Facilitation Team Chartering and License Guide


A charter may be a simple one-page letter; it also can be a complex legal document covering years of work

In either extreme, four basic elements always exist:

o Problem(s) Defined.
o Outcomes and/or Objectives.
o Methods.
o Resources.


A. Problems Defined. Failure to agree on the problem leads inevitably, irrevocably to failure of any solution. A problem well identified is on the way to solution. In future planning efforts, problem definition is typically standard: Dysfunctional internal competition for resources.


B. Outcomes and Objectives. Integrate current and potential parochial planning efforts into an organization-wide, cohesive and stable document with built-in alternatives. Win a competitive advantage.


C. Methods. By specifying the methods to achieve the objectives of planning, both parties are committing to a zero-surprise scenario. Within the methods section of the charter, each of the following stages of the consulting process will be discussed. The methods section revisits each milestone passage.

1. Agreements and Projects. Most organizations typically have adjunct initiatives underway that impact on future planning. These initiatives normally differ from future planning; but they have an impact none-the-less. The future planning team must be aware of other projects' charters and progress. Thus, avoiding destructive cross-purposes.

2. Internal Points of Contact. Any successful planning effort must be well coordinated between the planning team and internal resources. Often, staff developers, training managers, or executive assistants are identified as internal resources for the planning team. Knowing who these key people are, and the type of support they are expected to provide is essential for a well coordinated effort.

3. Site Selections. Facilities must be dedicated for the future planning team to conduct their activities. External facilities will be required for off-site workshops, as appropriate.

4. Parameters. During interviews or during workshop sessions the planning authority must make known any events or conditions that are "off limits" for discussion.

5. Calendar Commitments. The following calendar commitments must be made so that assignments can be made and other resources can be obligated to the project:

a. Initial Planning Session - Chartering.
b. Prepare the organization.
c. Determine Organization Status.
d. Scan the Environment.
e. Develop Alternative Futures.
f. Develop Events Time-line.
g. Program Cultural Change.
h. Budget.
i. Establish Monitoring Mechanisms.
j. Implement; Sustain.

6. Assessment Methods. Decide interview questions. If additional assessment techniques are used, decide their implementation schedule to assure data is included in the preliminary status report (or is distributed prior to the workshop). Additional assessment methods may include:

a. Personal style inventories.
b. Document reviews.
c. Group interviews.
d. Observation.
e. Organization-wide surveys.
f. Customer/Vendor involvement sessions.
g. Statistical Examination.

7. Data-Collection Items. Using the Unifying Human Systems data base, select appropriate questions for interviews and surveys. Do this with some involvement of the planning authority.

8. Model Familiarization. All models for the assessment phase will be explained to the planning authority. These models are used to collect data and surface trends. If the planning authority is unfamiliar with the model, it can reduce credibility of the data.

9. Data Feedback Strategy. The client must agree to feed data back to the sources. The strategy should be formulated well in advance of the collection and trend identification process. The possibilities are to feed back - -

a. Raw data.
b. Trends indicated by the raw data.
c. Implications of trends.
d. Recommended courses of action.

Giving the raw data to those it was collected from is a hazard. Sources attempt to "guess" who provided what information. Reprisals from others within the organization are likely. Recommendation: that raw data be available and used with the client only to assure the credibility of trends.

Feeding back the trends indicated by the raw data is always recommended.

Drawing implications from trend data is dangerous - - unless the client system participates in the implication-drawing process. The planning authority must be able to take absolute ownership for the implications drawn.


Important Note:

It is imperative that the planners understand: ``Data'' is fact based on perception. The data collected constitutes the perception of those from whom it is collected. It may or may not be factual. It is a fact, however, that people have the perceptions they offer. To change anything without changing the perception is counter-productive. A perception, psychologically, is equivalent to fact.

