Community Transformation



Having internalized project goals and protocols, participants begin to work collectively and assume stronger leadership roles.

Having internalized project goals and objectives, participants begin to experience themselves as a collective entity focused on problem solving. Working group members are able to adjust their behavior and participation style to comport with the protocols and agreements that the group adopted earlier (including those that have had to be modified along the way).

Reliance on the facilitator for direction begins to lessen in this stage and group members start to assume stronger leadership roles. The facilitator can now shift emphasis from directing the process to coaching emerging leaders to lead the process and manage subject matter teams.

By becoming better acquainted with the substantive issues in front of them, group members align with their primary areas of interest and begin to focus on assignments related to the project deliverables.

In order to effectively work together, participants need to build trust in each other and in the process, and get comfortable assuming leadership and responsibility for the tasks.

Facilitator tasks:

  • Consolidate talking points that reflect the group’s thinking.
  • Break the larger products/deliverables into manageable incremental steps.
  • Assess the group’s capacity to write by giving small assignments to each caucus.
  • Begin to cede leadership by supporting group leaders to participate in agenda design and session planning.
  • Provide coaching for individuals as needed to enable them to strengthen their contributions to the work group team.

Participant tasks:

  • Adjust behavior and participation style to comport with previously adopted protocols.
  • Follow through on between-meeting assignments and be prepared for each session.
  • Become more involved in developing agendas, setting group direction, and thinking about document(s) to be produced.
  • Align with caucuses that focus on their primary areas of interest and understand the need to codify their findings and recommendations.

Convener perceives a power shift.
The working group’s growing cohesion can be perceived as threatening to the convener staff and can trigger confrontational or controlling behavior. It’s best to prepare both convener staff and group members for this possibility and explore constructive strategies for responding to these dynamics before they occur. The facilitator may need to reassure the convener staff that, at the end of the day, what they receive from the advisory group is a set of recommendations; this doesn’t force them to accede to a particular course of action.

Create a plan for turning over leadership.
As meeting management skills are modeled by the facilitator, the chair of a working group becomes more comfortable and relies less and less on the facilitator to conduct sessions. It helps to have worked out discrete signs the chair can use to signal the need for assistance or to invite the facilitator into a more directive role. The facilitator’s goal is to help the chair anticipate meeting challenges that might trigger facilitator involvement and equip the chair with the tools to address them. This might occur when it is necessary to deal with a hostile community member or handle disputes that arise between group members.

Related Examples

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