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Global Flipchart #16



September 2019

Is it even possible?


Hedvig Mossvall


When getting started with one of our most exciting projects to date - facilitating the New Shape Forum for Global Challenges Foundation in Stockholm May 2018 - this was one of my core tasks. I realised that the success for facilitating this event and the challenges we would face doing it - getting people from all over the world with different backgrounds, experience and knowledge, extremely passionate and some of them with a lot at stake to collaborate - was more than one. But that the one challenge at the core was to bring "my team" of 18 facilitators, with almost the same diversity although with the highest level of skills in facilitation, to become a high-performing team in less than a month.... What did I need to do to get this ship sailing, to get this large group to feel part of something and know why, how and what to do during three days?

We needed somewhere to bring the team together to start - as we were all starting out in different time-zones. By using Basecamp as a digital collaboration tool, making sure all information was in one place and no other communication channels was used, we made sure everyone had the same access to information at different times. We used doodle to schedule virtual meetings, we recorded meetings and made them accessible and had online time-set Q&As.

But most important: we moved through the first stages by having a clear WHY - a vision and a belief, the HOW and the values we shared were clearly stated as were the expectations on delivery, WHAT we needed to do was supported by structure, clear goals and roles as well as work in smaller teams within the teams.

By capturing good ideas from the smaller teams and bringing them to the table in the larger group, we quite quickly created an atmosphere of sharing, collaboration and support - with a clear focus on the task. The amount of trust and safety increased each day and although we may have walked away in complete anxiety on the night prior to the event which was full of preparation, we entered nervously on the Monday and we danced it off- literally- in the room before going out... and even metaphorically during the event.

Conclusion? Yes, it is possible! And it is possible to bring a diverse team to become a High Performing Team quite quickly. But it does require work, sometimes even hard work. With a vision, a clear Why, How, What you go a long way. Why we could embrace diversity and become inclusive in a short time would be that we all shared the acknowledgement of the passion and competence we all held for facilitation. It was easy to move past any cultural differences or ways of working knowing that this is what we share…

The facilitation effort of our team of facilitators at the New Shape Forum is one of my proudest moments. Not only because of the honourable topic and the opportunity for us to live our vision "to facilitate real change" but mostly because of how this group of 19 facilitators from all over the world and graphic recorders came together for performance in no time! A true dream team!

The effect? The New Shape Forum managed to create high performing teams that in 1,5 days modelled starting points of new ways of decision-making, reformation of the UN...

The insight? If you want to facilitate diversity and inclusion - find the common passion and competence map of the team and focus on shared values and appreciation. You’ll have a high performing organisation or team - delivering speed, accountability and collaboration in no time!