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How Being a Great Facilitator Betters Your Business Outcomes with Jaren Murphy (Ep. #59)

The BetterManager Team
Building Better Managers Podcast Episode 59 - Jaren Murphy

Building Better Managers Podcast Episode #59: How Being a Great Facilitator Betters Your Business Outcomes with Jaren Murphy

All leaders and managers need to know how to effectively facilitate a meeting that brings together their team, peers, and customers in a meaningful way.

Our guest, Jaren Murphy, is the Vice President of Business Development at McCarthy Building Companies, a builder of water infrastructure and other commercial projects across the United States.

Jaren believes that while every meeting is different, you can start using key skills & tactics right now to improve your effectiveness--no matter the context or agenda.

Jaren’s Guide, Drive and Set strategy ensures you are: 1) Guiding the conversation (keeping it from going off the rails by staying focused on the goals), 2) Driving full engagement by creating a psychologically safe environment where diverse and innovative ideas are respected and considered, and 3) Setting expectations for follow-through and outcomes.

In this episode:

Meet Jaren Murphy

  • Jaren Murphy is a Vice President of Business Development at McCarthy Building Companies and has been in the Construction industry for 10 years.
  • He has a degree in Civil Engineering from Brigham Young University and has spent his career thus far building water infrastructure and commercial projects across the United States.
  • Jaren has been married to his beautiful wife Nikki for 5 and a half years and they have a 3 year old girl, Polly, a 1 year old boy, Jet, and one on the way. Jaren spends as much time as possible with his family, is an avid reader, and uses fitness to keep it all together.

What Is the Impact of a Great Facilitator?

  • Facilitation is a skill that is often overlooked, but is one of the most important skills to study & master over a career.
  • Meaningful facilitation guides conversation, drives engagement, and sets expectations and outcomes.
  • Facilitation creates order out of chaos and allows for diverse people and backgrounds come together and find the best solution to complex problems.

Organize Your Meetings Around These Four Pillars

  • Every meeting or problem solving session can be structured into four main blocks of questions to solve.
  • The first is Objective. You need to get everyone on the same page by defining why we are here and what we are trying to achieve. You can’t leave this step until you have full buy in.
  • The second is Reflective. Tapping emotion is powerful when trying to solve a complex problem because it allows the group to tap into more creative solutions - how the team feels about the problem matters! This can simply be a question of, “What are our biggest concerns and why do these worry us?”
  • The third is Interpretive, the peeling back of the layers and getting into the root of the issue. Questions such as “Why are we the best team for the client?” or “How will this affect our business?” are great and guide the team into the real solutions.
  • The fourth is Decisional. Questions like “What are the next steps for our group to implement this solution?” or “What is the schedule to come to a solution?” move the group to the path forward, the next step. There are often  many more steps to solve the issue, but there must be initial actions to put everything in motion. You cannot have everyone leave frustrated or fuzzy about why they were there and what must be done next.

Two Important Concepts to Be a Great Facilitator

  • Advocate vs Inquirer. In meetings and teams, advocacy is used to push a certain agenda or idea. While this is necessary in some circumstances, it's not the best role for a great facilitator to adopt.
  • As a facilitator, you need to lead as an Inquirer. You need to ask open-ended questions to get to the root of the problem and uncover the group dynamics. If you are viewed as advocating a certain idea instead of creating a great problem solving environment, you risk losing the ability to guide the group to its genius.
  • Vulnerability. The beautiful thing about facilitation is that you don’t have to be the expert. While knowledge about the field certainly helps, you can still be in a room of extremely talented and smart individuals with the goal of helping them come together and be more effective together.
  • You have to be vulnerable in that you don’t know everything. The team knows, and that’s what matters. Being in a head space of Inquirer vs Advocate takes vulnerability.

Next Steps

  • Find your style of facilitation.
  • Try incorporating a whiteboard into your presentations. This is easier in person, because body language plays such a huge role in driving engagement. So for virtual presentations, always try to use the software to show both the whiteboard and you.
  • Find opportunities to be the facilitator. Get out in front and you'll be seen as someone that can guide teams to positive outcomes - you will be seen very quickly as a leader.
  • Get out of comfort zone while trying this new skill. There are so many opportunities to feel uncomfortable, so be open to the big lessons you can learn on this new path forward.

Downloads & Resources

Follow Jaren on LinkedIn, Facebook and at McCarthy.com.

Subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform!

Check out our blog articles on Leadership here.

Jaren Murphy

Jaren Murphy is a Vice President of Business Development at McCarthy Building Companies and has been in the Construction industry for 10 years.

He has a degree in Civil Engineering from Brigham Young University and has spent his career thus far building water infrastructure and commercial projects across the United States.

Jaren has been married to his beautiful wife Nikki for 5 and a half years and they have a 3 year old girl, Polly, a 1 year old boy, Jet, and one on the way. Jaren spends as much time as possible with his family, is an avid reader, and uses fitness to keep it all together.

Episode Transcript
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