Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0154 | May 25, 2004 | 8,000 Subscribers...

Dear friends,

I discovered the Spiral Dynamics model over a year ago and have been eager to find ways to share it with you. In that I often "over-cogitate" on these things, I've decided to role out some ideas and share them with you in an open forum this Wednesday, hosted by my friends and fellow coaches, Elderbob Brannan and Dwayne Cox. See details after the article on how to tune in.

Though this week's article doesn't explicitly speak about Spiral Dynamics, the insights that inspired it came from this model and discussions with a couple of close friends. In
"Processing Paralysis," we talk about how the "process-oriented" strengths of facilitators and those of "process-oriented" participants can become weaknesses and hold us back. I realize this article may be a bit controversial, and being a closet radical, part of me hopes it is. So I welcome your comments, disagreements, or any other thoughts you'd be willing to share on this topic or anything that it might trigger for you. I look forward to hearing from you.

I also want to remind you that our next Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar is this Thursday, May 27th at 4:00 PM EDT, where we'll talk all about Dynamic Facilitation, a process for coming to consensus on impossible problems, and possibly a new approach to a truly participative democracy. Please see details after the article.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Processing Paralysis--Can our strengths as facilitators get in our way?

Dynamic Facilitation : Our next one-hour tele-seminar with Jim Rough happens Thursday, May 27th at 4:00 PM EDT.

Resource: Boomeritis : A Novel That Will Set You Free! by Ken Wilber. A great introduction to Spiral Dynamics and the "Integral" philosophy.

Free Teleclass.
The End of Transformation, Dialogue, and Healing...Spiral Dynamics: A Roadmap for Evolution

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

Group Process Skill
Processing Paralysis
Can our strengths as facilitators get in our way?
The Point

Facilitators are keenly away of the need to help their groups embrace, enhance, and invoke processes intended to help them get the results they want in healthy ways. This attention to process is often what's missing in our task-oriented culture. Therefore, many groups really benefit by looking at the processes they use to get things done, to communicate with one another, to share information, to manage their organizations, etc.

Facilitators, as process experts also know the importance of balancing process, task, and relationships in their groups.
At times however, facilitators adept at working processes may get overly enamored with their process focus. Further, there may be groups they are working with, who by their nature, have a strong process focus themselves. They may be environmentally conscious groups, groups into social service, counseling-oriented, or involved in various forms of personal growth, who have come to recognize the power of working through people processes. They tend to embrace an egalitarian workview that is open to all viewpoints and beleive that all individuals have something important to express at any given time.

It's important to note here that a facilitator's process orientation can go too far. If our focus becomes dominated by process at the expense of task, we may end up with the flip side of the process-blindness problem and contract a disdain for task.

Have you ever been in this type of group? It can feel very comfortable, warm, and fuzzy for some. Downright maddening and frustrating for others. What do we do about this type of condition? Do we really need to do anything?


Stuck in task-blindness, we may insist that enough dialogue, enough healing, or enough processing, will solve any problem. This is a fallacy. There will be people at times that no one will benefit hearing from. There may be people in some groups that simply cannot or will not respond to rational dialogue or process diagnosis. There will be a point where all the healing in the world won't move one forward. These may be times when direction or challenge is required and consequences stated.

So what are some indications that you may be "over processing?"

Equal say for everyone and sensitive to everyone’s needs no matter what value particular contributions have to the goals of the group.
A tendency to be attached to everyone being accepting and egalitarian.
An inordinate emphasis on process and little mention of task.
A tendency for meetings to drag on, and while being civil, they tend to yield few tangible results.
A reluctance to push for closure or into action until full consensus is reached.
Difficulty or refusal to prioritize values, resulting in reluctance to make value judgments around ideas, strategies, or actions.
An inordinate concern about hurting anyone or leaving anyone out of a decision-making or problem-solving process.

The list above is by no means exhaustive. Please let us know if you see others and share any experiences you have with these types of groups. We'd also love to hear from you if you find yourself paralyzed by process.


Are you over-processing in your groups? If you exhibit any of the warning signs above, please consider a self-intervention. Please
email us your thoughts or experiences on this.

Facilitation Expert Series

Facilitation Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar: "Dynamic Facilitation: Reaching Consensus on Impossible Problems--Tools for a New Cooperacy" featuring Jim Rough, Consultant, Speaker, Seminar Leader and Author

Attend this one-hour tele-seminar on Thursday, May 27th at 4:00 PM EDT (NY Time) with Jim Rough and Steve Davis. During this tele-seminar, you'll receive an introduction to Dynamic Facilitation from its developer. This is an energy-based way of facilitating where people address difficult issues creatively and collaboratively, achieving breakthrough results. Some of the points we'll discuss are...

