Remember, we said that kids are great at play because they define what the rules of the games are and they also define who plays what role in the game. Great workshops also define specific roles.

Roles examples

In my own workshops I have at least three roles defined:

The Bad Cop
That's the facilitator. I'm saying from the start that I'm the time keeper, and the guy who will push people so that shit gets done. 

The good cop, or the Mom
That's someone from the organization side. It can be a project manager for example. This person is here for the long relation and is here to care about the participants. If the bad cop is really too bad, participants are allowed to complain to the Mom and say: "It's going to fast!", "I don't like his jokes or the way he says fuck every two seconds", "He uses too many technical words".

The mom then comes to the facilitator and gives him that feedback so that he can fix the interaction.

That's the attendees of the workshop. They are the experts that bring knowledge. The facilitator doesn't know the topic, he is just here to make that knowledge visible. But it's the participants who are the experts with the knowledge.

Why are roles so important

Roles make it possible for people to know what they have to do in the workshop and what others do. 

Roles also give sense to why a person is acting like that. It's defined from the start that the facilitator is the "bad cop" who "pushes" and is doing the timekeeping. So when the facilitator asks for a topic to be closed and move on, he isn't a dick. He is just playing his role and that's normal. No feelings hurt.

Custom Roles

Depending on the organization there need to be more roles defined. 

Example of custom roles for a workshop

For example, when organizing workshops in some organization you might want to have an expert role. Such a role would be for someone to come and teach something and give feedback. This person isn't doing the work but is very knowledgable about a topic. Such a role is important when there are stakeholders you want to involve but because of organigrams structures won't be able to be in doing mode. You still can get them present but in another role.

It's in collaboration with your facilitator that you will define what custom roles you need to make the workshop work in your organization culture.

Why do workshops work? [beta]

Learn why workshops are such a great collaboration tool for any organization.

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