How to accelerate your business growth with business facilitators
“Facilitate” (verb) - to create group synergy, move a group or business towards a desired destination, or to make an action or process easy or easier.
A business facilitator is the person or people in your business who help you to create and accelerate momentum towards your business vision. They typically work horizontally across the organisation, they cut through white noise to focus on the things that matter, and act as the glue that binds people and initiatives together. They help teams stay accountable to each other, are great trouble-shooters, designers, activators and creators of calm, and can problem-solve and negotiate through internal storms of various magnitudes.
They’re invaluable, and fairly easy to recognise when you know what to look for. They typically bring energy, positive pressure and a focus on what matters. They’re often analytical, process-focused, can helicopter and are “straight-up” speakers of the truth. They say what they see, always respectfully. They honour the past, yet are future-oriented and love challenge. Everything is a problem-to-be-solved and they’re not fazed by failure. In fact, they seek it out so that they can learn, gain insights and help others grow. They are often extremely resilient and work at pace.
Three hats. In essence, business facilitators (or however they’re labelled them if you have them in your organisation) do three things outstandingly well:
- Create Clarity - They extract and translate the vision into actionable components, they enhance communication and consistency, they filter and re-direct ideas and they resolve issues and smooth relationships,
- Set Pace - They set the cadence for teams, they track results, create accountability and anticipate obstacles and mitigate risks especially in new initiatives,
- Boost Impact - They create and refine processes and systems, they drive projects and programs of work, they can enable sales and revenue and they actively promote and position the organisation.
It’s all about leverage and playing to strengths.
A business facilitator is at their most powerful when paired with game-changing business leaders, CEOs, founders or other visionary, who typically is at their best when focused on the bigger game of the market, customers, stakeholders and/or partners. While the visionary leader keeps their attention firmly on creating impact, the business facilitator works hand-in-glove to steward and foster the internal conditions that enable growth.
Finding business facilitators. Finding these multi-skilled, solution-oriented and widely experienced multi-taskers can be tricky, as they’re often not that clearly labelled. Inside your organisation, you might find them hiding in places where they’ve had wide oversight across the business, across customers, business operations and/or people programs. We’ve often found business facilitators in executive assistant roles, mid-level leader roles, in 2IC roles, chief-of-staff roles, in expert coaching roles, and/or in agile sprint leads or scrum master type roles.
The signs to look for are people who:
- have often been identified as high potentials but haven’t yet had the chance to step up,
- have been in the organisation a long time and have enjoyed a variety of experiences, secondments and acting roles,
- are often cited by others as being strong informal influencers or change agents,
- have a flair or reputation as being a “safe pair of hands” or a go-to person for leading higher risk, derailing or sensitive projects or programs.
Bringing in a business facilitator from outside the organisation is a second option to accelerate the changes that need to be made. By injecting external role-models, internal business facilitators also quickly “learn the trade” and carry on the legacy and momentum long after the external business facilitator steps out.
Discover your business facilitators. If you’re keen to find the people in your organisation who can accelerate your business growth, here are our tips:
- Create an in-depth, staged selection process that includes trial activities that you’ll be expecting your business facilitator to lead or complete.
- Design specific activities to assess how effectively they create clarity, set the pace and boost impact.
- Second people into the business facilitator role for specific timeframes (eg 3 months) so that they can warm up into the role, try it out themselves and be tested.
- Set them up with a role-model or coach who can help them bust myths, re-purpose, learn the role, establish relationships and gain traction with their new mandate.
- Educate the business leader/s with whom they are working to help them “get the most” out of their business facilitator – they can often turn their hands to much more than either of them might first have thought!
From our personal experiences, we have seen the power of this combination – whether the business facilitator is the right-hand to a founder or owner of an SME, the leader of a medium-larger organisation or within the business unit or whole of organisation for a larger operation. We’ve seen business facilitators work incredibly powerfully to change culture, to accelerate positive people experiences, to focus on high impact growth initiatives and/or to de-risk businesses and workforces.
Where are the opportunities to leverage your people into becoming growth accelerators for your business?
If you’d like a few ideas to spark thoughts for your business, drop Elisa an email at email@example.com