Vision and approach

Jan Vaessen’s vision and approach

As a facilitator, Jan Vaessen has been involved since 2000 in numerous projects and meetings. On the basis of that experience, he has developed a vision that is the basis for his approach. It comprises three underlying principles:

Every member of the team counts

“Every project team, research group or department consists of different types of people: senior employees, junior employees, thinkers and hands-on people. All the members have their own qualities and potentials. The art is to make the most of them and to give all the individuals a role of their own. If this is done properly, the benefits are immediate: the members of the team feel involved in the project and will assume their responsibilities more readily as a result. And that is an essential precondition for achieving results.

When I facilitate a meeting, I keep an eye on all the participants: what is their role, what expertise do they have, what motivates them? Focusing on these things releases energy. Respect, empowerment and personal leadership are core concepts here. That is why I regularly team up with the consultants of Engaging Leadership.”

Consistent goals and plans

“I am frequently called in to facilitate meetings with the aim of establishing a plan or a strategy. Of course, you can just have an unfettered brainstorming session. But, ultimately, the plan needs to fit in with the goals of the project or the organisation. When I see things developing in a different direction, I intervene: I sum up what has been said, ask critical questions and draw the attention of the participants to inconsistencies.

During this process, I can draw on my analytical abilities and scientific background. They allow me to see quickly whether something makes sense or not. And to clear up confusion and bring clarity to discussions. The participants are often so involved with the content that it is difficult for them to keep the context in mind. My role is to help them see the bigger picture.”

Details and risks are important

“As a facilitator, you sometimes have a tendency to concentrate so much on the broad view that you skip over the details. But I have found that details can have more effect on a process or participants than you may think at first sight. So it is important to discuss them and to make room for them. Once you have done that, you can always decide whether to work with them or not.

The same applies to potential risks. As far as I’m concerned, you can decide to ignore them, but that should be a conscious decision. Identify the risks in advance and decide whether you choose will tackle them actively or just accept them. If you don’t think about the risks, that will lead to disappointment and negative energy later. I do my best to prevent that happening.”

Do you want to talk more about these underlying principles?

You are welcome to contact Jan Vaessen. He will be happy to talk to you about his vision and ideas. And about what they can do for your organisation.