Engaging an Appointed Council

I had the pleasure of facilitating a strategy session for a statewide nonprofit dedicated to improving community outcomes. My work focused on supporting their strategic planning efforts, fostering a dynamic environment for meaningful discussions, and equipping their Council of community members with practical tools for decision-making.

Engaging Conversations and Practical Tools

Our work together began with a series of preparatory meetings with staff, setting the stage for a productive half-day strategy session with the council. I engaged in detailed discussions with the organization’s leadership to align on desired outcomes and ensure that my approach would resonate with their desired outcomes for the session. This groundwork laid a solid foundation for a strategy session with the Council members that was designed to be both impactful and insightful.

During the session, I introduced several facilitation techniques, including the

  • User Experience Fishbowl
  • What, So What, Now What?
  • Agreement-Certainty Matrix

These tools were selected to stimulate creative thinking, prioritize projects effectively, and streamline decision-making processes. The participants were not just passive recipients of this knowledge—they actively engaged, displaying empathy, curiosity, and a genuine desire to address the challenges facing their community.

These methods are all part of the menu of Liberating Structures. Liberating Structures are a collection of facilitation methods that are designed to “unleash everybody”. They are great when you want to fully engage participants and do so in a way that is inclusive.

Measuring Impact and Progress

To gauge the effectiveness of our session, I conducted pre- and post-session assessments. These evaluations revealed significant growth in the participants’ familiarity with the facilitation methods introduced. The team’s confidence in using these tools for both idea generation and prioritization improved markedly, highlighting the session’s success in enhancing their strategic planning capabilities.

One of the most gratifying outcomes was seeing the participants feel energized and more cohesive as a council. They recognized the value of establishing a clear process for making decisions and expressed confidence in their collective ability to navigate the complexities of their work thoughtfully and effectively.

Building a Path Forward

The session generated a wealth of insights and action points. The council’s feedback underscored the importance of continuing to use the methods discussed, with an emphasis on prioritizing strategies and funding for high-impact projects. This approach ensures that they address pressing needs with a high degree of certainty and agreement, fostering a more targeted and effective allocation of resources.

As they move forward, I recommended that they revisit the Agreement-Certainty Matrix and Resource-Impact Matrix regularly. These tools will help them evaluate potential projects, ensuring alignment with their strategic goals and the collective vision of their community.

Reflecting on Our Journey

This project was a testament to the power of facilitation in bringing community leaders together, fostering collaboration, and driving strategic impact. By creating a space for honest dialogue and equipping the group with practical tools, I helped them build a solid foundation for their ongoing efforts.

At Bloom Facilitation, I believe in the importance of supporting the best of humanity—connection, meaning-making, and community. This project was a great example of these principles in action, and I am excited to see the positive impact our collaboration will continue to have on their mission-driven work.

A Note on Confidentiality

I didn’t name the organization or the group or share any distinguishing characteristics because the work we did together was confidential. All of the groups that I work with are given the benefit of confidentiality for our work together. I do not share who I am working with or what we are working on unless I have express permission to do so. This post is meant to illustrate the type of work that I do based on a project that I completed without violating the group’s privacy.