"Just in Time" Learning

Attend this one-hour tele-seminar with Jim Rough and Steve Davis, Thursday, May 27th at 4:00 PM EDT (NY Time). Some of the points we'll discuss are...

What is Dynamic Facilitation and how can it help groups achieve breakthrough solutions?
The "tobe" concept and it's relevance to problem-solving.
What makes Dynamic Facilitation different from other facilitative models.
What kind of issues best lend themselves to this approach.
What are the requisite conditions necessary to tap collective consciousness.
Dynamic Facilitation success stories.
Ideas on how a Wisdom Council might shift the United States into a more democratic form of government.
How other facilitators make use of this approach.
And, answers to any questions you bring to the teleclass.

Four Free Bonuses!

1."Using Crises and Teams to "Turn On" a System." From the Journal for Quality and Participation. Read how Jim has helped groups use crisis to tap their full potential for solving difficult problems.

2. "Levels of Thinking Models of Change." Article looking at the levels of thinking and our typical approach to solving problems at each level.

3. The Founding of True Democracy. Chapter 2 from Jim's book, "Society's Breakthrough," which discusses a new model for a democracy based on shared decision-making.

4. Video on the Rogue Valley Wisdom Council conducted by The Center for Wise Democratic Processes". This 22-minute video highlights
a group of citizens in the Rogue Valley of Oregon conducting a successful experiment in democratic process using dynamic facilitation.

About Jim. Jim Rough is the originator and principal seminar leader for Dynamic Facilitation Skills. He's been leading public seminars and evolving the concepts of Dynamic Facilitation and Choice-creating since 1990. Jim is the author of the new book (2002) Society's Breakthrough! Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People. The book describes how these ideas promise new solutions to many long-standing problems, and how they offer the opportunity to revitalize democracy. See details at

Since 1980, Jim has been a faculty member at the annual Creative Problem Solving Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. He has spoken at many conferences, published numerous articles and is working on a new book about Dynamic Facilitation. Before founding Jim Rough and Associates, Inc. in 1985, Jim worked as an internal consultant within Boeing, Xerox, and Simpson Timber Company. His education includes a B.A. in physics from Occidental College, M.S. and M.B.A. degrees from Columbia University, and many years of independent study in Jungian psychology. He lives with his wife in the state of Washington in the United States.

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


Boomeritis : A Novel That Will Set You Free! by Ken Wilber

This book offers a layman's account of Spiral Dynamics, focusing particularly on the narcissistic aspect of the Green meme. I feel that this book may be of particular interest to facilitators, who first, tend to be students of personal growth and maps of consciousness, and second, who are usually at the Green meme level. This book offers the prospect that millions of Baby-Boomers and their offspring are poised to make the leap into a higher level of consciousness that my be necessary for our survival. Its ideas may enlighten Boomers stuck in the "Mean Green Meme" offering them a roadmap to a more empowered future.

In the Spotlight

The End of Transformation, Dialogue, and Healing...

Spiral Dynamics: A Roadmap for Evolution

Meta-Insights for Facilitators and Coaches

Join us for this Free one-hour teleclass this Wednesday, May 26th at 6:00 PM EDT (NY Time). With Steve Davis, Publisher of the Master Facilitator Journal and Founder of

What is this?

Exposure to the Spiral Dynamics Model about one year ago has significantly changed the way I view the world. You could say that its even changed my life. Learning this map of human consciousness evolution, with its corresponding value packages, and world views has helped me free up a good deal of judgment, even a sense of hopelessness at times, about what's going on in the world and where we're headed.


Quick introduction to the Spiral Dynamics model.
Understand how human consciousness and world views adhere to a predictable path of development.
Understand this path and where you fit to help you identify your growing edge.
What is second tier consciousness and why our leap to this level is essential to our survival.
Discussion on evolving to the second tier and helping others do the same.
Learn ways of identifying the attributes and world views of different levels of consciousness.
Recognize the need to facilitate environments required by each level.
Understand the relationship between Personal Evolution and Spiral Dynamics.
Discussion of the qualities of a Second-Tier Facilitator/Coach.

When and Where?

Come join me this Wednesday, May 26th at 6:00 PM EDT to discuss this model and its implications to facilitators, coaches, change agents and all thinking human beings. It's hosted by Elderbob Brannan and the CoachVille Global Coaching Group, who have invited me to speak on this topic. Just dial 646-519-5868 pin#1845 to join us.


them to us and we'll respond promptly. Hope to see you there!

©2010. Powered by All Rights Reserved.