In today’s business environment, management consulting firms must be ready to address client challenges and needs that will transform their business by 10 or 100 times. Tools and methods must be scaled up to ensure applicability to the widest possible audience globally.
The Consulting Workshop Series provides a good understanding of the 10 Methods of conducting Workshops that are custom designed to fit specific workshop objectives. Different methods are developed for the purpose of providing organizations the most appropriate tool necessary to support organizations to achieve their strategic goals and targets.
If it is the management’s goal to allow participants to question each other and to elaborate upon their answers, then the Focus Group is the perfect method to undertake.
Understanding the Focus Group as a Consulting Workshop Series Method
Focus Group is a Consulting Workshop Method that exposes different groups’ opinions on an issue and why these are held. It is a planned discussion among a small group of 4 to 12 stakeholders facilitated by a skilled moderator. It aims to expose different groups’ opinions on an issue and why they are held.
Conducting focus interviewing is effective in obtaining information about various people’s preferences ad values pertaining to a defined topic and why these are held by observing the structured discussion of an interactive group in a permissive, non-threatening environment.
Its application cuts across various agenda. It can gauge the nature and intensity of stakeholders’ concerns and values about issues. It can obtain a snapshot of public opinion when time constraints or finances do not allow a full review or survey. Likewise, whenever there are proposals, it can be used to get detailed reactions and input from a stakeholder or client group. Additional information or modification may be gathered to develop the proposal further. Informed decisions can, therefore, be made that can lead to achieving operational excellence.
In an overall context, the Focus Group can be seen as a combination of a focused interview and a discussion group.
Starting a Focus Group in a Systematic Approach
Undertaking a Focus Group must be done in a systematic approach. While the method may be relatively simple, it is an effective tool in generating opinions in a more natural, social context.
- Pre-Focus Group Planning. This is most critical of the 3 phases as it sets the initial stages of planning the Focus Group. It is at this point where the direction and purpose of the Focus Group are determined and established. Sufficient time must be allocated for preparation and planning.
- Conducting of the Focus Group. Phase 2 is the main event – the Focus Group Discussion. It is in this phase wherein different groups’ opinions are exposed on an issue and explained why these are held. For narrow topics, Focus Groups normally last for an hour or two. But when the discussion is more policy-oriented, it can be organized into multiple sessions with each session not exceeding two hours.
- Post-Focus Group. This is the final stage. The Post-Focus Group phase ensures that there is a proper analysis of results and that reports are properly developed. A most important element of the Post-Focus Group is the analysis. When the analysis is properly done, conclusive responses to topics raised can be done.
The Great Advantage
Is there a power differential existing within your organization? When the power differential between the participants and the decision-makers is great enough to discourage participation, the Focus Group is the best method to use.
It provides the security of a peer group. Furthermore, the method is particularly useful when one is interested in complex motivations and actions to achieve business transformation.
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