Facilitators Pave the Way for Diversity & Inclusion

September 5, 2018 1:57 pm

Michael Goldman, President of Facilitation First wanted to share a great article highlighting the role facilitation plays in diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Here are his thoughts on the Fast Company article, “What ‘Facilitation Really Means and Why It’s Key to the Future of Work”. Article excerpt below.

Back in the day when I attended my first facilitation skills workshop I walked out excited, enthralled and ready to take on the world using collaborative techniques to help enhance team and organizational performance. The only problem back then was much of the business world didn’t recognize the value of leveraging inclusion and diversity to drive better decision-making. Now 25 years later, organizations have come to recognize, as Brandon Klein (Fast Company) suggests, they ‘need people who know how to harness diversity of thought and channel it productively.’ I couldn’t agree more.

To ensure inclusion and to leverage diversity, facilitators must ensure safety so that all participants feel that they can contribute, therefore allowing unique perspectives to be added to the mix. Facilitators are therefore ‘engagement experts’ trained on a plethora of techniques that encourage all types of participants to engage and collaborate. Klein speaks to some of the tools such as: sub-grouping larger groups, encouraging the team to look at problems from different angles, and using facilitation to discuss tough conversations involving diversity and bias. This article reinforces the need for facilitation in the workplace for enhancing the ever-growing need for leveraging diversity and inclusion to help organizations achieve their goals.

What other ideas are you using or noticing that help to leverage diversity and inclusion in your organization? I am interested in your comments.

Michael Goldman


What “Facilitation” Really Means and Why It’s Key to the Future of Work

By Brandon Klein at Fast Company

Excerpt: Facilitation, Diversity and the Future of Work 

As the general population diversifies, so will the workplace of the future, and forward-looking companies are already hard at work to actively diversify their ranks. People with different backgrounds and points of view chipping away at the same problem together are more likely to reach creative solutions. But it isn’t inevitable that they’ll do so all on their own, without a facilitator to guide things. One reason facilitation is becoming an even more important job skill going forward is because organizations will need people who know how to harness all that diversity of thought and channel it productively.

Sometimes that comes down to your problem-solving approach, which may either encourage or discourage diversity of solutions. For example, are you looking at a problem from a 10-year vantage point or just trying to beat your immediate competitors? There are probably more ways of doing the former than the latter. Likewise, are you letting your teams examine each problem just once, or are you creating opportunities to take multiple stabs at a solution from a variety of angles over the course of a week or even a month? If you broaden your approach, you’ll get more people involved in finding answers.

Smaller groups can sometimes also harness the power of diversity better than large ones can. Facilitators should consider devoting half the time of a given session to having participants work on an issue in groups of three to eight people.

Finally, diverse workforces often need to be able to talk through issues of inclusion and bias, and those can be tough conversations. That’s all the more reason to train capable facilitators at every level of your company. Collaborating is never easy all the time–and it’s even harder when the issues and challenges you’re working on together create discomfort, anxiety, or fear. But those emotions aren’t going to vanish from the workplace anytime soon. So start practicing facilitation now, and you’ll future-proof your work culture for the more diverse, fast-moving world that’s heading our way.

 

For full article, click the link:

https://www.fastcompany.com/40467377/what-facilitation-really-means-and-why-its-key-to-the-future-of-work

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