Part 5 of Our Series 'Implementing Transformational Change' Facilitate Outside the Triangle

All substantial programmes in business improvement require an internal facilitator.

Sometimes these people are recognised in the business as Continuous or Business Improvement Managers and these people need to have or learn the skills to image standing slightly outside of their organisation that they’re working with.

This is a “mental visual aid” to ensure that they don’t get engrossed in the actual delivery and implementation of the tools and techniques required to achieve the change or improvement in the business and also not to get drawn into having the “baggage” that is carried by the managers. Being outside of the triangle allows one to remain objective too.

This person needs to hold a certain level in the organisation, probably a middle manager and this could be an assignment as a career development opportunity to give them further skills in working and influencing people without the direct positional power.


The diagram demonstrated this visual image and allows the internal facilitator to see two distinct activities within that role.

  1. Working with the middle management group identified as the “reds” in the diagram. They work to implement the appropriate tools and techniques and identify owners within that managers group. This is targeted deliberately at middle managers as they have the flexibility, time and positional influence to ensure that the tools and techniques are driven down, and used and understood effectively with the rest of the organisation, which are the “blues” in the diagram, identified as the workforce.
  2. The second element, which is often equal (50% of the time), is working with the Senior Managers identified as the “greens”. Working in steering team activities which includes; raising and addressing issues, creating appropriate communication and review processes to ensure the leaders are not directly responsible for the implementation of the improvements they should be accountable for ensuring the rest of the workforce are clear on the direction and the priorities. Often through the use of our tool ‘The 3 E’s’, Envisioning, Enabling and Energising.

So, the facilitator works with this group and ensures leadership is focussed in the right direction. Missing that element of the role of an internal facilitation, leaders aren’t always active in the implementation of improvements, which gives confusing messages to the rest of the organisation.

This understanding of being “outside of the triangle” is equally important for external facilitators (Management Consultants) too. It is so easy for the consultant to get drawn into the detail of the organisation’s issues and become less focused on the processes required to make change happen and become institutionalised into the client’s organisational culture and become less objective and more ineffective.

The core skills of the internal facilitator are listed below:

Martin Gummery, Managing Director, NewLeaf International Ltd

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