The new third edition of The Facilitator’s Fieldbook would suggest that prior publications have been well received and, given the material this book contains, rightfully so. The authors’ main premise is that the use of groups and teams has become increasingly prominent in business strategies and change efforts, and that facilitation enables success to occur within such groups.
Facilitation is defined in the book as “the design and management of structures and processes that help a group do its work and minimize the common problems people have working together.” There is a degree of complexity to the processes described and thus, it is by no means a quick read, requiring careful study to understand and be able to utilize the suggested methodology to become a competent facilitator.
The authors do offer a suggested training course over three days, taught by a highly experienced facilitator, for beginning and intermediate facilitators. There are those who would not have conceived there was so much to study and learn about “running a good meeting,” and indeed, this reviewer was surprised at the numerous concepts suggested in this somewhat lengthy treatise. The task of creating meeting records, minutes, and moving forward, and the detail involved in Section III took a surprising 30 pages to cover.
Nevertheless, it is always worthwhile to carefully consider the recommendations of knowledgeable folk with the background and experience of Justice and Jamieson.
The third edition addresses new issues as well, such as facilitating a “virtual meeting,” and specific mediation techniques used by professional mediators, with an emphasis on productivity. It also includes “The Decision Matrix.”
The Facilitator’s Fieldbook is a good publication for professionals who want to be facilitators, as well as for those who are already in the field.