If you are facilitating a group that has been meeting for a while, you may have some group members who are continuing to be engaged and enthusiastic about the work while other group members have lost interest and moved on to other priorities. You may have achieved some tremendous successes and are trying to figure out what to do next or you may have encountered some conflict and competition that have made things a little more challenging to navigate and facilitate. Join me this week as I provide 3 recommendations on how to facilitate a group that has been meeting for a while and may be encountering one or more of the situations mentioned above.
- Check in. You may want to have a group discussion during your next meeting, conduct an electronic survey, paper survey, visit with group members individually or a combination of these methods. It’s important to assess the group and find out if the group’s purpose is still the same, what is working well, what could be improved, whether there needs to be new priorities or perhaps whether there is no longer a need for this group to me. As a facilitator, your job is to do lots of listening and to prompt group members to provide their perspective even if they are different from one another. Consider the example from last week’s post about our lung cancer group. When we checked in with them again after meeting for a few years, the group still enjoyed the networking and coordination aspect but wanted to move toward selecting projects to implement collectively. The group wanted to focus on priorities based on gaps and needs that only this group working together could meet. Each year, this group reconvenes to figure out which area(s) to focus on as a group and then finds ways to communicate and coordinate in other areas. It’s important to continue to check in with your group periodically to see if things are still the same or need to be modified or adjusted.
- Celebrate. Have you had successes? Have you been able to accomplish things together? Have you taken time to celebrate? Sometimes, we find ourselves moving to the next problem or challenge without taking time to reflect and celebrate our successes. If we’ve been meeting for a long time, it is challenging to continue working toward the next challenge without pausing to celebrate what has worked really well. This is particularly important if you want to continue working together on future projects.
- Catalyze. One of the benefits of a group that has been meeting together for a long time is that there may be opportunities to expand efforts through sub-groups or creating new groups. You may also be able to build upon the collective resources and relationships to take on a project or initiative that seemed impossible in the past that now has the right people in the right place at the right time to address. Use the check-in and celebration opportunities to figure out how you might be able to catalyze your work moving forward.
So what about you? What have you been able to do to facilitate groups that have been meeting together for a long time?
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