The Art and Science of Facilitation of ASCENT Trust Groups for entrepreneurial enterprises

ASCENT Trust Groups have been specifically created to usher in a new and truly dynamic culture that supports entrepreneurial value systems. To urge ambitious entrepreneurs to go that extra mile, ASCENT provides dedicated forums to successfully leverage key insights derived from collective experience. These insights can drive existing entrepreneurs to scale-up their businesses by design.

One can imagine how important it would be to set the individual Trust Groups (each comprising of 10-12 members) onto the precise path with the right attitude and motivation. To facilitate such a uniquely positioned group with participants from across industries and with varying planes of experience, is no easy task and therefore specialists or ‘experts’ are called upon as Initiators to allow for introductions as well as the initial round of discussions to commence. This not only breaks the ice but also helps the group to find its footing and ensures the longevity of these trust groups. The success and longevity of ASCENT Trust Groups depend on the manner in which they are facilitated. Each Trust Group is initiated for the first 4 months by an Initiator, an industry expert or a trained ASCENT (Member) facilitator and thereafter two members from each Trust Group are identified by the Initiator as potential Facilitators, who are then made to undergo an intensive training program on the art and science of successful facilitation.

The initiators place emphasis on the act of balancing process and content, mutual respect bringing in inclusiveness for differing viewpoints, building consensus and constructive interventions. Largely setting off the group to be a self-contained unit which can in time, monitor its own proceedings effectively and without any external supervision.

It is largely believed that as an entrepreneur, one is a natural facilitator. To coach such seasoned professionals to get to the next level of entrepreneurial excellence needs a well-researched and scientifically designed plan of action. ASCENT sees this as a balance between Process and Content. Commitment to the Process is what gets the group to get together every month for at least 3 hours. Respect Time being another pillar of the plan, which looks to draw maximum from the entrepreneurs in the minimum interaction time they have with each other. Make it inclusive is the third and final mantra that ensures that the facilitator engages each member into being an active participant, balancing both process and content effectively.

Facilitation brings forth key skill requirements such as building consensus, timing interventions and even conflict resolution between two equals; be it for group facilitation or for an individual entrepreneurial undertaking. Its effectiveness as well as the tremendous positive impact on growing enterprises cannot be denied.

To quote Mr HarshMariwala, Chairman Marico Ltd and Founder ASCENT “It takes an entrepreneur, to understand another entrepreneur.”

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