Group conflict facilitation can be about...
understanding: we want a facilitated opportunity to hear from each other about our experiences, visions, and ideas. maybe we sense that there's some discord in the group, maybe we have a big decision we need to make, or maybe there's been a specific incident or disagreement that we need to form a collective understanding around, in order to move forward.
celebration/gratitude: we want an opportunity to show love, care, respect, and celebration for one another; a facilitated space for each person and group to be affirmed and validated would help us to reward the collective as a whole and subvert individualization.
decision-making: we need support in making a complex or divisive decision, where all voices are heard, creativity and imagination are encouraged, we are able to weigh options based on our values and goals, and make final decisions that are mutually beneficial to the collective/cooperative.
healing/repair: we want a facilitated process for hearing from people impacted by a particular incident or a specific form of structural violence, so that we can process harm, learn what is needed for healing, and generate support for that healing, repair, or amends to take place.
transformation: we want a facilitated process for identifying underlying causes of conflict, harm, or discord in our group(s)/communities, and a process for developing ideas and goals for making lasting change to our relationships, structures, systems, or culture.
I have more than a decade and a half of experience with organizations/affinities in the racial justice, economic justice/mutual aid, and anti-oppression space as an organizer myself, and half a decade as a facilitator of conflict processes within and across those groups. I believe that we must begin to develop processes for addressing conflict before crisis occurs and tears our organizations apart.
Below, you'll find all kinds of important information we'll need to figure out together before we start a process. Please review before reaching out and ask me any questions you have during the intake process.
To begin group facilitation, have someone who can serve as an internal coordinator (knowledgeable about the people and concerns involved, able to help coordinate meetings) schedule a free 15-minute intake (held virtually on zoom) or email me.
what you can expect
Sliding Scale Fee: $75 - $200/hour for in-session time
You are charged for in-session time (whenever we are meeting either as a whole group or smaller groups), but those funds also cover the out-of-session work such as planning and responding to questions.
Lower end for organizations without consistent funds.
Higher end for NGOs, 501(c)3s, and for-profit groups.
If funds are a problem, please let me know. I am willing to negotiate.
A process is shaped by the goals you have for the process. After intake, I will design a process composed of sessions that will help you to reach those goals. While no conflict process is the same, we'll generally follow this pattern with some or all of these components:
Initial Intake: You reach out to me, we discuss your needs, and determine whether we're a good fit.
Coordination: If we're a good fit, we work together to determine logistics about communication, timelines, & participants. This step involves the Coordination document and Group Conflict Readiness Assessment (downloads below).
Group Intake: Direct participants are invited to share their perspective on core issues, incidents, context, and goals, typically via a form or survey.
Understanding + Framing: We hold one or more sessions where participants are invited to share information, experiences, feelings, and perspectives on the conflict, so that the group has a collective understanding of many vantage points, impacts, and insights. For some organizations, this session is all that is needed to conclude our work together, as their primary goal is for collective understanding.
Brainstorming/Visioning: We hold one or more sessions where participants are encouraged to think creatively and out-of-the-box about how the organization can move forward toward collective goals (e.g. remedies, solutions, ways to make things right, next steps). For some organizations, this session concludes our work together, because a shared vision becomes obvious or the primary goal was in dreaming/imagining possibilities.
Weighing options: If there are decisions to be made, we hold one or more sessions where participants share factors they want others to take into consideration when making decisions and then we discuss the pros, cons, benefits, and risks associated with the groups' options. Using this method we will narrow down options to the most viable.
Making decisions, agreements, conclusions: If final decisions are to be made in these sessions, we hold a final session where the remaining options are presented and the group makes a decision based on their previously decided decision-making practice (majority rules, rank choice, consensus, etc.).
Time is often the greatest barrier for groups who want to have a complex process (something that involves structural change or entrenched conflict). There are typically three ways to hold these components:
A series of shorter sessions (~2 hours ea.) over the span of several weeks or months.
A retreat of full-day sessions over the span of a weekend or a few weekends.
A hybrid of shorter sessions and a concluding retreat.
Your group should have a sense of what time you can dedicate to the process (taking into consideration the time lost to the conflict if it is not addressed). When deciding between these options, it's important to consider your organization's capacity, timeline, and most importantly the accessibility of these options for those who need to participate. Each option has its pros and cons.
Group Conflict Coordination
The coordination document is the list of questions and details we need to work out beforehand. I will talk through these with the coordinators and include the documents here for your reference, if you want to prepare in advance.
Group Conflict Readiness Assessment
The readiness assessment provides me with a sense of participant understanding about what the conflict process will demand from them emotionally, physically, and relationally, as well as their own assessment of their readiness or willingness to participate. I will ask all participants to complete the individual assessment and then to input their final answers into an online, anonymous form.
Circle Process is a collective, consensus-based process found in indigenous communities around the world (including Tlingit, Ojibwe, Navajo, and Maori cultures), in which a facilitator guides participants toward healing, understanding, and problem-solving based on deep listening.
Fishbowl is a dialogue format where a portion of participants are speaking while the remaining participants are listening or witnessing.
Community Conferencing is a restorative or transformative process that invites impacted participants to identify issues, propose solutions, and generate support and resources toward addressing shared concerns or problems.
is a process where all participants seek alignment on a problem or issue; participants are invited to create ideas or proposals and those are shared, tweaked, negotiated, defended, merged, and transformed until the group comes to an agreement on one or multiple ways forward.
Spokes Model is a form of organized problem-solving, in which a large group of participants agree to break into smaller groups (spokes) that will be trusted to independently try to solve different aspects of a collective problem, then bring their solutions back to the larger group for agreement.
Which of these scenarios is most like yours?
Remember that each participant requires dedicated time to speak/share, so the more participants the more time. There also needs to be time for the facilitator to introduce and explain the process, summarize, and for breaks, reflection, and planning logistics/next steps.