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  Skill of the Week

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0113 | August 12, 2003 | 9,000 Subscribers

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

Hello MFJ Readers. 

This weeks article, "Implications Thinking," comes to us from facilitator, coach, and trainer, Ray Lamb. Implications Thinking is a simple but powerful model we can use to help individuals or groups remove biases and judgments from their decision-making process, helping them look at the facts, both pro and con, from the short-term to the long-term, to make better decisions. Thanks Ray for your contribution!

At the end of this article we bring back our Portable Article Bank. This is a great resource for those of you training others in facilitation skills or for those who'd like to have the top 50 MFJ articles in an ad-free format. Also available is a license option for those of you interested in posting these articles on your website or for resell to your audiences.

If any of you have had interesting experiences with groups as either a participant or as a facilitator, please tell us about it. We may invite you to interview with us to highlight your story as a case study for a future issue.

Thanks for your support!
Steve Davis


GAME Skill

Implications Thinking
Getting Better Decisions

The Point

As facilitators and/or coaches it's essential that we assist our groups and individual clients to get the best possible decisions for the problem or situation on which they are working.

The key to excellent decision making is to include as many aspects of the situation as possible. So often our thoughts are polarized by a "Right" / "Wrong" orientation, (or better/worse, good/bad, favorable/ unfavorable, etc.). Having an Implications approach to decision making helps us to include both 'sides' of the situation.

Adding an additional stage beyond right and wrong judgments, we can map the implications as short/long term and positive/negative. This adds a dimension of completeness to the thinking process so that in the end the best decision possible can be made. This practice can apply to all decisions, and soon becomes a very specific way of thinking. As a coach this thinking process helps me stay out of the client's content. It's easier to be charge neutral when helping a client sort out the implications of various actions. The model is hugely useful for the client, giving them a tool to figure out the best way forward without falling into the trap of polarized or biased thinking.

Decision based on all aspects of the situation based in implication terms
Short-Term Positive
Short-Term Negative
Long-Term Positive
Long-Term Negative


Implementation for facilitators and/or coaches.

Question from a coach under training.
Thank you so much for your "Implications Thinking" model. It makes total sense to me, but I found it difficult to implement while coaching. Do you have any tips on weaving it into a session, or do you just cut to the chase and ask them to get a piece of paper and do it while coaching? Thanks in advance.

Response. I think the first thing is to 'get it' yourself. I mean really integrate it. I would think about decisions that you have recently made or are about to make and run the model. Notice what difference it makes, however subtle. Use it in your life at work and home; ask yourself what are the implications? Use real controversial issues about which you know are polarized! (Surely they'll be none of these!).

Get used to flexing your thinking muscle around the concept without being tied to outcomes through your own bias or prejudice. Be prepared for a change in the way you are, the beauty of the balanced arguments you produce, and the progress you make towards informed detachment!

Giving the client the model may get in the way, because it is a model
--all 'WHAT' and no 'HOW'. Ask with neutrality and conviction, "What are the implications of that decision?"... "Let's look at it in the long and short term." etc. etc. Get it?

Further thinking on implementation. What I encourage my clients to do is to map the Implications of various decision scenarios as follows:

  • What is the context, scenario or question under consideration?
    e.g. "What are the likely housing needs of the family for the next 5 years?"
  • Possible decision: "We will stay where we are for the foreseeable future."
  • What are the POSITIVE implications in the short (6 - 12 months) and long (12 - 36 months, say) term? Write them down.
  • What are the NEGATIVE implications in the short and long term? Write them down.

How does mapping these implications inform the quality or nature of the possible decision?

What new perspectives regarding the scenario emerge? What do these mean? How are things altered as a result?

What shifts in thinking need to happen in order to get the best quality decision? What do we need to let go of, and/or embrace now, in order to get the best possible decision and subsequent positive actions/outcomes?

Proceed to the next question.

When we 'get' this process at a gut level it can make huge changes to our decisions and therefore to our lives. You can of course utilize it in every context you're likely to meet. You can now begin to adopt it as a thinking strategy. Notice implications invites both 'right' and 'wrong' into the equation ... there are now ONLY implications, nothing about what should or must be done.

Why does it work? Because when thinking in terms of implications, it's really difficult to have an opinion. You have to work from facts and evidence, not emotional viewpoints.

About the Author: Ray Lamb is highly skilled and experienced as a Facilitator, Consultant, Trainer and Executive Coach, working with business leaders, managers, and their teams, to help them develop appropriate skills, for a successful business, as well as achieve their personal goals. Contact Ray by email at ray@tlc.eu.com or mobile +44 (0)777-593-1587, or visit his web site at www.tlc.eu.com.


Choose a decision your or your groups are wrestling and apply the Implications decision-making model. I'd love to hear how this works for you. Please email us your comments.

Reader Survey

What are your favorite decision-making models?

We'd love to hear particularly effective decision-making models you've found helpful in your groups or with individuals.
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
Article Bank ...

for Facilitators, Trainers, Teachers, Coaches, 
Leaders, and 

Over 50 Publishable Articles and 120 pages covering six core competency areas.

Indexed my competency and article. 

Click Here to View Table of Contents

Click Here to View Samples

We've compiled the top 50 issues of the Master Facilitator Journal into the form of an e-book collection. This collection contains the engaging content you're used to receiving in the Journal, but that has been polished and formatted into the form of publishable articles. Articles contain resources such as a useful book or website that pertains to the content, examples, and action steps to take to improve your facilitation skills.

How Will This Collection Help Me? 

a. Use articles as handouts to your team members to educate and empower them with tools to improve communication, team cooperation, meeting, and problem solving skills.
b. Useful content for facilitation and leadership training.
c. Use collection as foundation for a course in facilitation or leadership skills
d. Use as content and backup for public speaking, workshops, and seminars.
e. Use as reference resource for your own facilitation skill development.
f. Use as engaging content for your website.
g. Licensing option provides you with a new revenue source.


a. Easy to read, engaging writing style.
b. Colorful graphics.
c. Includes relevant resources with links.
d. Actions for student practice included with each article.
e. Indexed with dynamic links according to six facilitation competency areas.

1) Self-Mastery Skills: How you facilitate yourself.
2) Presence And Presenting Skills: How you show up.
3) Relating Skills: How you facilitate others.
4) Group Awareness, Management, and Exploration (GAME) Skills: How you facilitate a team.
5) Intervention Skills. How you shift a group.
6) Logistic Skills: How you facilitate your environment. Master Facilitators plan and prepare their presentations.

Purchase Options

I've spent over 200 hours writing, researching and editing these articles. You save over $10,000 if your time is worth $50 an hour! The basic option is available for $29.95. The collection is downloadable in PDF format that can be saved to hard disk, floppy, or CD ROM. Articles can be viewed on your computer or printed as desired. Check out the Table of Contents and sample articles below. 

OPTION 1: Price is $29.95 US for entire collection downloadable in PDF format available immediately upon purchase. Click here to buy now.

OPTION 2: Instant Author License Option. You get the rights to resell these articles to your clients and customers, or post them on your own website. This is not an affiliate program. You keep 100% of all revenues! Our intro price is $69.95 US for a limited time (retail $99.00) for the entire downloadable collection available immediately upon purchase. Click here to buy now and select reseller option.  

Click Here to Table of Contents

Click Here to View Sample Articles.


Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on August 19, 2003.


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