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  Skill of the Week

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0123 | October 21, 2003 | 9,000 Subscribers

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

Dear friends,

This week's article was submitted by John G. Finley, a consultant with High Performing Systems, Inc. His article explains the FIRO-B assessment and how understanding the dimensions of Inclusion, Control and Openness helps teams improve their performance.

Upcoming Teleclasses:

We still have a few spaces left in our next "Random Acts of Facilitation" Teleclass starting tomorrow, Wednesday, October 22nd. This class meets once weekly through Wednesday, November 12th, from 7:00-8:30 PM EDT. Please see details below.

Ask Campaign

We continue to receive great questions via our "Ask Campaign." Feel free to give it a try yourself. What's the single most important question you have about facilitation? Click here to just ask and we'll do our best to reply with some helpful comments. Thanks for playing!

If any of you have had interesting experiences with groups as either
a participant or as a facilitator, please tell us about it. We are always on the lookout for great case studies and techniques that will benefit everyone for our future issues.

Thanks for your support!
Steve Davis


Logistics Skill

FIRO Element B
A Tool For Improving Team Performance

The Point

Will Schutz's Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO) theory is based on his research for the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict. The Navy needed a way to quickly form high performing teams to man Combat Information Centers, the battle control centers aboard their ships. Schutz created FIRO Element B as an instrument to predict the interaction between people based on their preferences in three interpersonal behavioral dimensions: Inclusion, Control and Openness.

Schutz believed that all human interpersonal relations were defined by these three behaviors. According to FIRO, each of us includes, controls and is open with those we come in contact with. Likewise, to some degree, others include, control and are open with us. The behaviors are easily observable - they are out there for the world to see. What you cannot observe is how much I want to do these things to you, or how much I want you to do them to me. Element B measures our desire for each of these behaviors on four scales.



Inclusion. The Inclusion scale gives us information regarding how much interaction an individual wants with others. Some people like a lot of interaction. They are very sociable, enjoy parties or other group activities and, generally, have outgoing personalities. They tend to go out of their way to make others feel included by involving them in their activities. Other people are less outgoing, preferring to spend more time alone. They are more private and prefer to interact in smaller groups. They may feel uncomfortable meeting new people and tend to make friends slowly.

The four scales for Inclusion are: I Include People; I Want To Include People; People Include Me; and I Want People To Include Me. If you have low scores on the "I Want To Include People" scale, and work in an environment where you are required to interact with others all day, it won't be very long before you begin to feel dissatisfied.

Control. Control is concerned with the how much power and structure people want in their interpersonal interactions. Some people like to be in charge. They want to be the leader and tend to be the dominant person the groups they join. They like to be the "influencers" rather than the "influenced" in the crowd. Conversely, some people don't like to be the leader - they can lead when the situation demands it, but they would much rather have someone else take charge and give directions. They may seek out positions where someone else structures the workweek and provides guidance for the team.

The four scales for control are: I Control People; I Want To Control People; People Control Me and I Want People To Control Me. A person who has low scores on the I Want People To Control Me scale may find a highly structured, hierarchical work environment such as the military an uncomfortable match.

Openness. The Openness dimension examines the depth of one's personal interactions and how much one is willing to reveal of their innermost thoughts and feelings. When Schutz developed FIRO theory, he initially named this scale Affection. He later changed it to openness, because he wanted to measure behaviors rather than emotions. Some people are very open and talk freely about their thoughts and feelings. They may have many close friends with whom they share virtually everything about their lives. They confide in their friends and enjoy discussing their personal lives with others. Other people are more private with their thoughts and feelings. They feel more comfortable in relationships that are more businesslike and impersonal. They may share their personal lives with only a select group of family and friends and feel more comfortable when people do not get too close.

The four scales for openness are: I Am Open With People; I Want To Be Open With People; People Are Open With Me and I Want People To Be Open With Me. An individual with low scores in the I Want People To Be Open With Me scale may not be particularly comfortable working as a psychoanalyst, for example, listening to other peoples' thoughts and feelings every day.

