102 How to Facilitate People to Perform Well in New Situations…

Yes! And… Creative Gorilla # 102

People often face new situations.  You can facilitate them to perform better with a simple model….

Pink men playing

Enhance The Physical and Social Environment

“Do not wait for extraordinary circumstances to do good; try to use ordinary situations.”

Jean Paul Richter (1763 – 1825) German Writer

Do you want to improve someone’s performance in a new situation?

I have worked with a number of new groups this year in workshops. Whenever I work with them I use a simple model called the “New Situation Model” to help people settle in with each other and encourage communication.

I developed this model with my colleague, Caroline Harvey, based on our experience and using research.

Explaining the Model

A brief explanation of each stage (Note there is no proscribed order), is that we have found that a typical person (but not everyone) in a new situation wants to:

  1. Adopt  the correct state
  2. Know who others are and how they relate
  3. Understand the situation
  4. Have a constructive outlook
  5. Influence the situation
  6. Contribute well
  7. Have an opportunity to voice their opinion
  8. Enhance the environment in which they find themselves, both physical and social

Each of these steps is what I term a “facilitator”. The more facilitators you can address, the better the result.

Whilst we use it in workshops, you might also use the model as a checklist when you:

  • Plan for new people joining your group
  • Plan for forming a project team
  • Are in a new situation yourself (it may enable you to develop or suggest a constructive course of action)


Imagine that you have a new person joining your department this week. You want them to achieve optimum performance as soon as possible. A good question to ask is, “How might I help them achieve each step?” For example you could:

  1. Send them a brief in advance and have someone welcome them when they arrive
  2. Introduce them to each person in the team and provide access to an organisation chart. You might show them job descriptions too
  1. Explain the purpose of the team, what it does, its customers, how it does its job and key events in the year
  2. Discuss what they want to achieve
  3. Discuss what they need to achieve this
  4. Agree some targets they can achieve quickly
  5. After a short period, ask them for positive feedback on the team and how they might build on it (leave the negative for a later date)
  6. Give them the opportunity to personalise their desk area (if permitted) and invite them to a social gathering with colleagues

Your actions will depend on the circumstances, but I trust these examples give you an idea of how you might use the model.


Think about how you might apply the model for someone new on your team. If you know someone who is going in to a new situation, you might show them the model so they can plan for it.

If you would like to know how I use it in workshops, drop me a line.

To Close

Coming through the security check in Casablanca airport this week, I set off the alarm. I raised my arms and the guard frisked me. Patting me down, he efficiently searched my body and then started up from my ankles. I am not obese but I do have a bit of a doughnut around my waist. To end his search, the guard placed his palms on my “doughnut”, squeezed and with a big smile said “Aah, fooood” (A euphimism for “Hey, that’s a big belly you have there.”)

I was a little startled but my travelling experience kicked in (smile at anyone in a uniform) and I returned his smile, saying in a friendly tone, “Yes, and it’s all paid for!” We both laughed and I went through without further issue.

I am not sure if he was using step 1, 7 or 8 in the model, but I did think how nice it would be if there was a “New Situation” type model issued to airport staff so that going through airports could become a more enjoyable experience.

 Have a model week.

John Brooker I Facilitate, Innovate, Transform.

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