. How does a strategic facilitator operate?

They operate in the context of the process. They don’t get involved in defining the change agenda, leaving that to the manager/leader; however, they design, develop and manage the specific process that is appropriate to deliver the required outcomes.

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4. What is process and how does it differ from the task?

Process is the combination of using the most appropriate models/tools and applying this through the effective deployment of people in the best format. The task is ‘what is to be achieved’. Process is ‘how we achieve the outcomes’. Put simply, strategic process provides the means of addressing the change agenda, of finding ways to make headway. It offers, just as it does in a manufacturing environment, the means of production. It takes raw materials (ideas and thoughts) and turns them into a finished product with the minimum of waste (effort) and the maximisation of the resources (people’s time). Strategic process is the means of production, not the product, nor the raw materials, but it does take raw materials and turn them into finished product in the same way that, if you looked at a production line, you would see machinery which was taking the raw material and turning it into product.

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5. Are there any key models that a strategic facilitator uses?

The strategic facilitator has a ‘bag full’ of models and tools that they can use. However, their skill is in using the most appropriate one for each particular situation. The most important model, used at all stages, is the Process Iceberg® model.

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