In People Skills

When I first heard about APMG’s plans to launch a new Facilitation skills certification it piqued my curiosity, as it’s such an important skill-set both for people working on projects and for consultants too.

We need quality decisions, and these involve gathering input from a wide range of people. This is where excellent facilitation skills can make so much difference. Consider these areas:

  • Decide on the best approach and how to move initiatives forward
  • Identify and agree priorities for requirements
  • Gain agreement and buy-in from stakeholders on key success criteria
  • Assess risks and appropriate management actions
  • Quickly resolve issues and agree on solutions to move forward
  • Approve changes to plans
  • Help teams work together more effectively
  • Monitor ongoing benefits and results

The project manager or sponsor can of course decide to just make decisions and tell people about them. But the old “command and control” style of management is not so effective any more. For one thing, in the more complex, uncertain and inter-related environments we work in, it is very unlikely that any one person has sufficient know-how for all the areas involved. So much more collaboration is needed to ensure the best solutions are found for the business. Secondly, others will still need to be “convinced” that the decisions are the right ones. Otherwise the business could end up with yet another change that no-one has adopted.

Of course, all this collaboration can seem like it will just take more time and introduce even more uncertainty – the last thing you need! It can also feel a bit “scary” – what if it doesn’t actually lead anywhere, there could be lots of talking and going around in circles, disagreements and opening up all sorts of issues, without actually achieving anything useful.

But good facilitation skills can avoid these common pitfalls. Chances are that you do a lot of facilitating already and most of it probably quite intuitively.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Even where we have intuitive responses that we believe are good ones, it pays to understand more about why certain things work, and why others don’t. By taking the time to focus on what you do, and what works, you can improve your skills and produce more consistent results.

This new APMG qualification offers a robust process for practising the feedback models and communication techniques that lead to success. It’s suitable for professionals of all disciplines, and the Foundation level takes just 3 days of highly interactive workshop, with the multiple-choice exam included as a part of the third day. The course covers the methodology for the facilitation skills that get decisions made and draw out the best from the competence and knowledge of the group. With a smoother process for decision making and progress, you can increase a group’s productivity, resolve issues faster and improve the quality of the results.

Facilitation is at the core of everything we do that involves other people. This new Facilitation Certification helps embed new skills in a very structured way,and can make you confident that you have the tools and processes to step into any situation and work through problems effectively to guarantee a strong result.

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