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FACILITATIONANDACTIONPLANNING

ImTomRomito.ImafacilitatorandIworkwithorganizationsthatwanttoimprove
themselves.ThisshortpaperexplainshowI,asafacilitator,helpthemdothatthroughaprocess
calledactionplanning.

WhenImeetwithagroupforthefirsttime,Iaskthemwhattheywanttoaccomplish.Usually,
theydontknowexactlywhattheywanttodo.Theyallmaintain,however,thattheireffortsare
fragmentedandunfocusedbecausetheydonthaveanymoney,theirboardsandofficersare
burnedout,andtheydonthaveaplanforthefuture.IexplainthatIcanofferthreewaystohelp
them.Theyareactionplanning,strategicplanning,andteambuilding.Allthreehavethe
objectiveofimprovinginternalmanagement,buttheydifferintheirapproachandintensity.I
decideontherightapproachtousebasedonmyassessmentofthegroupshealth,size,and
interest.

IftheorganizationImgoingtoworkwithisastartup,Iknowrightawaythatitsripefora
strategicplanningprocess.Iftheorganizationthathasbeeninexistenceforawhileandis
highperforming,however,theymayneedsomethinglessintensiveandtimeconsuming.What
theyusuallywantisawaytotightlyfocustheireffortsforthenextyearorsoinabouttwohours.
AusefulapproachthatIvedevelopedtohelpthemdothisisactionplanning.Herearethesteps
Iusedohelpthemdevelopanactionplan:

Developanagenda
.WhenIstepofthegroupwithmyfourflipchartsbehindme,Itell
thegroupthatIdonthaveanagenda.Itellthemtheydo,itsintheirheads,andmyjobisto
pullitoutofthemandgiveitshape.ThenIaskthem,So,whyarewehere?Ihavethemgive
metheirtopofmindreasonsforcomingtogether,andwecomeupwithaprioritizedlistoffive
totenobjectivestheywanttoaddress.

Fleshouteachagendaitem
.Onebyone,weexaminetheagendaitemsandIcapture
themostrelevantcontentonmyflipcharts,usingdifferentcoloredmarkerstoeasilydistinguish
thedifferentpoints.Almostimmediately,actionsbegintoemerge.

Createanactionplan
.Asactionsemerge,Itransferthemtoanactionplantemplate
thatIdrawononeoftheflipcharts.ThetemplateshowstheWhat,Who,andWhenforeach
action.TheWhatcrystallizesexactlywhatthegroupwantstodo.TheWhoandWhenestablish

BuildingCapacityinYourOrganization
2015TomRomito,Facilitator,Cleveland,OH44109USA
Email:
thomasmromito@gmail.com
Web:

http://www.tomromito.com

accountabilityforaccomplishingeachaction.Atthispoint,thefacilitatedworkshopisoverand
thegroupcanconductanybusinessortieuplooseendsbeforeweadjourn.

Disseminatetheactionplan
.Althoughthemeetingisover,myjobisnotdone.Itake
theflipchartsheetshomeandproducetheactionplanonan8X11inchdocument.ThenI
emailittothegroupororganizationalleaderforfurtherdisseminationtotheothermembers.

Whenguidedbyaskilledfacilitator,ahighperforminggroupcancreateanactionplanforthe
nextyearintwohours.TheyoftenmarvelthatIgotthemtoagreeonanything!SomegroupsI
havehelpedlikethisdonthavetomeetagainforanotheryear.Thenwerepeattheprocess.

BuildingCapacityinYourOrganization
2015TomRomito,Facilitator,Cleveland,OH44109USA
Email:
thomasmromito@gmail.com
Web:

http://www.tomromito.com