Roles and Duties of the Process Facilitator

from Network E-mails contributed by Frances Gillard, Gail Taylor, Patsy Kahoe, Jon Foley

(published 01/16/1997)

 Introduction: What's What and Who's Who
Both the Key Facilitator and the Process Facilitator manage the 7 Domains but from different vantage points. The Key Facilitator catalyzes the work of the participants in a DesignShop® event or Workshop, while the Process Facilitator catalyzes the work of the KreW in support of the participants. The Process Facilitator also coordinates the facilitation of the Key Facilitator.

The Role of Process Facilitation in the Enterprise in General
Before the advent of the personal computer and local/wide area networks, organizations used administrative personnel to support the work of management teams and other work units. The idea was to relieve these teams of the necessity of performing a wide variety of highly technical skills associated with information management, such as filing, typing, telephoning. I used the phrase "highly technical" in a very exact way. Secretaries performed many tasks that executives could not perform efficiently and with precision. Witness the mess that most executives produce of filing systems. Administrative assistants brought a level of organization and a different kind of thinking to the executive and work team environment, complementing the strategic and analytic thinking of the executive and work team with the global thinking skills of the administrative assistant.

Sharp executives gave their assistants wide latitude in decision-making and providing for the support of smooth operations and logistics. These assistants also facilitated access to their bosses and served as time and information management consultants. Good administrative assistants documented events (meetings, conversations, the dictation of thoughts), maintained the central Knowledge-base, handled distribution, gathered and organized feedback, participated in the design of follow-on events and prepared the read-ahead material for the next round of meetings. Knowledge Workers in the MG Taylor network will recognize this cycle as the Ten Step Knowledge Management Model.

Today, the role of administrative assistant is being overhauled, often with disastrous results when they are thoughtlessly eliminated. Many business people mistook the tools of administrative administration for the role. Now that many executives are comfortable with using computers to handle filing, messaging and scheduling, they mistakenly look at the old administration role as outdated, redundant, and disposable.

Unfortunately, they eliminated two elements vital to the success of the enterprise; (1) a capability to facilitate the management of information, and (2) an informal political network that contributed to the homeostasis of the enterprise--smoothing out the bumps.

At MG Taylor Corporation, we've rejuvenated the role of information facilitator through the concept of a KreW of Knowledge Workers who are highly skilled in the processing and manufacture of messages--converting them into information by assigning value and meaning to them--and in the distribution and tracking of this information to aid in the rapid design and implementation of highly effective strategies.

The KreW facilitates and catalyzes the participants who are engaged in the creative design process. The Process Facilitator is a KreW member who facilitates and catalyzes the actions of the KreW.

Relationships Between the Players
Below is a diagram showing all of the players in the Process Facilitator's game. Following that is a table describing each of the players and the relationship they have with the Process Facilitator.

For a description of the glyphs and symbols used in this diagram, refer to the Business of Enterprise model glyphs.

Team/Player Role and Relationship With Process Facilitator (PF)
Client Relationship Team
Key Facilitator Manages the relationship with the client and client sponsor; leads in the design of the process; guides the participants through the process. The PF and Key Facilitator may work very closely on the selection of KreW, the design of the event, and special considerations for logistics. Sometimes the PF prepares a straw dog design of the event in advance of the Walk Thru.
Client Sponsor The key stakeholder in the engagement of the client with the DesignShop event. Participates in the development of the design during the Sponsor Session (Discovery Day) and the Walk Thru. The PF may not have any direct work to do with the Client Sponsor, and usually works through the Client Logistics person instead.
Logistics Team
Client Logistics The representative from the client who makes the travel and other logistics arrangements for the participants. Sometimes this individual will make hotel reservations for KreW, but usually this is covered by the Local Center Logistics person, or the Super KWIB. The PF, however, should ensure that the Client Logistics person receives accurate and timely information concerning the event's location, dates, times, and participants.
Super KWIB The master event coordinator and repository for event information in the network. Maintains connections with local center KWIB's and in the case of RDS deployments, may play the role of Local Center Logistics. The PF copies this individual on all event-oriented correspondence.
RDS Coordinator If the event will be held in a hotel or other facility that does not have a permanent Management Center, then a Rapid Deployment System® environment will be delivered and set up. The individual responsible for transporting, erecting and dismantling the RDS™ environment is the Coordinator. Handles all aspects of the RDS including coordination with the hotel. During an RDS, the PF or the Super KWIB may play the role of Local Center Logistics with the hotel staff.
Local Center Logistics Lead If the DesignShop event is being held in some existing Management Center environment, that center usually provides a representative to work with the KreW on an ad-hoc basis to manage logistics for the session, including catering, supplies, and lodging. This individual may occasionally be the local center KWIB as well. The PF should ensure that this individual receives timely information concerning the event and should monitor progress in this area as well.
Scheduling Maintains a list of all MG Taylor Network members and their past work and skills. Also keeps track of the monthly availability of network members through the use of "Bird Calls." Assists the PF in the selection of the KreW for the event based on availability and skill mix.
Financial Team
Financial Handles the disbursement of fees and expenses for the individuals involved in the event as well as any direct costs related to the event. The PF should ensure that all KreW members submit projected expense information before the event and expense reports within 10 days following the event.
KreW Lead A designated individual who will coordinate the fulfillment of a certain type of activity during the event. Each KreW Lead will have individuals who volunteer to work on their team, but these people will frequently be assigned to work on other teams as well. So the KreW Lead handles the management function for his or her area but is not a manager in the traditional sense of the word. Again, they facilitate the completion of the work. The PF usually selects and designates the KreW Leads. Some of the areas that may require leads include: Knowledge Wall, Writing, Graphics, Video, Documentation, Environment, Logistics, Production (Physical and Electronic) and Music.
KreW Member The PF usually selects his or her KreW along with input from Scheduling and the Key Facilitator. KreW members are the producers in the Information Factory that we call a DesignShop process, thereby facilitating the work of the participants. KreW members are categorized by experience into several categories: Explorer, Novice, Journeyman, Speaker