10. Identify Key Staff. Planners frequently want to know what ``key staff'' means. The answer is a difficult one. Key staff includes members of the organization, and its primary advisors, who exert significant impact on cultural decisions behind which the planning authority will feel compelled to stand. Normally, this group will not exceed 20 people in any organization.

Typically, key staff will be interviewed, the extended staff and others will be surveyed, as needed for a complete assessment.

11. Select Core Group. The planning authority can identify a core planning group. This group provides continuity to the project.

This group should not exceed five to seven individuals selected for their diversity, longevity, competence, and candor. The planning authority may delegate selection of group members to someone else.

12. Decision Standard. The decision standard preferences for use in group settings should be outlined to the planning authority, and parameters established for the decision making process. The four standards are - -

a. Autocratic.
b. Democratic.
c. Consensual.
d. Concordant.

13. Facilitation Team License. The facilitation team leader must have empowerment to conduct interviews and other activities with the best interests of the whole organization in mind. The sponsor is always in a position to stop the intervention, and dismiss the team. Thus, it is imperative that a high degree of trust (mutual priorities) bond the two.

Some items that exemplify the facilitation team license include the following:

a. Advance permission to publicly explore alternatives with members of the key staff.
b. Advance permission to ask the client or key staff members, to keep a low profile in specific parts of the process. This assures others will participate.

c. Advance permission to exclude the key staff from discussions and voting on initiatives beyond the scope of their role(s).

d. Advance permission to interview any members of the organization, and ask questions about appropriate topics within the parameters of the project.

14. Workshop Design Approval. The workshop design requires discussion. The planning authority must approve the flow of the design without knowing and understanding the specifics.

15. Professional Fees. The planning authority must approve professional fees and related expenses for the project. Because of previous discussion, the estimate should be accurate. The planning authority, by now, has decided what the project will contain. It is desirable for the session to end with agreement and signatures on a contract.

16. Establish Evaluation Criteria. The initial charter, although subject to continuous modification and clarification, is an excellent place to identify subjective and objective evaluation criteria.

17. Identify Rules and Strategies. Any rules, strategies, or similar requirements can be written into the charter. If the future planning project, for example, must rely heavily on a government regulation or the works of a specific author, this can be identified here.

18. Authority to Obtain Information. The planning authority, or sponsor, must specify authority to release information to the action teams or others. As a corollary, this may also restrict the release of categories of information such as classified documents unrelated to the plan.

19. Milestone Treatment. The charter can specify what occurs at milestone attainment. If reports are due, specify. Milestone attainment also offers an ideal time to obligate resources for the next stage of a project.

20. Tailoring. The charter may specify use of either tailored or off-the-shelf materials in support of the project. If tailored, the degree should also go in this section. Also, if tailoring is used, an early meeting of "all project personnel" is beneficial.

21. Tracking Systems. Any tracking systems, automated or manual, or other software necessary to complete the project must be identified here. This paragraph creates the information management standards for the project.

22. Budget. If a budget is known, it can be attached to the charter. If unknown, the charter can specify the financial requirements of the project, or identify methods for billing and payment.


D. Resources. With methods determined, calculation and cost of resources move easily and accurately into place. Resources must be sufficient to bring implementation to a conclusion.

Typically the following resources must be identified:

1. People. People will be temporarily assigned to this project in short durations. Most often participation will be for a few hours at a time. In some instances, there may be several days involved. Supervisors must understand that these contributions are an essential ingredient in overall success.

2. Money. Money will be required to fuel this project. Some money will be lost through the participation of people who might otherwise be generating revenue for the organization. These investment may not realize a return immediately, so must be obligated cautiously.

3. Time. Time will be required for the strategic planning and implementation process to work well. This will directly equate to the time individuals will contribute to project teams and other events. Of equal importance, it will take time for seeds planted to bear fruit. WorkLife Culture Realignment will not take place overnight.

4. Facilities. The organization and/or QWLC will have to reserve facilities for activities.

5. Equipment. In many cases, it will be easier to use local equipment such as copying equipment and easels with pads.



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