Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0144 | March 16, 2004 | 8,000 Subscribers...

Dear friends,

I love the new "Apprentice" show on NBC every Thursday night. Co-produced by Mark Burnett of "Survivor" fame, and the billionaire real estate mogul, Donald Trump, this show has become quite a sensation. Though I love the business lessons that come across each week, I cringe at the contestants terrible Facilitation skills. So in this week's article,
"The Facilitator's "Trump" Card," we talk briefly about the show and offer some tips to Project Managers, present and future, in the show and in the world, who may benefit from a few reminders about "synergizing" your groups to get the most out of them and have fun doing it. We hope you enjoy the article.

Also, I'm excited to invite you to our next one-hour tele-seminar with Marg Wall, M.Ed., Adult Educator and Learning Specialist in...How to Design Winning Workshops and Seminars that Inspire and Engage Your Audience, next Wednesday, March 24th at 4:00 PM EST. We've just added a couple more great bonuses for registrants too. Please see details below.

Finally, this is your last chance to register for our next Appreciative Inquiry teleclass starting tomorrow, March 17th. We still have room and would love to have you if you feel you could benefit from learning this compelling new strategy for moving individuals and organizations forward based on what works best.

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

Facilitator News

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Group Awareness and Management Skill
The Facilitator's "Trump" Card
The Point

I've been a big fan of the new TV show, "The Apprentice," appearing every Thursday night on NBC. This new show, produced by Mark Burnett, producer of the incredibly successful "Survivor" reality show, co-produced this one with billionaire real estate mogul, Donald Trump in Manhattan.

After months of perusing 200,000 applications, Trump chose 16 candidates, then split the group into two separate teams. Each week, they are presented with a new business challenge over which they compete as teams. The losing team must come to the boardroom where one is chosen to be fired and must leave the show and the competition. Ultimately, one person will survive and become Trump's Apprentice to run one of his companies at a healthy six-figure salary.

As we viewers watch the slow elimination of applicants, there are many lessons we can learn about the business world from Trump's obviously successful perspective. Among these lessons are: know your customer, create good working relationships, research available data, ask lots of appropriate questions, preplan with your team before heading out on a group project, be loyal to your team, keep an upbeat and winning attitude, stand up for yourself when necessary, and sex appeal sells.

I really love the great business lessons I receive each week from Trump and his staff, and from observing how the apprentices think through, or don't think through, as is more often the case, each business problem. But what I find particularly fascinating is how these groups are truly clueless with regard to facilitation skills. After several weeks of watching the show, it appears, thus far, that no one has shown any ability to facilitate either as a member of a group nor as the appointed project manager.

If the bottom line is money, you might be able to justify a strong leader that doesn’t facilitate. But because these teams continue to work together week after week using the same broken process, I would wager that the group who learned some basic facilitation skills would move past the other and have fun doing it.

So, to the Donald, the bottom line mogul that you obviously are, we know that you will continue to address the business and people skills required of your yet to be chosen apprentice, but we strongly urge you to use this opportunity to educate the American viewers (and there are many, it is the top rated show presently) and future applicants, that good facilitation skills can unleash the full synergy of any group to evolve and maintain a strong team. One that will stand head and shoulders above the competition in any entrepreneurial effort.


Every Project Manager on the show so far has missed the mark when it comes to group facilitation skills. Here are some suggestions for future contestants, for those still in the game, and for you project managers out there who may benefit from a facilitative tip or two, and want an edge on the competition.

Who are you competing with? Sure this is ultimately an Individual competition. Only one winner will take the final prize. But for the majority of the game, until you're down to two or three people, this is a team competition. Check your egos at the door and get this! You'll have far less visits to the boardroom if you put the team ahead of your own self-interests, at least for awhile.

Is your process working? It's funny, but week after week, you keep running the same patterns and I never see you debrief your "process" so that you might improve it. We humans are programmable. We learn a habit and stick with it unless we get conscious about it. So you continue to repeat the same broken approaches. Stop! Your bottom line ...winning the at the end of a "winning process." That is, you can evolve the way you work together so that your process gets better, not worse, over time. Get this and you win, if not the game, at least a whole new approach to leadership.

Who's good at what? You frequently miss lots of simple details and things fall through the crack. On every team, each person has different strengths. Figure out who's good at what and let them run with that. If you don't ask or notice, you'll continue to screw up and waste lots of energy. Every team has a creative genius, an accountant, an integrator, a connector, etc. Get to know your strengths and stick with them.

Project managers don't have to know everything. I often see the project manager make uninformed or unsupported decisions on behalf of the group. Come on now, you're not the king, your the catalyst! Lead your people, not with a bridle but with a vision. Believe in them, challenge them, reality check them, brainstorm them, and tease out the synergy at your finger tips!

Validate your people. Each week, you Project Managers myopically focuses on the task, often forgetting about the relationships and the tender egos in your charge. I've seen on many occasions undue criticism of creative ideas in a brainstorming process, or the shutting out of contributions made by other participants. This irritates people off and causes them to withdraw, even sabotage your efforts. You don't need that. Make sure everyone has their due. It doesn't take that much effort. And sometimes, the last person who you think can offer anything constructive, just may pop in with a magical little whisper of an idea that will give your group wings.

Check out your assumptions. Sure, you Apprentice contestants are young, bright entrepreneurs. But you're also very naive at times. Like many teenagers, you often make an observation about someone, adopt it as fact, and hold onto it for dear life. Come on folks, you aren't gods, outside your own worlds anyway. Open your eyes to the assumptions beneath your "facts." They're always there. Doing so, and helping your teammates do the same, will really free up energy that you spend arguing 90% of the time.

Bottom Line: Project Managers need basic facilitation skills. To a large degree, a project manager's success has to do with their ability to balance tasks with relationships and group processes, i.e. facilitation skills. However, their education is primarily technical. Whereever you can share this point with leaders you touch, you will benefit everyone involved.


Pick a tip above that you can implement or refine in your groups as project manager or facilitator. Or, if you watch the show, send in a tip or perspective we may have missed. Please
email us your comments and thoughts on this topic.
Facilitation Expert Series

Facilitation Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar:
"10 Questions Every Facilitator Should Answer Before Designing Their Next Workshop." Featuring Marg Wall, M.Ed.

Attend this one-hour tele-seminar with Marg Wall and Steve Davis and learn...How to Design Winning Workshops and Seminars that Inspire and Engage Your Audience. Wednesday, March 24th at 4:00 PM EST (NY Time). Some of the points we'll discuss are...

How to come up with content for your workshops and to decide how much to include.
How to balance content with process in the design of your workshops.
How to manage the timing of content delivery so that you don't have too much or too little.
The specific preparation you must do with your client as part of the workshop design process.
How to select the most appropriate teaching methods for the content you plan to deliver.
How to manage the emotional layer in the design of a workshop.
Ways trainers can improve their workshops so that the participants are more engaged.
The difference between performance outcomes and learning objectives.
Advice on pacing and order of activities and how they integrate with the session flow.
Tips on designing workshops with multiple facilitators.
And, answers to any questions you bring to the teleclass.


Instructional Design Checklist.

Workshop Design Proficiencies Self-Assessment.

Article, "Secrets from the Pros: 5 Master Presenters Share Their Top Techniques."
What do these people know about presenting that you don't? Not much -- yet each has developed a personal cache of secret strategies and techniques that have helped them become the successful presenters they are today. How did they develop these techniques and what can you learn from them?

Training Revolution Lexicon Dictionary. A reference source for program managers developed by NavAir. Contains dozens of terms associated with current trends in learning, training, human performance, human systems integration, and policy.

Training Terms Dictionary. Dictionary containing 400 useful Training Terms.

Click here for details about this interview, the bonuses, and registration.


The Apprentice TV Series

This site provides information and updates about the show, the contestants, producers, weekly dossier of business assignments, videos, episode recaps, and more. Check it out and let us know what you think of the contestants facilitation skills.
And if you're interested, they're taking applications now for next season!

In the Spotlight
Appreciative Inquiry
A Provocative Proposal for Unleashing the Power of What Works...

Join us for this 4-week TeleClass with AI experts, Patricia Clason and Bert Stitt starting March 17th, 2:00 - 3:00 PM EST


This four session series 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.

The Eight Assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry,

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.

The Six Core Principles of Appreciative Inquiry,

Understanding the DNA of Appreciative Inquiry gives us a foundation upon which we can build the infrastructure of a change process that works.

The Five Steps to Appreciative Inquiry,

From designing an appreciative question to creating a provocative proposal and 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!

Outcomes and Opportunities (one month after the first three classes),

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.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 4-Week training described above, you also receive:

1. 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 field.
4. Summary notes of each class session.
5. List of class participants.

Benefits 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.
2. Learn to employ a change process that works.
3. Learn how to come from a positive, "what works" perspective when working with individuals and groups.

Click here to register now!

Leader Bios

Bert 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.

Patricia 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.

Course 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 for one hour on the following four Wednesdays at 2:00 PM EST (NY Time), March 17th, March 24th, March 31st, and April 7th.

Please click 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.

Click here to register for this "live" teleclass now!

Self-Guided Real Audio Version. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete with all the resources outlined above. You'll be provided with access to the recorded offerings of the four-hour teleclass that you can listen to online and follow along in the notes used in the live class.

Click here to purchase Real Audio Version for $59

About 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. 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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