Getting agreement and buy-in from varied stakeholders is a challenge which many leaders will face from time to time. The dilemma is two-fold. By taking the chair, does the leader risk steamrollering the process, leaving the group disenfranchised or feeling they haven’t had their say? Or by taking the chair, does he/she risk their voice not being heard as they try to involve everyone else, leaving with a decision he/she doesn’t agree with?

Level Up Leadership Facilitation allows the Leader to become an equal participant by employing an experienced and knowledgeable third party to get all stakeholders on the same page.  Not only that, but with the aid of a skilled facilitator, you will in all likelihood get to that point quicker and with fewer dissenters than without the neutral third-party support.

There are two key areas where Level Up Facilitation comes into its own;

Goal & Vision Alignment
This may involve a combination of Partners, Directors and/or Trustees, with the objective of getting agreement on the long term vision or goal of the organisation. Facilitation allows each stakeholders’ voice to be heard, and for objective assessment of the merits of different positions.

Where two or more organisations are looking to work together collaboratively, and where agreement on such things as Terms of Reference, Purpose and Vision, Values and Strategy is the goal. Facilitation allows the collaborators to have equal status in the discussion, and enables pertinent but sometimes sensitive questions to be asked from an objective standpoint, helping to overcome potential obstacles to that collaboration right at the outset.

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I was introduced to Level Up through a local business networking group about 18 months ago.  Transitioning from an HR career to Executive Search in 1997, I set up my own partnership over five years ago.  Although loving what I do, I couldn’t help feeling that we needed a bit of a refresh and have more focus on why our offering was different in a very crowded marketplace.

As an HR professional by background, I have met many business coaches; some better than others.  Although admittedly a little sceptical, I met Graeme Crosbie for coffee and soon felt that he ‘got me’ and understood why I was at a crossroads. We talked about how we might work together and what his kick start programme could offer. 

Having spent my whole career In the corporate world, I found I missed having a variety of people to brainstorm with.  Graeme has proved to be a strong business mentor.  The fact he also had a corporate background and had not worked with any other search firms proved to be a real asset.  He challenged my thinking and assumptions; we went back to basics and talked extensively about business and personal goals and how these could be achieved within realistic timelines.  

The kickstart programme was extremely useful.  For the first time in years, I found I actually dedicated quality time to thinking about what it was I wanted Theron to be.  We focused on what actually made us different; I stopped apologising for being a “small boutique” but learnt to embrace the good things about offering a bespoke, personal service to a few quality clients.  Of course I already knew the theory, but having to articulate USP’s and strategy to someone else makes it more ‘real’ and something you do as opposed to just having good intentions and never getting round to it because work takes over.  

Apart from growing revenue, we have had many successes including the redesign and relaunch of the website with genuine USP’s; extending our client base; recruiting a new Partner and maintaining focus and momentum.  

We are now on an Ontrack programme; meetings are less frequent, but they prove a useful medium for staying focused and doing the things I committed to do.  Some things continue to stay at the bottom of the pile, but I’m not sure that will ever change.  

Some of my network did not understand why I needed to see a business coach, especially with my background.  I have found it incredibly refreshing, not least because Graeme has helped me to look at things differently and has help me to add real value to my business.  I would absolutely have no hesitation in recommend him to other business professionals but only on the basis you want to take a cold hard look at yourself and realise that growth and change will only happen if you want it to.  Graeme can help, challenge and give an alternative perspective, but it’s down to you to do it.  

Fiona Makowski Managing Partner, Theron LLP March 18, 2018