General Checklist

Before a DesignShop or Workshop

  • KreW Selection
    • Select the KreW based on budget guidelines and working with the STEW team on scheduling and the Key Facilitator.
    • Select the KreW with a proper mix of skills (KreW Leads are very important here) and levels of experience. A mix of 1/3 experienced (Speaker/Journeyman), 1/3 moderately experienced (Novices), and 1/3 inexperienced (Explorers--first time out) seems to work well and also provides for the growth of the network. The combination of people makes the team, and this is more than just skills, dollars and experience. "An ant is no thing. An ant hill is something very special."
    • Emphasize the selection of local KreW members if the event is at a Management Center or KnOwhere store. At least 1/3 of the team should be local.
    • Make sure KreW communicate information with the Process Facilitator, Key Facilitator, Patsy, Gail and Jon copied. If the information is financial, RK should be copied as well.
  • Accommodations and Logistics
    • Send out accommodation and logistical information a few days before the KreW travels. Include dates and times of departure, address and phone numbers of hotels, special information for getting to and from the airport, amenities and facilities that the hotel does or does not have (hair dryers, irons, exercise rooms, etc.), check-in and check-out times.
    • If we're selecting the hotel for the participants, make sure the Client Logistics Contact knows the proper information to facilitate their end of planning.
    • Ensure that the planning for catering has been done.
  • Sponsor Session (Discovery Day)
    • Plan on attending!
    • Arrange for logistics and the environment to be in place. If the Sponsor Session is conducted at the client's offices, it may be possible to ship in a set of WorkWall™ units. Otherwise, flip charts and other conventional equipment can be substituted.
    • Provide a documentor, computer, printer access, and a video camera with tripod to capture the session.
    • Prepare name tags, wall copy templates, and other prep items.
    • Ensure that someone is handling invitations, food, and hotels. This individual may be the Client Logistics person, or the Super KWIB (Patsy).
    • After the Sponsor Session, pass along information concerning the event to the rest of the KreW, compose and distribute a straw dog design of the event, make any special assignments or expectations for KreW Leads.
  • Orientation, Walk Thru and Prep
    • It may be necessary or desirable to hold an orientation for KreW, especially if a number of them are new. There are several well-designed precedents for this. See this article. This can range from a few hours to an entire day in length and may offer opportunities for individuals to learn and practice different skills. Orientations must be included in the budget and approved by RK and the Key Facilitator.
    • Ensure that during the Walk Thru the KreW is attuned to new assignments that may restructure the team.
    • Facilitate the preparation for Day One of the event.

During the event

  • Run like hell to keep up! Very few people in the session will have the vantage point or perspective that you do. You're free to wander around and sample all sorts of happenings and work as they're being done. You're in the best position to formulate the questions that KreW members need to help them anticipate future demands, or adjust behavior and performance to match changing specifications.
  • Assemble the KreW first thing each day and when the participants leave each night for a circle-up. Pull them together at other times as necessary to give them the big picture. This is especially critical when the design and schedule begin shifting or when large logistics demands are going to be made (wall copy of take-a-panel exercises, set-up and tear down of tables and chairs).
  • Make sure that the Key Facilitator knows what they need to know about the condition of preparedness for upcoming modules or demand for specific products or information during the session.

Following the event

  • Administration
    • Check to ensure KreW members know to submit expense forms to RK
    • Give performance feedback to the Explorers on your KreW
    • Give the KreW feedback forms to complete, which should be returned to you within a week of the conclusion of the event.
  • Journal and Work Product
    • If there is a Journal to be produced, follow it through to confirmation of receipt by participants and KreW. Report this confirmation to the Key Facilitator. You should be the one to give the master copy of the Journal a "go" before it goes to the printer or to be pressed on CD.
    • Support the efforts of both the Journal and Work Product teams to whatever degree is necessary. These efforts, however, are usually self-organizing.
  • After Action Report
    • Prepare an after-action report from the session of lessons learned, or describing some new technique, process or tool that other PF's might find interesting and valuable. Send this report via E-mail to the network. Some reports are published online in the Journal of Transition Management.
    • write a short wrap-up (outcomes/stories/learnings/) to add to the pre-event information posted on the event calendar on the website to bring the site to closure. Include data like the final number of participants, final crew, journal and work product information.

copyright © 1997, MG Taylor Corporation and Gail Taylor. All rights reserved
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