Element B is currently in use in over seventeen countries and has been translated into nine languages. The validated results of the instrument can be used to form hypotheses to predict how well team members might interact and work together and, more importantly, how each person on the team can adjust his or her behavior to make the relationships more efficient. Research has shown that a team's compatibility increases when members are matched according to their preferences in the three behavioral dimensions. What sets Element B apart from other personality instruments is that it does not presume that people are "hardwired" at birth in their preferences in the measured dimensions. While some personality theories suggest that our personalities don't change significantly from the time we reach maturity, Element B scores are seen as a point of departure for self-awareness, exploration, growth and change. Each of us has the option of modifying our interpersonal behaviors in order to get more satisfaction and efficiency from our relationships.

At first glance, FIRO Element B may seem very simple, but as one continues to analyze the data it provides it becomes apparent that this tool delves deeply into the very core of who we are and sheds light on the reasoning behind our interpersonal behaviors. The links between Inclusion and our feelings about significance become apparent. A deeper examination of Control will lead us to our perceptions about competency, and an in-depth look at Openness will cause us to consider our feelings regarding "likeability" in others as well as ourselves.

Over the years Element B has proven to be one of the most effective tools available to help people understand interpersonal relationships and build stronger, more efficient teams. Readers who are interested in learning more about Element B, or who would like to take it online can do so by visiting the High Performing Systems, Inc. website at www.hpsys.com.

About the Author: John Finley is a consultant with High Performing Systems, Inc., an international consulting firm headquartered in Watkinsville, GA.

FIRO is a trademark of CPP, Inc. Element B is a trademark of Bcon WSA International, Inc.

Would you like to republish this or other articles from the journal? You are free to do so providing you follow these guidelines.


Go try the FIRO-B online at www.hpsys.com and tell us what you think. We'd love to hear about them, so please email us your comments.

What's New?
MFJ "Ask" Campaign

We're 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 for playing!

Your Name
Email Address
My single most important questions is...


About the Publisher
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!

In the Spotlight

Teleclass for facilitators and change agents.

Discrete skills and attitudes for the new and experienced facilitator who wants to get their group into serious motion.

Random Acts of Facilitation Teleclass

This class will meet for four consecutive Wednesday's, October 22nd through November 12th, 2003 at 7:00-8:30 PM EDT (NY Time) to cover 25+ discrete facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course is for facilitators at any level or group members that simply want to know more about facilitation so that they can make the groups they are a part of more effective. Being discrete acts of facilitation, they also lend themselves to being taught to your group members who desire to become more self-facilitative.

How the Training works...
1. You dial into your class every Wednesday from October 22nd through November 12th for a 90-minute focused training segment using a telephone conferencing bridge.
2. You work a 25-point checklist during the course (about an hour a week of study and field work).
3. You will have the opportunity to discuss issues on the subject matter with the instructor and your classmates via an online listserve during the course.
4. During the week, you may access the instructor via email for help or situational questions.

Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the course...

Class 1
Introduction to the Facilitation,Self Facilitation and Relating Skills.

1. Set the Stage.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
4. Juggling.
5. Me First.
6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.

Class 2
Relating and Group Dynamics

8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.
11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.

Class 3
Group Dynamics, Organizing and Presenting yourself

14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation
17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Be your message

Class 4
Intervening to shift group energy

21. Tame the Tormentors.
22. CareFront.
23. Use the Struggle.
24. Break through barriers.
25. Facilitate from Within.

Benefits to you of participating from the Random Acts of Facilitation Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of facilitation skills if you are contemplating becoming a facilitator, team leader, board member, manager, mediator, etc.
2. Learn some "easy to remember," discrete tools you can use to empower any group.
3. Learn how to challenge and empower every group you come in contact with.
4. Learn to appreciate and use surprises by getting comfortable dealing with the "unexpected" in your groups.
5. Gain reinforcement for the facilitative work you're already doing and learn some language and theory to back it up.
6. Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, who are all passionate about empowering groups.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the training described above, you also receive:
1. Free access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the training.
3. Free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).

The full cost of training/access is only $79 for MFJ readers ($89 for the general public) including a free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.

October 22-November 12, 2003, 7:00-8:30 PM EDT (NY Time)

Please click here to register. Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and free article bank. 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 package, 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.)

Real Audio Testimonials
Click here for a one-minute audio testimonial from several participants on the final day of the teleclass.


Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on October 28, 2003.


Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved