of the Week
Journal | Issue #0120 | September 30, 2003 | 9,000 Subscribers
Intro to Appreciative Inquiry.
New 4-week Teleclass Starts Oct 7th at 2PM EDT. Click
here for info.
out this basic teleclass for Facilitators. Starts October 20th at
here for details.
to learn more
about our new Virtual University for Facilitators.
This week's article explores the relationship between
professionalism and authenticity. It starts by looking
at the enigma of the
"Laura Love Band," how they deliver great
music and connect with their audience while being the
goofiest bunch we've ever seen.
1) Our next "Appreciative Inquiry "
Teleclass starts October 7th and runs four consecutive
Tuesdays through October
28th, from 2:00-3:00 PM EDT.
Add this new skill to your facilitation and coaching
by learning how to come from a positive, "what
works" perspective when working with individuals
and groups. See details and registration info
at the end of this issue.
Our next "Random Acts of Facilitation"
Teleclass runs for five consecutive weekdays from Monday,
October 20th through Friday, October 24th, from 8:00-9:00
We're running this one a little later in the day than
usual for our international clientel. So far, response
has not been very good. If you're interested in taking
this course at another time, please let us know what
format you prefer to support our scheduling. Let us
know the time of day you prefer, including time zone,
and whether you prefer classes that run 4-5 consecutive
days or those that run once weekly.
on the relevant banners to the right for further info
and registration for these classes.
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!
"Being Professional" Evolve Your Audience?
"lightening up" is a mark of the real pro..
supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between
work and play.
--Arnold Toynbee, author--
recently attended the "MillPond" Festival
in Bishop, CA. with a rather eclectic blend of musicians
from all over the US and Europe in attendance.
of several inspirations we received at this concert
was presented by the "Laura Love Band." Their
level of skill to deliver on the promise of the evening...great
music...was undeniable. Each musician in the band was
obviously a master.
What struck us about this band, in contrast to their
great music, was the fact that they had to be the funniest
and goofiest performers we'd ever seen! Laura herself
was completely uninhibited. She often acted like a child
with her yelling, cackling, and joking in the midst
of their musical magic. One could actually view an aspect
of their behavior as very "unprofessional"...if
one wanted to.
I saw was a group who made play of everything, from
the introduction of a new song, to the introduction
of band members, to creating drama on stage to get the
audience participating. They used lyrical and poetic
language in their discourse with the audience ...everyone
loved them and didn't want them to leave the stage!
band connected with their audience like none I've ever
seen. And they were just having a whole lot of fun being
their creative selves...being like children and practicing
their craft. Being playful AND being professional...what
a concept! Maybe it's just me, but facilitators and
presenters who were polished and professional have never
left me with any lasting memory or value.
what's the facilitation parallel? I'll have to admit
that I have fallen pray in my past to a concern about
looking professional while on stage. And by the way,
just what the heck does "being professional"
mean. We say it so often, I felt compelled to pull the
definition on this:
Professional: Conforming to the standards of
a profession. Having or showing great skill.
Stop acting professional, be professional and act
alive! I doubt anyone would disagree with the fact
that a great facilitator will have mastered a certain
breadth of skills in the management of people and processes.
What can get us tripped up though in our desire to "be
professional" or "skilled," is trying
to "act" professional. Modeling the act of
"Being Real" is one of the greatest gifts
a facilitator brings to their group. After all, when
was the last time that someone "being professional"
inspired you to do more, think more, be more, relate
What does a real pro look like? The real pros
I've witnessed have found their authenticity and it
shows. They tend to be most comfortable being their
quirky, sometimes crazy, selves. They can let go, have
fun, and help others cut through their serious masks
to see that every problem has at least one solution,
and that solutions can be had such that everyone's needs
are met. They see the world through their own eyes in
a fresh new way, resisting the pull of group think or
To be or not to be...professional. We're not
saying that you should just show up to your groups unprepared
and unprofessional. Get to know your group, do your
homework, and be prepared so you can let go and really
hear your group, and enjoy them and the process.
for results, not just professionalism. Some clients,
professional as they are, have called you in to help
them with problems their professionalism hasn't touched.
Some groups who pride themselves on their professional
nature also take themselves too seriously. They operate
with a lightness deficit, operating in a mode which
I will technically refer to as "Standard Operating
Paradigms Paralyzing Effective Directions" (STOPPED).
