Organizations are comfortable with the term ‘Manager’, but very rarely, maybe never I hear ‘Facilitator’. Managers usually implement projects, strategies, sometimes a vision. They are required to minimise waste, allocate resources and reach excellency, as well as making decisions, eliminating assumptions, ambiguity and uncertainty. That is how businesses scale and grow, through standardised production.

New services, business models and sales channels require a new stage before hitting implementation; a stage that uncovers unmet customer needs, that allows uncertainty, and testing of new solutions, but also keep waste down. For that stage of development you need a Facilitator.

Facilitators know how to challenge assumptions; speed reflection and validate ideas cheaply before investment is done. They encourage their teams to be the star while they manage stakeholders expectations.

Those stages require very different skills, you might find people who perform really well in both; but it must be acknowledged; which is not often the case. Managers are not encouraged to be facilitators and empower their team to think differently, as well as they demand fast execution.

Many companies are bleeding because they don’t have processes for both testing and implementing stages. I hear many great people disappointed, flirting with a new job or opening a new business. It’s just to frustrating to hear ‘ we need to innovate’ when the process does not evolve.

If you are a manager, my best advice is to ask you: How you are addressing your biggest challenges and what stages you are required to deliver? If it includes both testing and implementing; what is your process for both stages, and how do they differentiate? Those answers will give an idea if you can facilitate as well as you manage.