The Fundamentals of Collaboration by Design: Working with Group Dynamics


This 3-day course begins with the one-day Core Module: Collaboration by Design. Those who have already taken this module will join 22-23 November to explore:

  • Keeping One Eye on Process Tasks and the Other on Group Dynamics
  • Encouraging Healthy Debate and Harmony
  • Fostering Ownership and Self-Reliance in Collaborative Groups
  • Guiding Participant Engagement (Before, During, Between, and After Meetings and Workshops)

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21 NOVEMBER: THE CORE MODULE

Does your work involve convening people for purposeful collaboration? Would you like to more effectively and efficiently achieve the desired outcomes from processes involving groups of people working together? Do these outcomes include the required outputs, as well as inter-institutional and inter-personal relationships important for the future? 

As the foundation of the Bright Green Learning Academy, this core module will help you strengthen your skills and competencies to better design and run collaborative processes, workshops and meetings. It will explore the key competencies expected of a collaborative process manager throughout all stages of the process.  You will identify your personal behavioural preferences and the impact they have on you as a process facilitator.  You will generate personalized strategies for further strengthening your facilitation practice.  Using a methodology tried, tested and continuously improved, you will learn what process facilitation is and what it is not; its role and value.  And you will learn the difference between facilitation and moderation; between facilitator and moderator. You will practice collaborative process facilitation – from agenda and activity design, to in-session small group work.  Additionally you will receive feedback from your peers and trainers, advising on your strengths and providing suggestions for improvement. Your assumptions about what is possible in a given context may well be challenged!

Whether interacting with internal teams or groups of external experts, you will use what you learn everyday in your job.  Not only will you have increased skills and confidence when officially ‘facilitating’; you will also find value in informal contexts as you become increasingly aware of the importance of generating both required outputs and relationships for future success, and of how to achieve this.

Before the one-day module there is some light pre-course reading and short preparatory exercises. Then during our day together we use many interactive collaboration and facilitation methodologies, ensuring the learning experience is highly interactive, experiential and reflective.  As active participants, we will tap into your expertise and that of your peers, complementing this with that of the module trainers, from years of practice in many diverse contexts.

Applying what you have learned, you will more effectively and efficiently achieve desired outcomes from processes involving groups of people working together.  And you will be more self-aware and able to use this to your own advantage as well as that of the teams, groups and organizations with which you work.

22-23 NOVEMBER:

KEEPING ONE EYE ON PROCESS TASKS AND THE OTHER ON GROUP DYNAMICS

Do you struggle to keep track of group dynamics, getting swept up instead in the task and content of discussions? Or are you rather someone who gets swept up in the dynamics of the group and loses track of the task and content of discussions?  We all have a tendency one way or another. 

This module will help you identify strategies to achieve better balance.  We place particular emphasis on mastering the art of designing processes and agendas that are structured, logical and outcome-driven; and at the same time flexible, allowing for flow and emergence. You will get design ideas to help you keep one eye on the group dynamics and an eye on process tasks, including ways of getting the group to help you!

ENCOURAGING HEALTHY DEBATE AND HARMONY

How do you make sure your desire for harmony doesn't skew the process when debate may be beneficial / necessary?  Or perhaps the challenge for you is rather how to make sure your desire for debate doesn’t hinder agreement and moving forward? 

In this module we look at how to anticipate and explore potential areas of conflict.  For instance, when debate and potential conflict is on the agenda, we look at how you can design for it using great techniques for exploring contentious issues whilst maintaining a generative group process.   We consider also what to do when it arises, unanticipated.  This course will give you the confidence to encourage healthy debate and also the know-how to stop debating (which may be something only a few of your participants are doing anyway) when it’s time to move things along harmoniously.

FOSTERING OWNERSHIP AND SELF-RELIANCE IN COLLABORATIVE GROUPS

To what extent are the collaborative groups of which you are a part dependent on you as the leader or facilitator of the process? To what extent are you valuably and dependably guiding the process, whilst also fostering ownership by all group members, and encouraging self-reliance? 

This module explores these questions, guiding you through a self-reflection. It then provides you with a suite of approaches and methodologies to help you strengthen the design of your processes, minimize dependence on you (so that you can channel your energies into best facilitating collaboration rather than avoiding disintegration), and help you better foster ownership, self-reliance and group identity for greater resilience and results!  

GUIDING PARTICIPANT ENGAGEMENT (BEFORE, DURING, BETWEEN AND AFTER MEETINGS AND WORKSHOPS)

How well do you succeed in optimizing participant engagement throughout your collaborative processes?  In many processes, meetings and workshops are used to generate great energy and ideas, however as soon as people leave the room this dissipates and engagement in the process quickly fades.  So what can you do to guide and sustain participant engagement at optimal levels throughout a process? 

In this module the trainers will help you think through and structure your own, bespoke answers to these questions – as you put in place an action plan to optimize participant engagement for greatest results - before, during, between and after meetings and workshops.

This 3 day course is 6 learning units (4 if you've already taken the core module).