Sometimes a lighter, more serious point of view opens
the door to the creative insights that can best solve
their problem. Sometimes we need to "get crazy"
to cut through stale thinking.
you ask most clients what kind of facilitator they'd
rather have, one that seems professional or one that
can get them the results they're after, I think you
know what the typical reply might be.
A story of the "Professional" facilitator.
About 15 years ago, the college where I worked was
going through quite an upheaval. Everyone was upset
about something, including feeling unheard by the administration.
I had just been to a conference on "shared governance"
which were the buzz words at that time. There was a
fellow (a professor from Stanford University) there
that gave a memorable talk about how to help your college
develop a structure for creating shared decision-making
between the administration, faculty, staff and students.
I excitedly returned to my campus and carefully shared
this great opportunity with the college President. It
took many sessions of me mainly listening to his fears
to get him to commit to an all-staff meeting to first
deal with everyone's gripes and concerns. It took several
more of my listening sessions to get his commitment
to hire an outside facilitator to further work through
issues that the staff was having.
immediately thought of this fellow I heard at the conference
and who I knew had the expertise to help us. He ended
up visiting our campus several times to facilitate all-staff
meetings. On his first meeting I was a bit hesitant.
After all, we were a small community college in a rural
area and he was from a large elite private university.
My fears were immediately put to rest as he came in
the door in his shorts and sandals and wild Hawaii-style
shirt. He was so funny and friendly and put everyone
at ease, especially the President. We couldn't get enough
of him. We had more FUN getting very important work
accomplished for the college. Staff got out their concerns,
they had their fights, he had us yell at each other,
cry, get frustrated and resolve issues. I soon found
out that this silly, funny man, was as
professional as anyone in a three piece suit and tie
with briefcase in hand. He brought his Facilitators
Tool Kit instead.
he finished with us, we were ready to create our own
shared governance model. It wasn't easy, but we had
worked through a lot of our roadblocks because of his
ability to get us to laugh at ourselves. By the way,
he was the most professional man I have ever met.
(Story submitted by Susan
you like to republish this or other articles from the
journal? If you'd
like to reprint this article in another publication,
you are free to do so providing you follow these guidelines.
do you view "being professional?" How
does being professional rank with being real for you?
How can you have lots of fun AND be professional at
the same time? We'd love to hear from you. Please email
us your comments.
Healing and Amuse System: Humor As Survival Training,
by Paul McGhee
This book discusses the latest research on 1) the physical
health benefits resulting from humor (references are
included), and 2) how humor helps cope with stress.
It then presents a hands on 8-Step Program for learning
to develop the basic foundation skills required to use
humor to cope with stress and remain productive on the
job on the tough days. The book is widely used by companies
that want to help employees learn to lighten up on the
job. It is designed to help you learn to use humor in
everyday life. Dr. McGhee is internationally known for
his own research on humor, it's benefits, and the development
of humor skills.
MFJ "Ask" Campaign
trying something new here at MFJ in our efforts to tune
into what our readers are up to and what they need to
support their facilitation work.
What's the single most important question you have
about facilitation? We'll
do our best to reply with some helpful comments. Thanks
Steve Davis helps facilitators, coaches, consultants and leaders
who are struggling to
present themselves confidently, empower their groups, enhance
their facilitation skills,
and build their businesses on and off line. 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. If you
find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends.
If you'd like to reprint this article in another publication,
you are free to do so providing you follow the guidelines
here. Thanks for reading!
Provocative Proposal for Unleashing the Power of
Join us for this 4-week TeleClass
with experts, Patricia Clason and Bert Stitt starting
October 7th, 2PM EDT
four session series on Appreciative Inquiry, is a facilitation
strategy for intentional change that identifies the best
of "what is" 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.
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.
Six Core Principles of Appreciative Inquiry,
the DNA of Appreciative Inquiry gives us a foundation upon
which we can build the infrastructure of a change process
Five Steps to Appreciative Inquiry,
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!
and Opportunities, Tuesday,
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.
included with your training...
addition to the 4-Week training described above, you also
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
4. Summary notes of each class session.
5. List of class participants.
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.
to employ a change process that works.
3. Learn how to come from a positive, "what works"
perspective when working with individuals and groups.
here to register now!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
here to register now!
you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look
for your next issue on October 7, 2003.
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