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Facilitation is like skiing. Preparation, practice and picking the right line are essential »

Facilitation is like skiing. Preparation, practice and picking the right line are essential. In other words, know your audience, know the outcome desired, and introduce a facilitation approach (style) that best fits the situation.

John Burdett outlines four facilitation styles. One size doesn't fit all. A masterful facilitator sees the four approaches as a rich pallet of behaviours to be mixed, matched and blended as the situation demands.

Insights from "Facilitation - the Forgotten Art" by John Burdett.

Excellence in facilitation shares much with what it means to be an outstanding coach »

Few companies teach facilitation as part of their leadership development agenda. And yet, if we want collaboration, if we want to grow teams, if we want to challenge talent in a meaningful way … being able to get the best out of meeting of minds becomes pretty important.

Excellence in facilitation shares much with what it means to be an outstanding coach:

  • Humility
  • Conduct with a hidden baton but don't start to play any of the instruments
  • Come with a beginner's mind … be open to being surprised
  • Pass power to the participants
  • Ask great questions
  • Push for clarity around what the real issue is but avoid suggesting potential solutions
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • Summarise what has been agreed to
  • Push for objective action regarding next steps

Good luck on your next opportunity to facilitate. It is one of the most difficult but at the same time rewarding leadership skills. Remember, from a career perspective, bringing the best out of a group session is something of a forgotten art.

Insights from "Facilitation - the Forgotten Art" by John Burdett.

Choosing a CEO of the USA - POTUS? »
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Selecting a leader to steer a country is an important decision, but it can be hard to make the right decision with all the opinions and hyperbole humming around us. In our work, we talk a lot about de-risking the selection process and thus shrinking the costs of a miss-hire.

Chris Swan asks what skills and abilities it takes to be a successful President of the United States (POTUS) and how voters (deciders) may evaluate presidential candidates. Chris suggests eight ideas to consider, framed by the four leadership sections developed by John Burdett:

  1. Direction - How a candidate sets the direction for the organisation.
  2. Delivery - How a candidate delivers with discipline in the direction.
  3. Development - The character and emotional range that runs through a candidate.
  4. Day-to-Day Dialogue - How a candidate communicates these ideas to others.

Choosing a CEO of the USA - POTUS? »

There is one fact of life that is impossible to ignore – tomorrow will be (very) different »
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There is one fact of life that is impossible to ignore – tomorrow will be (very) different. More specifically, the rate of change is getting faster – and about to get much faster. Being faster, however, is ultimately all about how people learn. It's a matter of adapt or perish.

How and what we learn is a product of the:

  • Nature of the experience,
  • Mental model (metaphor, theory, hypothesis, conceptual template) used to access the learning,
  • Quality of the questions posed,
  • Time set aside for reflection, and
  • Follow-up.

Ultimately, an investment in learning is about orchestrating change. In pursuit of that goal, learning starts with the experience. And it's not just learning fast at an individual or team level but building an environment where speed of learning becomes an organisation-wide competitive advantage.

If you're not fast, you're going to be last!

Insights from "Speed of Learning: The Ultimate Competitive Advantage" by John Burdett, Leadership advisor to TRANSEARCH International.

There is one fact of life that is impossible to ignore – tomorrow will be (very) different »

If you are a top executive, you don't owe it to yourself to be coached, but you do owe it to all of those whose lives you touch »
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If you are a top executive, you don't owe it to yourself to be coached, but you do owe it to all of those whose lives you touch. The coaching conversation must be informed by the emerging economic environment, tomorrow's customer's needs, and the business strategy. A number of coaching disciplines are common:

  • Coaching is about framing the conversation such that the coachee finds their own way (power to).
  • What the coach believes, the coachee will perceive. The coach must therefore work from the belief that the agreed outcome will (not might), could or should happen.
  • An experienced coach learns how to work from a beginner's mind.
  • To coach is to listen in the way the coachee has always wanted to be listened to.
  • To coach is to help connect the coachee with their own story, ask great questions, introduce a new metaphor, share a compelling story, open the door to best practice and personally model the behaviour being sought.
  • Coaching mastery draws on a robust coaching model, meaningful executive experience, cultural relevance, interpersonal sensitivity and mental agility.

Insights from "Coaching the CEO" by John O. Burdett, Leadership advisor to TRANSEARCH International.

If you are a top executive, you don't owe it to yourself to be coached, but you do owe it to all of those whose lives you touch »