Using outcomes to create clarity through chaos.

“Clarity through chaos.”

“We came together and found we had a common goal.”

 I value this feedback from participants in two sessions I facilitated recently.

Their success started when the group and I met before the session and articulated clear outcomes. 💯 We identified the concrete and experiential outcomes; terms I learned during outstanding facilitation training with ICA Associates Inc.

A concrete, or rational, outcome is tangible. It may be the decisions made by the end of the session; the knowledge participants gain and can articulate; the product such as a written document; or the identification of the next steps.

An experiential outcome is behavioural and usually emotional. It indicates how the group may be different at the end of the discussion or session; e.g. they may be relieved they addressed a sensitive topic and resolved it; they may be excited by their decision; they may feel aligned; they may feel they trust each other more. An experiential outcome arises from what participants feel as they go through their session together.

 Before the sessions, clients typically emphasize the concrete outcomes, such as the description of their 10-year future or a strategic plan. Yet, at the end of the session, they more often talk about their experimental outcomes – what they feel, how they worked together, and how they are different. This is what the two individuals in their following stories expressed.

“The Clarity through Chaos” story

The “clarity through chaos” observation came after each participant identified ideas and the group created themes from the ideas. Many small and large post-it notes were on the wall – the chaos.

The group, then sitting in a circle, explored the future of their organization using the themed trends. They achieved a clear description of their future, and, they marveled at how clarity came.

“We Found Our Common Goal” story

Before our session, a group told me they couldn’t agree on aspects of their organization. At the session, we used the Consensus Method of the Technology of Participation and identified goals and strategies. The participants said they observed great alignment among their ideas. They said that they needed the opportunity to engage with each other, to share their ideas, and to listen to the ideas of others. They feel confident about their work together and more collaborative.

Outcomes work!

Clarity through chaos is an apt description of facilitated sessions. A facilitator can help people in groups hold beneficial conversations, make productive decisions, and as a group, feel engaged, motivated, and connected. To achieve these results, setting the stage includes agreeing to concrete and experiential outcomes.

Using outcomes to create clarity through chaos.