Now that we know what a facilitator does, we need to know when to use one. Any situation where more than one person needs to come to an agreement possibly needs a facilitator. The importance of the decision or the level of contention between the parties will heighten the need for a facilitator. While I can give many business examples, I will share with you a couple’s decision. Husband has a steady income job, wife is self employed. Wife’s business is doing extremely well and wants to buy a new car. She wants a BMW. Husband disagrees; he thinks that a Tucson is suitable. Back and forth with the pros and cons until I stepped in. I asked “What are the criteria for the car? The absolute must haves.” After they identified safety, price, reasonable maintenance, gas consumption, the wife piped up – “the bling factor”. The husband exploded “This is your first car. You want a BMW because the women in your support group all drive expensive cars.” My job at that time is to have the parties decide if first car or to be like all other business women is a criterion for decision making. (Also to work on cooling tempers before we can move forward to a decision.) We ranked the criteria from most to least important – reasonable maintenance (most), safety (least, since they agreed that more or less all the cars were safe). The cars were reviewed using the criteria as the filter. The Tuscon – no bling factor – and the BMW – high maintenance – were thrown out, and new options were brought into the mix. The couple did not have the information for the new options – since their focus was on the Tuscon and BMW. They now needed to do some home work on the market option. Now wife drives a cute Jeep that expresses her success and husband thinks it’s a good first car.
End note – Facilitation opens groups up to completely new ways of thinking that gives the group much more choices. More choices translates to better decision, fit for purpose, that every one can live with.