Facilitation is the process of guiding a discussion and may include exploring issues, clarifying decision making criteria, asking questions to focus ideas, managing group dynamics, resolving conflict, and achieving outcomes that are fully supported by the participants. (“Facilitated negotiation” is one definition of mediation.)
The Mediation Group’s professional facilitators are neutral, experienced and compassionate — the right combination to foster targeted and purposeful discussion. We use facilitation to meet our clients’ needs in four ways.
For some of our clients, having The Mediation Group facilitate their meeting or retreat is a one-time event. For these engagements, an outside, neutral facilitator is better equipped to design a productive meeting, keep the conversation on track, enable the participation of all members, clarify decisions, solidify action plans, and address unresolved conflict. By handing over facilitation duties, all participants are able to participate fully.
Facilitation can also provide an ideal laboratory for understanding and improving group dynamics. During meetings, The Mediation Group’s facilitators can identify behaviors and patterns that benefit the group and those that are holding it back. With guidance from a skilled, caring and experienced facilitator, groups can cultivate productive group norms and behaviors that transform their meetings into powerful tools for change and progress.
For other clients, facilitation is part of a larger intervention. For example, our organizational development work such as developing a strategic vision or revamping a performance management approach involves a great deal of work conducted through facilitation.
Effectively engaging the public in a deliberative dialogue on important community matters is no small task. The groups are often large, the issues are critical and groups have polarized into opposing camps. Details may be technical and complex. Careful consideration of the process and framing of the issues can mean the difference between forward momentum and stalemate. The Mediation Group’s facilitators have both the experience and expertise to assist public officials and community leaders in managing and facilitating contentious public engagement to explore issues, build buy-in and reach decisions.
Partnering is the process of anticipating challenges in multi-stakeholder processes and developing strategies and protocols for resolving them before they arise. The Mediation Group has provided partnering services for a variety of large-scale projects including highway construction and coastal flood damage control, working with public agencies, construction contractors, the impacted community and other stakeholders.
Examples of Our Work
The Mediation Group has provided facilitation services to a broad spectrum of public and private sector clients in both small and large group settings concerning a variety of issues. Three examples of our facilitation work include working with the Federal Aviation Administration on the Massachusetts Port Authority Noise Abatement Study for Logan International Airport, facilitating the New York State Roundtable on the Future of Biosolids, and working with the Massachusetts Highway Department and various stakeholders to anticipate problems during major road construction such as Route 2 Acton/Littleton/Boxborough and I-91 Viaduct Partnering Follow-up / Problem Solving.
Our Experts Specializing in Facilitation