How many times have you sat with your colleagues in a heated debate without a tangible decision or outcome? If you’re like most people the question is more properly stated as “when haven’t I?”. Well you’re not alone. I’ve come across many committees and organizations that have needed assistance to help them make critical decision points because as a whole they could not perform the function efficiently. Enter client facilitation. It’s a skillet that many MBA types possess, but from my experience clients don’t take much advantage of. One can assume if you’re able to make quicker decisions you may achieve quicker business value. So if you need help getting to an endpoint, maybe turn to your favorite consultant. Below are a few traits of a “client facilitator” that you should be cognizant of.
A client faciliator is a person that can:
- Master analysis skills of the trade: use top-down logical reasoning, use many analytical frameworks, work analyses from multiple directions
- Communicate well: whether it be via face-to-face conversation, writing, phone, or instant messaging (yikes)
- Teach and frame things properly: because interactions with parties may be varied, quick and because parties may have varying levels of knowledge, one must be able to ramp-up conversation levels quickly and put them in the proper context
- Recognize where the organization is at and how decisions are made: is the marketing department behind in their understanding? who does the CEO look to as his/her right hand? if so, what are the steps to getting the right hand on-board or up-to-speed? how do we get things to tip? can we get there in one step or will it take two steps?
- Lead people *without formal authority*: can you educate people, empathize with the organization, get the organization to trust you, and pave a vision and/or outline a set of tradeoffs with such clarity that motion must happen?
In my opinion, the last skill is probably the most important aspect to master regarding client facilitation. Client facilitation skills are specialized leadership skills which are all about leading people without formally being in charge.
About the author –Hassan Mahmud is an Principal of WEKGroup, LLC a project and management consultancy specializing in forward thinking and technology adoption within the pharmaceutical industry. Mahmud bring years of meeting facilitation experience to his client which typically include senior and executive staff at biopharmaceutical organizations. For more information on Mahmud and WEKGroup’s services, you can visit them online.