facilitator ezine logo
  Skill of the Week

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0124 | October 28, 2003 | 9,000 Subscribers

Check out this basic teleclass for Facilitators. Starts November 17th at 1:00 PM EST. Click here for details.

Got a burning questions about facilitation? Click here.

Click here
to learn more about our new Virtual University for Facilitators.

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

Dear friends,

This week's article was submitted Christopher Avery, Ph.D, an authority on executive and corporate team performance. His article explore a wonderfully simple yet powerful model for helping groups reach better decision called "ORID." The "ORID" method is a nickname for the Focused Conversation Method, developed by the Institute of Cultural Affairs. This tool will help you lead groups of diverse people in making rapid collective decisions anytime and anywhere.

Upcoming Teleclasses:

Our next 5-day "Random Acts of Facilitation" Teleclass is scheduled to run November 17th-21st, from 1:00-2:00 PM EST (NY Time). Please click here for details.

From Teaching to Learning Facilitation. This new teleclass will be offered during the week of December 8th. This first offering will run 4-5 days
from 1:00-2:00 PM EST (NY Time) and as an R&D teleclass, it will be offered at a discounted price of $59. This course will explore how to make the leap from conventional teaching approaches to a perspective based on the learner, incorporating facilitation skills and philosophy into the learning environment. More details will be released in the next few weeks. If you're interested, click here to register, or email teleclass@facilitatoru.com to express your interest.

Finally, we're excited to announce
the beta launch of our new online database of Facilitated Activities called, "Factivities.com." We've included full details below. Please do go check it out, let us know what you think, and by all means, submit your exercises!

Thanks for your support.
Steve Davis


Group Skill

A Magical Tool for Group Decisions
Exploring the ORID Model

The Point

How would you like to confidently lead a group of diverse people to make a rapid collective decision anytime and anywhere? Of course you would. Who wouldn't? Well after learning the tool in this article, you'll be able to say with confidence "If its possible for this group to reach a collective decision, I can help them do it."

Consider a recent case. In preparing to facilitate an annual Board retreat, I learned that the Board President held one major outcome: to make decisions on four complex issues facing the organization. He also had one important condition in that he wanted consensus decisions from the twenty-five board members attending the meeting. Even though these were his outcomes, he had doubts because he kept asking me if I really thought they could accomplish this! I kept saying "Sure you can!" And so can you.

The secret is to use a simple and powerful tool called ORID developed by the Institute for Cultural Affairs to help diverse people work together productively. To get started, first set the context so that people can support you. In my case, I asked the Board President to open by stating the purpose of the meeting as a decision making meeting and asking everyone if, given a fair process, they would be willing to put their best effort into reaching decisions that they could whole-heartedly support. Everyone said "yes." Then he introduced me and said that I would ensure fair process. I asked the group to agree to a few ground rules for the meeting including taking responsibility for their own communication, making sure that their own voice is heard, and truly considering the views of others. People also agreed to these, so the context was now set.

Then, I applied the trusty ORID process four times, once to each topic. The group made six unanimous decisions about how to move forward on the four sticky issues!



ORID's power comes from exposing and applying the human "inference ladder" of reasoning. That's the conceptual ladder that your reasoning process "climbs," usually subconsciously and instantaneously, between the time your senses receive any kind of stimulus and the time you act on that stimulus. Here are four of the ladder rungs:

Selective Perception: Every person filters some data out and lets other data in.

Emotional reaction: We each have immediate positive or negative emotional reactions to most all stimuli.

Sense-making: Everyone assigns meaning to data based on our unique filters (beliefs, drives and experiences).

Action: We take actions based on our own inferences about data.
Here's an example:

A loud alarm rings!!! (selective perception)
"Ugh..." (emotional reaction)
"It's time to get out of bed." (sense-making)
Stumble to the bathroom. (action)

Decision making groups get bogged down when it's members climb the first three rungs silently, subconsciously and individually. Most people in decision-making groups only speak to each other about the last rung -- individual preferences for the action. I call this jumping to the "We should" statements. However, each member may have reached their preference for the group action based on different stimuli, different emotional reactions, and different interpretations.

