Why use an external facilitator to lead strategy and other management meetings workshops?
There are many reasons but the stand-out reason for me centres on neutralising unconscious cognitive bias. Without someone to surface these mostly unconscious biases results can be severely compromised.
McKinsey provides a good summary as to the most common biases in relation to strategy in ‘How biases, politics and egos trump good strategy‘ (registration may be required).
They state, ‘When creating a strategy for your organization there are many obstacles. It’s important to know what they are and how to get around them.‘
But is it possible for an organisation to identify and neutralize unconscious bias without external intervention? Based on over 500 workshops, my answer is clear – no way. Awareness is fine but unconscious bias is very personal and often integral to an individual’s identity, as well as the culture of the organisation. Without someone independent and objective to call-out when damaging bias surfaces it is extremely likely that strategy and other important decisions will be compromised, maybe severely.