Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0138 | February 3 2004 | 8,000 Subscribers...

Dear friends,

I received an interesting email a few months back from
MFJ reader Tim Laursen. He told an interesting story of a self-directed work team he was a part of in a small utility company he used to work for. In this issue, we share his brief story and include the operating principles his group adhered to to make this kind of team possible. We hope you can take something from this article that you can apply to your own teams and working groups.

If any of you have any interesting stories or experiences about facilitation, group process, work groups, team building, training, etc. that might interest our readers, please
email them to us.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis

FacilitatorU News

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Becoming a Learning Facilitator Teleclass...spaces still available. This Teleclass starts next Monday, February 9th and there are still spaces available. We meet daily through Friday the 13th, from 1:00-2:00 PM EST (NY Time) over the telephone from the comfort of your own home or office. This course is for teachers and trainers and explores how to make the leap from conventional teaching to the skills, attitudes, and practices necessary to create and facilitate a learning environment. We have extended our registration discount through Friday. Please consider joining us. See details below.

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Group Management Skill
Story of a "Self-Directed" Work Team
The Point

Some time ago I worked in a self-directed work team. Our manager had accepted a position at another company, and our company was not ready to replace him. As a group we thrived under our own "leadership." We were all very mature in our positions and required very little guidance or assistance in doing what we did. We became one of the benchmarks for our industry and launched several innovative processes within the industry that are now benchmarked internationally.

With that being said, even though we had no "leader," we did have someone who kept us on track and made any final decisions if the group could not come to a consensus. The great thing was that this position rotated almost effortlessly through the group as well! Depending on the circumstances, the person with the least vested interest in the project became the leader/facilitator of the project without even having to be assigned. The more objective person always seemed to step up and take the reigns without having to be asked. This was the major reason for our successes. We knew almost intuitively who should lead the project and who should be the "worker."

We have split up since then and the group now doing what we did is struggling under the leadership that eventually replaced our manager. With one person specifically in charge, the creativity of the work group has greatly decreased. They will never recapture the chemistry that our group had for leading/facilitating ourselves.

I believe groups like ours are unique and rarely found. Once found they must be used to their fullest extent.

What does it take to build and run a team like this? Below, Tim shares some of the operating standards they used to develop and maintain this successful self-directed team.


Operating Standards for a Self-Directed work team

1. We didn't do anything that doesn't hold up under public scrutiny.

2. We vowed to not withhold bad news from upper management. Bad news is generally filtered out as information travels upward in an organization and leads to communication barriers and resultant problems down the road.

3. We defined "Ineffectiveness" as fatal timidity to act when an opportunity presented itself. We strove to overcome our ineffectiveness.

4. We did our best to speak our truth as gently as possible. If you always tell the truth you never have to remember what you said.

5. We overcame our need for individual approval and accolades, doing our best to see everyone of equal value and importance. One person, a first among equals, was usually assigned the power to make a final decision. This role changed easily as dictated by the situation and was based on passion, interest, and expertise. There is no end to what we can achieve if we are not concerned with who gets the credit.

6. We developed a culture that made sharing anything OK. So we often shared and acted on our gut feelings. These were seldom wrong.

7. .We never blind sided anyone. We always had a thorough pre brief before briefings so that management always knew what was going to be shared, which developed their trust in us.

8. We developed means to entertain healthy conflict and differing points of view using three-point communication. This meant allowing or encouraging a devil's advocate point of view and a neutral third party to keep the debate healthy.

9. We practiced what we preached and coached each other do operate out of integrity and to be accountable to the standards we espoused.

10. We performed team building activities within our group to maintain and grow our team. We would also debrief each other to validate senses and perceptions about what went on in the group.

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


Are there any principles you'd add to the list above? Any you see lacking in your own 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.


Succeeding As a Self Directed Work Team: 20 Important Questions Answered, by Ann Harper, Bob Harper

What I liked about the book is that it's easy to read, filled with information, goes to the point concisely and simply answering 20 questions on Self-Directed Work Teams.. The 20 questions are answere, but I also liked that each chapter ends with "Questions For You" so the book becomes really hands on.

If you would like a "preview" of the questions... they cover everything going from what Self-Directed Work teams are, to keys for success, benefits for the organization and the team members, the roles of team members, managers and supervisors in the Work team, how to get started and more. Actually, the Business Book Quality Digest called it "the best quick introduction to self-directed teams." It may very well be! -- Catherine-Ann, Vermont

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
- VAK Attack
- Learning Cycle
- Multiple Intelligences
- Habit Model
- Brain-Based Learning
- Communities of Practice
- KOLB Learning Cycle
- Instructional Events
- The Art of the Question
- Open Space Technology

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.
- Learn to connect with your students in a way that's rewarding for you both
- Become a better listener and communicator.
- Release the burden of trying to "make" learning happen in your classroom.
- 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
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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