The ORID technique ensures that the group visits each rung of the ladder together. Here is how it works. After the group shares a common experience (informational presentation, document, etc.), lead them through the following five steps:

1. O (for Objective): Ask the members what they recall seeing or hearing and list their answers on flip chart paper. Caution: Keep people focused on what they observed with their senses. Disallow interpretations and opinions at this stage.

2. R+ (for Reflective positive): Ask members what they had positive reactions to and list their responses.

3. R- (for Reflective negative): Ask members what they had negative reactions to and list their responses. What will be positive for some may be negative for others. That's okay and exactly why you are doing this.

4. I (for Interpretive): Ask members what sense they make of the data and record their responses. Hint: It's easier to assign meaning by thinking about what headline a reporter might write about this data.

5. D (for Decisional): Ask the members what decisions they can now make as a group. Help them work individual proposals into consensus decisions.

About the Author: Christopher M. Avery, Ph.D. is one of the most outspoken, celebrated, and successful authorities on individual and team performance available to executives and corporations today. His extensive research focuses exclusively on how professionals build, maintain and leverage successful and productive relationships with people over whom they have no direct control. Visit his website at: www.partnerwerks.com.

Resources. There are two books that are the major source for the ORID method.

The Art of Focused Conversation, by Brian Stanfield, co-published by New Society Publishers and the Canadian Institute of Cultural Affairs, 1999.

The Art of Focused Conversation for Schools, by Jo Nelson, co-published by New Society Publishers and the Canadian Institute of Cultural Affairs, 2001.


Try the ORID model this week with a group or joint decision and let us know how it worked. 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

Announcing the beta launch of

Factivities...which means "Facilitated Activities," is our concept for a searchable online database of experiential activities for facilitators and trainers. This site is being developed in response to many of our readers requests and we're finally getting it off the ground, in it's current beta form, for a dry run.

We're anticipating an official launch sometime within the next 3-6 months depending on how quickly we can build the database. Here are the major features we'd love you to have a look at, think about, and comment on.

Submission Incentives

We've put together some incentives for exercise authors, like yourselves, to submit exercises to our database. Here's what we've got so far. Please tell us what you think of these incentives. Any changes? Additions? Do these move you to submit your exercises?

- You retain copyright to your material for your own use elsewhere. Copyright to your material will simply be shared with Factivities.com.

- Every exercise you submit will contain your bio, including any contact info and website links you desire. Your exercise will be exposed to thousands of facilitators and trainers helping to effortlessly spread the word about your work.

- The Factivities.com site will be advertised weekly in our Master Facilitator Journal going to over 9,000 readers (and a plan to build this to over 25,000). When this site is officially launched, we will vigorously market it through all of our FacilitatorU.com sites.

- Free database access if you submit 3 or more exercises.

  • Submit 3 exercise or more and get full database access for 6 months.
  • Submit 5 exercises or more and get full database access for one year.
  • Submit 10 or more exercises and get free lifetime membership to database.

- Submitting your exercises will help build this database, making it a better tool for your own use as a facilitator.

Copyright and usage

We've put together copyright and usage notices for site users of the exercises. And we've put together our submission guidelines here. How do these look to you? Are we missing anything? Off base anywhere?

Exercise Input Form

We've developed an exercise input form that allows you, yes I mean YOU, to come to the site and input your exercise. Then a webpage is generated and posted on the site for us to review prior to approval. It's very slick and should really help us build this site fast. Thank you Jopa at ezezine.com for this development. Please check it out here.

Site Search Engine

We've put up a "site search engine" that lets you search for exercises based on keywords, outcome, category, etc. Please give it a whirl and let us know what you think of it. Do you like the summaries returned for each exercise? Will you find this particular info useful when searching for exercises? Does any of the info need to change? Understand we only have about 10 exercises in there right now so don't be surprised if your search request doesn't return anything. Just give it another try. You can also just click through each category and review exercise summaries manually as well. This is probably all we really need in the short term, but when we have a thousand exercises in the system, the search engine should come in real handy.

Submit Yours!

Please submit any originally developed exercises that you have and pass the word to other facilitators and invite them to do the same. We really appreciate your support on this!

Finally, let us know what you think of the site overall. Particularly if you see something that you'd like to see changed.


Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on November 4, 2003.


Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved