High-five breakthroughs and better decisions, faster.
Is your group facing an important strategic decision? Are you concerned that not everyone is engaging in your meetings? Do you spend hours in discussion but never come to a conclusion? Are you forming a new committee or coalition? We can help you with all that and more.
As professional facilitators, we make it easier for your group to discuss and decide things as a group. We help your group make better decisions, faster.
We manage the process so you can focus on the substance.
Learn more here about our clients’ results.
Learn about the five key hallmarks you can expect from every meeting with us.
See case studies from our clients.
We work with all kinds of groups: established and newly-formed, boards, task forces, committees, departments, stakeholders. We work with businesses, nonprofits, governments, communities, teams, and even families.
What You Get
We typically provide four phases of service, as follows:
- We begin all our projects with a planning meeting to discuss objectives, scope of work, logistics, and other considerations. Ideally this planning meeting will occur in person with a small group of people who know the project and the desired outcomes. A facilitator (Craig or Markos) will ask, “What do you want to achieve? What would success look like?” Answers to these questions will help the facilitator design a draft agenda(s) to match your objectives. We will revise the draft agenda(s) in collaboration with you.
- We prepare handouts, charts, slides, signs, and other materials as appropriate.
- Within reason we make and bring all handouts to the meeting.
- We want to make sure that the room is set up as ideally as possible to achieve the objectives and will often coordinate directly with facilities staff.
- We arrive on site 45-60 minutes in advance to do all room set-up
- We will become familiar with the meeting facilities and we will set up the meeting room. We typically bring all our own equipment such as easels, computers, projector, screen, etc.
- We provide supplies such as name tents, markers, and tools for brainstorming, multi-voting, tabletop surveys and other group decision techniques, as needed.
- We provide the four essential functions of high quality facilitation:
- Provide Structure
- Encourage Participation
- Reflect the Group
- Move the Group Forward
- We pride ourselves in facilitating creative processes that bring out the best in all members of your group. We use a variety of techniques to draw out all perspectives. Through efficient, disciplined approaches, we establish an inclusive and productive environment that fosters innovation and enthusiasm. We move groups toward shared understanding and agreement. We manage conflict objectively with compassion and respect. Our philosophy is to provide you with a framework on which to hang your own issues and ideas.
- During the meeting, key findings, themes and conclusions will be documented on a large screen or via screen sharing software, on our greenwall or on flip charts. As decisions are made they will be written on the spot for all to see in order to maximize shared understanding and agreement.
- For Standard Service, either Craig or Markos and an Associate will attend the meeting. Craig or Markos will serve as lead facilitator and the Associate will assist with dynamic facilitation techniques such as real-time documentation of ideas on screen, on-the-spot group surveys and analysis, and/or breakout group discussions.
- For Basic Service, either Craig or Markos handles all aspects facilitation.
- Participants will feel heard and will feel a sense of ownership of meeting outcomes.
- Participants will conclude that the process was a good, efficient use of their time. Objectives will be achieved, good group decisions will result, and participants will leave the meeting enthusiastic for more work together.
- Participants will be encouraged to fill out evaluation forms provided by us, and the results will be provided to you.
4. Follow-Up Report
- For Standard Service (Craig or Markos and an Associate)
- After the meeting (typically within two weeks) we will provide a nicely-formatted, well-organized, Complete Report which will include major themes, conclusions, and decisions, discussion comments (paraphrased in outline form), documentation of any next steps, a list of participants, agenda, ground rules, presentations and handouts as appropriate, and a table of contents.
- We will provide a draft report and give you a chance to suggest a round of edits which we will incorporate into a final version for you, suitable for publication.
- For Basic Service (just Craig or just Markos)
- Shortly after the meeting (typically within a few days) we will provide a Highlights Report summarizing the themes and conclusions as captured in the meeting. Notes are provided in Word and PDF. Edits extra.
- We would be happy to provide samples of reports we have prepared for clients, many of them posted at their own websites. Please just ask.
Types of Meetings we Facilitate
Annual Meetings and Retreats
WHAT: To reconnect, plan for the future, do creative in-depth thinking, address organizational dynamics, do team building or training, or tackle specific big-picture issues. On site or off. Half-day, full day, or multi-day.
WHY FACILITATION: We help the group find collaborative solutions to specific problems and build unity around a shared vision
WHO: For boards, senior staff, management teams, owners, and others who set long-term direction. Often led by a steering committee; often designed to consider the perspectives of many stakeholders.
WHAT: To establish or update vision, mission, strategic direction, goals, and strategies – together. From a half-day day session to a multiple-month process.
WHY FACILITATION: We help the group consider all input, stay focused, reach conclusions, and agree on action items, timelines, and specific responsibilities.
Learn more about our approach to Strategic Planning facilitation
Collaboration Kick-Off or Exploration
WHO: For newly forming coalitions, task forces, or committees; for explorations of mergers or partnerships; for existing coalitions/partnerships in transition
WHAT: To establish or update common purpose, shared values, clear mandates, and operating guidelines; to explore potential collaborations. Single session or multiple sessions.
WHY FACILITATION: We serve the group as whole and help parties stay focused on key tasks
Learn more about our facilitation services for mergers and collaborations
WHO: For communities, public agencies, or organizations seeking input before making policy or strategic decisions; for organizations testing an idea with potential users.
WHAT: To gather information from people who will be affected by, or who have a unique and valuable perspective on, specific decisions
WHY FACILITATION: We help participants stay on topic and feel heard; our analysis helps you understand key themes
Learn more about our focus groups, interviews, and survey services
WHO: For two or more parties in disagreement; for a group with a culture of conflict or a group that has been through a challenging incident
WHAT: To lay groundwork for strategic or policy decisions that have highly charged opposing interests; to debrief and rebuild after challenges; to arrive at a mediated decision. A single meeting or a series of meetings along with one-on-one work with each party.
WHY FACILITATION: We create a safe space to express perspectives and encourage parties to arrive at mutually satisfactory conclusions.
Learn more about our mediation services
Conference Facilitation and Summaries
WHO: For anyone who wants an inclusive, cohesive conference with participant interaction and participant-driven conclusions and action steps
WHAT: We help you design the agenda, facilitate conference committee planning meetings, facilitate specific conference sessions and panels, and manage breakout sessions or table discussions. We also summarize highlights and themes from the whole event in Endnote Speeches.
WHY FACILITATION: We help keep conference sessions running on schedule, maximize participant engagement, build a common understanding of key takeaways, and free you up to be more present at your event