Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0137 | January 27, 2004 | 8,000 Subscribers...

Dear friends,

Do you ever wish that you could be more "autocratic" in your role as a facilitator? Probably not. But this week's article, "Politeness, Openness, and Autocracy," (POA) explores the importance and appropriateness of using just this trait at times within your groups. This POA idea comes from the book, "Spiral Dynamics," by D. Beck and C. Cowan, a pet model of mine of late that you'll be hearing much more about in the months to come. I look forward to your comments on the article.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis

FacilitatorU News

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Group Management Skill
Politeness, Openness, and Autocracy
Be a compassionate autocrat for effective process for all concerned.
The Point

In our efforts to be compassionate, catalysts and advocates, eager and adept at inviting full participation from all concerned, we may at times forget the need to be outright autocrats. No I'm not mad. I just know that the temperament of many facilitators may resist this invitation, or this ability in them may have atrophied from lack of use as a result of egalitarian rebellion.

Just last week, in my latest Random Acts of Facilitation Teleclass, one student brought forth the dilemma in dealing with a group of strong, alpha males (strong, outspoken, aggressive, task-oriented) and their resistance to following their grounrules. She voiced her concern that sometimes she felt that she was falling into the same dysfunctional behavior that they were when at times she was forced to fiercely intervene to get their attention.

If everyone agrees to how they want to behave to achieve a healthy process, and they've designated a facilitator to help them maintain the integrity of that process or "container," then any failure to intervene on a breech of that container is a failure on the part of the facilitator to maintain its integrity. It may even be necessary sometimes to protect the container with great ferocity. Just as at times we go off to fight wars to stop other wars, though our intentions aren't always as pure as the driven snow, sometimes this needs to be done. It's how it's done, with whom, and for what reasons that's important.

If continuous breeching of process occurs with little regard or learning from facilitator interventions, then it may be time to reexamine the container boundaries. And as always, the facilitator doesn't make the decisions about the shape of this container, she merely points out issues and engages the group in redefining its new boundaries, ie. behaviors, if in fact they want to. And ultimately, some groups may drive us crazy operating in seemingly dysfunctional ways, and may not be ready or willing to change their approach as they are obviously receiving something they want or need in the process...another dynamic that the facilitator can help them explore, or not.


Politeness, Openness, and Autocracy

Don Beck and Chris Cowen, speak of the POA model in the book, "Spiral Dynamics," a topic we will be talking much more about in future issues, as three essential tools for skillful leadership, and for effective relationships for that matter.


- Demonstrates a sense of civility--we all want to be treated with respect and consideration.
- Shows genuine interest in people.
- Adheres to established social norms and cultural differences out of respect for others.
- Strikes a good balance between interest in the lives of others and their right to personal autonomy, privacy, and freedom.
- Listens without becoming distracted, yet can express personal time constraints honestly and directly such that the other person doesn't feel disrespected.


- Generates trust within the group and among its participants.Be honest--we all want to be trusted.
- Fosters a climate that gives permission for others, as individuals or groups, to be communicative and straightforward.
- Does not mean everything is an open book; but when confidentiality and security are important, the need is explained up front. Appropriate privacy is as much a part of an Open arrangement as disclosure.


- All but the most enlightened groups still need for someone to "be in charge."
- Means taking charge, accepting responsibility, knowing where "the buck stops," and being wiling to put yourself on the line.
- Autocracy is accepted, even enjoyed in the presence of Politeness and Openness which tend to remove fear from the equation.
- Can be a "collective" affair. In other words, enforcing groundrules developed by a group is actually an autocratic action taken in service to the whole.

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

Ask yourself about your relationship to autocracy and how you effectively use it in your groups. Please
email us your thoughts on this topic.
Appreciative Inquiry Teleclass

Learn a Provocative Approach to Unleashing the Power of Groups. This four-session teleclass 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 one-hour sessions will be interactive and we will encourage discussion of specific situations in which Appreciate Inquiry might be applied. Click here for details.


Spiral Dynamics : Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change (Developmental Management), by Don Edward Beck, Christopher C. Cowan

Spiral Dynamics draws extensively upon over 40 years of research by Beck, Cowan, and their mentor Clare W. Graves. The original research data includes over 500,000 interviews conducted over five continents, and is comparable to other "biopsychosocial systems development" research conducted by Jane Loevinger, Stanley Milgram, Laurence Kohlberg, Erik Erikson etc.

What makes Graves unique however is that he created a dynamic model of human consciousness evolution which can assimilate other models and worldviews. He also recognized that insights from Cognitive Psychology, Genetics, and Neurophysiology would need to be examined. Fans of Neuro Linguistic Programming, General Systems Theory, Memetics and the Human Potential Movement will find a wealth of material, plus reading resources for further specialized research.

SD has been applied to resolve racial tension in South Africa, in education systems and government, by the World Future Society State of the World Forum, Arlington Institute, and Integral Institute, and by major companies such as Nedbank and SouthWest Airlines. -- Alex Burns, Melbourne, Australia

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

Quit Teaching...Become a Learning Facilitator Learn strategies, tools, and techniques to make the shift from Teaching to "Learning Facilitation."

Join us for this 5-day experiential TeleClass with founder Steve Davis.

This course will explore how to make the leap from conventional teaching to the skills, attitudes, and practices necessary to create and facilitate a learning environment.

Thanks for the wonderful opportunity to participate in your Learning Facilitator teleclass. Your facilitation and knowledge were great together. I also appreciate the positivity and support of all of the participants. I look forward to your facilitation in the future. -- Chalis Leeper, Training Specialist

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...

1. You dial into your class via a telephone bridge line for five consecutive weekdays, February 9-13, at 10:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM EST (NY Time) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a telephone conferencing bridge.
2. You work through a 50-page learning guide during the course (about an hour a day of study and field work) which you complete by Friday, or sooner if you wish.
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.

Training Agenda...

Here's what you'll be learning and doing during this course...

Exploring the Landscape of Learning

- What is "Learning?" Who Learns? Who teaches?
- Review distinctions between Teaching, Training, Mentoring, Coaching, and Facilitating
- The Content/Process Paradox

Changing the Paradigm
- Shift from Director to Guide
- "Ability to do" vs. Info delivery
- Shifts for students and for teachers
- Relating to shifts in worldviews
- From curriculum development to needs assessment

Becoming a Learning Facilitator
- Characteristics
- Core Values
- Inner Shifts Required
- Methods
- Tools and Tactics

Learning Models
- Temperaments
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- Learning Cycle
- Multiple Intelligences
- Habit Model
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- Communities of Practice
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- Instructional Events
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Benefits from participating in the training...

- Enhance your love of teaching and training
- Learn new ways to get your students excited about learning.
- Review 7+ different models of teaching and learning.
- Learn to package your material in a way that better relates to your students.
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- Become a better listener and communicator.
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- Collaborate and learn from your peers, who are all passionate about empowering groups.


The cost of this training is $89. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. MFJ readers who register by January 31st can register for $79.


February 9-13, at 10:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM EST (NY Time)

Also included with your training...

In addition to the training described above, you also receive:
- Content rich 50-page Student Learning Guide
- Free access to the participant-only website
- Free access to the RealAudio version of the training.

This teleclass held my attention, kept me thinking, and gave me inspiring ideas and tools
that I look forward to using in my next workshop.

--Sherry Leblanc, Executive Life Coach--


Just click on the link below to register and you'll Immediately receive an email with instructions to access the course along with a 50-page learning guide. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served. If you have any questions about this course, please don't hesitate to email us.

Please click here to register by 31 Jan
for discounted fee of $79.

Interested in training for your whole group?

Just email or call 805-489-4130 and we'll customize a program for your staff or workgroup.

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.)

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