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  Skill of the Week

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0118 | September 16, 2003 | 9,000 Subscribers

Intro to Appreciative Inquiry. New 4-week Teleclass Starts Oct 7th at 2PM EDT. Click here for info.

Check out this basic teleclass for Facilitators. Coming September 8th. Click here for details.

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

Dear friends,

This week's article is far too long. But it's great reading, and a powerful true story about how a friend, who asks to remain nameless, helped facilitate significant change from the inside of a very oppressive organization. You might want to share this article with friends, clients, and associates who might be up against a similar challenge. Please read, "The Triumph of a Joy Junky," and tell us what you think.

Please note a change to the meeting dates for our next "Appreciative Inquiry " Teleclass. It will start October 7th and run four consecutive Tuesdays through October 28th, at 2:00 PM EST. Further info and registration details are at the end of this issue.

We're also excited that we are now ready to begin recruiting faculty for FacilitatorU.com teleclasses! Please see the announcement below and follow instructions on how to apply.

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


Self-Mastery Skill

The Triumph of a Joy Junky
How choosing joy can change everything



Our friend, who we'll call "Kay," started work as the only Social Worker in a medical treatment clinic about six months ago. This clinic employs about 40 people, and runs two shifts, 6 days a week. About 120 patients are served weekly, with each visiting 3 times per week.

A large contingent of the staff, including the director, often use a language other than English. About 8 months ago, the Director was promoted from within the organization with no prior experience managing large groups.

When Kay showed up on the scene as the lone social worker on staff, she had recently moved from out of state, was new to the medical community, and to the diverse cultural mix in this organization. So she wisely decided to come in with few expectations and do her best to fit into this work culture using her considerable talent as an objective observer.

One of the first things she noticed was that interactions between patients and staff sorely lacked respect. She would often overhear heated conversations in a foreign tongue. All Kay understood was the anger.

The person Kay was replacing appeared very scattered, disorganized, and had generally poor relationships with the rest of the staff. Kay attempted to learn the bigger picture from her by continually asking questions that would help her understand where a Social Worker fit into this establishment. What was expected? How will I be perceived? What are the attitudes of the medical staff about the work I'll be doing? What processes are in place to handle this and that?

Neither the outgoing Social Worker, nor anyone else for that matter, seemed to have any answers for her. The staff simply appeared to operate like a disjointed group of individuals, scurrying about, putting out some fires, and missing others in a haphazard fashion. Sometimes they would repeat each others work. Other times important tasks would be overlooked. Everyone seemed to operate through a pall of fear and anger.

Kay, normally a very happy and enthusiastic person, soon found herself going to work every morning with a knot in her stomach. "I had no idea where I stood in this culture, where I fit, or how to be appreciated. The Director was constantly yelling at everyone. I didn't know if I was going to be yelled at for something I was supposed to be doing or not doing." Tension was thick in this place. The Director would start yelling early in the day and everyone focused on simply dodging bullets the rest of the day. Sound familiar anyone?

This is certainly not the kind of organization any of you out there can relate to, is it? Don't we wish!




Finally, one day Kay woke up and decided she wasn't going to live like this anymore. Unlike many, Kay did not need to work to sustain herself financially, and had enough confidence in herself to know she could find a job elsewhere if she needed to. She decided to try something new, knowing that she had the power to leave if it didn't work out. You see, Kay is a smart cookie. She said, "I know deep down that I make my own joy. And I decided to choose joy on this job!"

Kay decided what she would and wouldn't tolerate. She would be pleasant, kind, and considerate, in the midst of the ongoing turmoil and not let anyone, no matter what their position, treat her with disrespect, including her Director.

Kay sets boundaries. One day shortly after she made this decision, the director began to yell at her. She told her, "Please tell me what you expect of me, but don't yell at me anymore or I'll quit." Many fearful people might call this a threat. But hear this my dear friends, this are simply called"consequences" by those with the heart to exercise them.

Kay pays it forward. Even though people weren't very friendly to one another, Kay decided to start complimenting everyone on the staff who demonstrated even the slightest competence or positive behavior. She began taking extra care to appreciate the secretary who took more abuse than anyone and who interacted with everyone. Kay began to feed the staff's hunger for positive reinforcement.

Kay makes the team. Even though Kay wasn't part of a highly functional workteam, she began acting as if she were. She would jump in and help with any little job that crossed her path, even if it was outside of her realm, just to take some of the load off of her coworkers. These were simple little things like making a quick phone call, making a copy, mailing a letter, passing on a message, etc.

Kay chooses mastery. Kay decided that she was going to put all she had into her work. She started providing extraordinary service rather offering simply the ordinary.

Kay finds an ally. One day, a new office mate showed up and she recruited her as an ally. Everyday, they found a "mission of the day" to take on. This was sometimes just a small thing, like someone's nagging problem that no one could ever solve. They would solve these kind of things all the time. Kay found that having an ally multiplied not only their results, but their joy too.

Kay doesn't fuel the fire. Whenever Kay was in the midst of a conflict that didn't involve her and that she didn't feel able to impact, she walked away. "No point messing with my joy when I don't have to!"

No picnic. Make no mistake, dear reader. The environment here was not all joy and light. Kay was faced daily with death, and the dying, with imminent amputations, sickness, and terminal illness. Joy was a choice. One she had to keep choosing every moment.


After about 6 weeks after Kay decided to choose joy, people started coming to her wi
th their problems and concerns. Kay didn't try to fix any of their problems. She listened hard and suggested things they could do to resolve or reduce them. She helped them find ways to make healthy choices like she was doing. "The next time you feel yourself about to blow up at someone, take a nice long deep breath, tell yourself that you're choosing joy today, and ask yourself, 'How can I do this differently?"

Kay never took sides. When people came to her blaming others for their upsets. She just listened and made suggestions on how they could think or act differently.

More and more people began dropping into Kay's office on a regular basis. "I don't want to sound conceited here, but it seemed like people wanted what I had...'joy.' I helped them choose it themselves. I kept telling them, 'Stop bickering. Remember to breath, then choose joy.' We even made a poster that said, 'Remember to breath.' People loved it."

"The Director was one of the worst attackers. Once I built a little more trust with her, she was in my office sharing her problems. One day I asked, 'Are your really getting what you want by yelling at everyone?' She finally was able to see that it simply brought down staff and modeled poor behavior for them."

"She promised me one day to not yell for the entire day and hasn't done so publicly for six weeks. She now takes issues with individuals privately into her office and handles them in a civil tone."


"Today things are about 60% better. I look forward to going to work. People are more pleasant. They still come in now and again, but the atmosphere is good enough now to start the real work of making this organization hum. People are now more solution-oriented rather than blame-oriented. Now that people don't have to be so concerned with defending themselves, there's more energy available to focus on solutions and processes that will make life better for everyone."


- New choices yield new results. Kay was amazed at how little effort can yield such a huge change. Choosing joy is simply a decision. I just decided that I'm here to have the best day I can have and be as productive as I can be, and have joy in my heart.

- Sometimes the most positive thing you can do is to leave an organization. I've helped a couple people make the decision to leave this place. If it takes too much from you over time, at some point, you have to realize you can't affect this place without losing your joy.

- Find your passion and choose mastery in your work 100% of the time. Find a place for yourself that holds passion for you, a place that has space for your joy.

- Be a steward of trust. You can have bad days, and you can be frustrated, but don't lash out at others, just own it and let people know what's going on with you so they don't take it personally.

- Joy is not simply a smile on your face everyday. It doesn't necessarily equate to happiness, though it may lead there. It's being true to everyone, especially yourself.

- Empower people to solve their problems and to make different, more effective choices.

- Consciously model functional behavior.

- Chose to lead yourself. Ask what you can do in your little piece of the world. Develop options for yourself so your survival isn't at stake if you have to leave an organization.

- Know that anyone taking on a new behavior in a system changes the system.


Is there a new choice you can make in your organization today? If so, give it a try for a week and tell us what happens. We'd love to hear from you. Please email us your comments.

FacilitatorU Looking for Faculty

We are currently looking for additional faculty to lead teleclasses on subjects of interest to group workers. If you have an idea for a teleclass, click here to email us and you'll receive our Teleclass Design Guide in a few minutes. Please complete it and email it back to us. We'll consider your class in our future offerings.


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
A Provocative Proposal for Unleashing the Power of What Works...

Join us for this 4-week TeleClass with AI experts, Patricia Clason and Bert Stitt starting October 7th, 2PM EDT


This four session series on Appreciative Inquiry, is a facilitation strategy for intentional change that identifies the best of "what is" in order to pursue dreams and possibilities of "what could be." Within these classes we will explore the four dynamics of AI, Discovery, Dream, Design and Delivery. Plan to bring with you the challenges you have encountered or are experiencing in the group/organizational change process. These sessions will be interactive and we will encourage discussion of specific situations in which Appreciate Inquiry might be applied.

The Eight Assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry, Tuesday, October 7th

Explore the nature of assumptions in an organization/group. We will define and discuss the base assumptions of AI, how they affect the change process and how we may have experienced them already in our facilitation practice.

The Six Core Principles of Appreciative Inquiry, Tuesday, October 14th

Understanding the DNA of Appreciative Inquiry gives us a foundation upon which we can build the infrastructure of a change process that works.

The Five Steps to Appreciative Inquiry, Tuesday, October 2st

From creating a provocative proposal to manifesting a destiny, each step is crucial to the process of Appreciative Inquiry. We get to incorporate the "buzzwords" of the last decade, Innovation, Empowerment, Continuous Leaning, Partnership, and Making A Difference, into a process of change that is FUN! Imagine the possibilities!

Outcomes and Opportunities, Tuesday, October, 28th

This session will be a celebration of learning about what worked and what didn't work for class participants as they applied the concepts of AI in their practice with clients and organizations, as well as discussion on further opportunities for implementing and integrating Appreciative Inquiry.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 4-Week training described above, you also receive:

1. Free access to the RealAudio version of this training.
2. A Bibliography of leading works on AI.
3. A number of web resources to support your work in this field.
4. Summary notes of each class session.
5. List of class participants.

Benefits to you of participating 4-Week Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of Appreciative Inquiry to add to your toolbox as a facilitator, team leader, coach, or leader.
2. Learn to employ a change process that works.
3. Learn how to come from a positive, "what works" perspective when working with individuals and groups.

Click here to register now!

Leader Bios

Bert Stitt operates a home-based consultancy from Madison, Wisconsin. He provides facilitation services, public engagement consultation, and organizational development for community-building projects, coaching for non-governmental organizations, mediation and facilitation for governmental agencies, and strategic planning processes for associations, foundations, and small businesses. Appreciative Inquiry is a relatively recent tool that Bert is finding very useful as he reaches into the toolbox while helping to build the organizations he works with.

Patricia Clason has traveled across the continent doing speeches, workshops and media appearances as a professional speaker, trainer, consultant and writer, giving over 3,000 presentations for corporations, associations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Now the Director of the Center for Creative Learning which offers programs for personal and professional development and has written many articles, training programs and personal growth seminars and is a sought-after guest for radio and television. Patricia likes to focus on alternative methods of teaching and learning, addressing the psychological perspectives and principles behind the practical tools that she teaches. As a result, audiences are often entranced with her and excited about using these new ideas.

Course Fee and Registration.
The full cost of training is only $64.95 for MFJ readers ($79.95 for the general public). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee. The class will meet on the following four Tuesdays at 2:00 PM EDT (NY Time), October 7th, October 14th, October 21st, and October 28th.

Please click here and you'll be taken to the teleclass registration page. Register there and you'll see your discount computed and applied as you check out. Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course
. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

About the satisfaction guarantee
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this course, simply email us with a request to refund/credit your credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately. It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every single case. (Why? Because we are sensitive to the fact that you are buying an e-course/product from us and we feel that if this package isn't EXACTLY what you expected or wanted, that you should be able to get 100% of your money back. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.)

Click here to register now!


Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on September 23, 2003.


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