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  Skill of the Week

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0107 | July 1, 2003 | 8,300 Subscribers

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picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.From the Publisher: 

Hello MFJ Readers. 

I'm very excited to tell you about and show you some of the changes that we have been up to here at the Journal. As you know our mission is to help share and develop the skills of facilitation with people all over the world. So in keeping with that mission we have undertaken a program to expand the value that we provide to our subscribers and also to greatly expand our readership. By this time two years from now, we would like to be reaching on a regular basis over 100,000 people.

Let me briefly explain to you a few changes that have taken place:

- We've redesigned our landing page (www.masterfacilitatorjournal.com) to focus specifically on helping new subscribers join us. We've done this by clearly spelling out the benefits of subscribing and making it very easy to do so. Please check it out and let us know what you think.

- We've also redesigned this site as a "free membership site." Our current plan is to keep membership to this journal free and to continue to provide archived articles and other very useful tools for our members within this site.

This also means that before someone new can enter the site and access its resources, they simply must sign up for our free ezine. The message here is, "We're happy to share all we have here with you for free. All we ask is that you become part of our community and interact with us, at least passively, and hopefully as an active contributing member, by receiving our ezine every week."

You can still access the resource area of the MFJ site from the links above, but if you enter from the new homepage, you must use the following username and password to enter the membership area: Username: sharemfj, Password: today.

- We're now calling the MFJ the "Official Ezine of FacilitatorU.com," since this is, and always has been, our major means of communicating with our facilitator community and global audience. In further preparation for the launch of FacilitatorU, we feel it's critical now to build our subscriber base for this ezine, while at the same time finding ways to add more value for our subscribers and community members.

- Finally,
we've set an exciting goal of reaching over 100,000 subscribers within the next two years! We feel that getting these skills and information into peoples hands is essential to helping them work together to develop supportive and prosperous work groups and communities. It will also help us to more fully develop our offerings at FacilitatorU.com, providing us with the input and guidance from facilitators to help make this the best virtual training and resource site for facilitators the world over.

If you find this journal useful and you would like to help people develop the skills and awareness of the power of facilitation to change lives and the lives of others, please help us reach this goal by spreading the word in whatever way you'd like. We would love you to share your favorite issues with friends and colleagues, use the "Tell a Friend" link toward the bottom of each issue, post a link on your website (with a graphic on the right if you want), or any other method you can think of or would like to propose.

- I would also like to thank our
FacilitatorU.com R&D team. To the many members who continue to take the time and energy to provide us with a bounty of insight and valuable comments, we thank you for being such a vibrant part of the FacilitatorU.com community!

I felt it only appropriate to focus the content of this week's article on reflections of my recent journey to upgrade this site as they apply to the art of facilitation. So please read, "Create Facilitative Frameworks," to get a feel for my journey and possibly pick up a few facilitation tips along the way.

Thanks for your support!
Steve Davis


Group Skill

Create Facilitative Frameworks
Make it easy for people to get what they want

The Point

I learned many things recently in the revamp of the MFJ website with the strong support of my dear friend and coach, Rob Berkley. During our work together, I not only learned new ways to get my message about facilitation out to people, but I also learned and experienced new learning about personal facilitation and evolution. Though what I learned may seem like better ways to market myself and my services, as always, I like to ask myself, "How does this apply to facilitation?" And, "Is there something here of value I can share with my readers?"

I'll refrain here from my philosophical explorations and get right to a simple review of my lessons learned below.


Commit to continuous evolution and renewal. I think it's healthy to exercise your creative juices and those of your group by trying new approaches now and then. Rather than always showing up to a group and doing what's always worked, experiment with something new. Stretch their boundaries and comfort zone a bit--as well as your own. Try a new exercise, a new introduction, a new attitude, a new focus, etc. You'll never know where this may lead your group or yourself. Trying fresh approaches and experimenting with new ideas can spark new more creative responses. You can always fall back to doing things the old way. Use your intuition as to when a shift might be fruitful.

Shortly after my 100th issue and two-year anniversary of the MFJ, I became deeply inspired to expand the horizons of the MFJ and
FacilitatorU.com. The changes you see in this issue are just a small part of what we plan to do over time to expand and align with our vision.

Go for depth rather than breadth. It's easy to get caught up in the fast lane of our times and miss opportunities to enhance the quality and focus of what's right in front of us. There are times in our work where it's fruitful to drill deep with a comment someone makes, to reflect on an insight brought forward as a result of an exercise, or to simply slow down and read between the lines of a group dynamic.

As Rob has often been know to say "anything in a group is everything." So by using effective facilitation so to plumb the depths of an issue to really understand and explore it, many other goals and objectives of the group may be met.

On my MFJ home page for example, I was trying to say too much and appeal to too many. Now I've reduced the purpose of this page to only one--to introduce the MFJ to new potential subscribers.

Share your passion. My coach Rob, caught me running an interesting pattern in my work on the MFJ. During our conversations, he heard the quality of my creativity and passion for my work, but pointed out that it often got lost or hidden, or downright left out of some of my written interactions with my network. I found that quite unusual, particularly since my best and most enjoyable writing results from my honest expression of this passion and creativity.

I believe it simply boils down to intention. We can choose to be "efficient," by simply stating the information we have to share, or driving to the objective in a group while facilitating. But in doing just that, it's easy to withhold the most precious gift we have to offer--the colors, textures, and musical harmonies of our own unique way of sharing the information. By deciding to invoke our hearts and hence share ourselves with our message, the message itself is transformed and what we share becomes are more valuable, relevant, permeable, and useable.
I hope to always be able to do this with this journal and my other work, and I wish the same for you.

Create inspiring frameworks. Help your group set goals or overarching visions for themselves. Then believe in their vision and their power to make them a reality. Even if they're together for only a short time, their time will be better spent if they are collectively committed to a larger shared vision.

With the help of my coach, we've created a "bigger game" to play with the MFJ and FacilitatorU.com. Setting a larger goal like 100,000 subscribers and working to create more value at every step calls us to function consistently at a higher level. His belief in my vision and in me, helps me to believe it too, which motivates me to keeping walking towards it. As a facilitator, you have the grand opportunity to be such a catalyst for your groups as well.

Deliver your message to those who are interested. You can't facilitate people who refuse to look at their own group process, or who don't buy into you being the one to facilitate. So use your energy on those individuals and groups who welcome your involvement and support. There are plenty out there who need it!

On the MFJ site, we've rededicated ourselves to professional facilitators, and those who want to develop the requisite skills to become professional facilitators. That said, we are thrilled to know that our readership comes from (and we hope will continue to come from) many different people who share the common desire to understand and become better group workers.


How can you develop, enhance, or expand your leadership based on the above principles? I'd love to hear from you. Please email us your comments.

Reader Survey

What inspiring frameworks do you develop for your groups?

I'd like to hear your ideas, perspectives, and practices around using frameworks of any kind to ennoble and inspire your groups.
Please email us your responses. All those who respond will be sent the entire collection.


About the Publisher
Steve Davis is "The Facilitator's Coach," helping leaders enhance their effectiveness through the application and perspective of facilitation. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading!

In the Spotlight

Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue
on July 8, 2003.


Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved