Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0178, November 9, 2004 | 7,000 Subscribers...

Dear friends,

This week we look at a case study around a story submitted
by fellow facilitator Mary Jackson. In her story, Mary describes an experience in an organization she was once involved in where a facilitator was called in to address an apparent conflict within which she was a part. This story reflects the importance of getting to the source of problems as facilitators before trying to solve them. It also illustrates the importance of understanding the larger dynamics involved in an organization, i.e. not only its people and their behaviors, but its systems, structures, and culture. Have a look at this story, reflect on it and see what insights you come up with.

Also, please check out our next expert interview with Bev Lutz and Cheryl Kartes on November 18th at 1:00 PM EST, where we'll discuss the Business of Facilitation and go into detail about marketing and pricing for facilitation. Please see details below.

Be sure to visit our new Facilitator's Forum to ask questions or make comments on various aspects of facilitation. We hope you'll use this forum to you advantage and please let us know what you think of it.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Beware of Tunnel Vision

Facilitation Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar: The Business of Facilitation. Keys to marketing and pricing facilitation services and outcomes while living a balanced life

Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice

Portable Article Bank: Over 50 Publishable Articles and 120 pages covering six core competency areas.

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 send them to us.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


Click here for details

170 articles and growing
Group Management Skill

Beware of Tunnel Vision
Uncover the gestalt in organizations

The Point

Gestalt: A physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts.

The following story was submitted by fellow facilitator, Mary Jackson.

Several years ago, I worked on a team of around 10 people. The department had gone through tremendous upheaval: We had been split off into a separate company for little over a year, at the end of which that company and all our work product had been sold off; several of our colleagues were let go; of those who remained at the original parent company, at least two were left with less satisfying job roles.

I came through the two-year period in great shape: in addition to ending up with a satisfying job that I excelled at, I was happily married with a new baby and allowed to telecommute as a full-time employee with benefits, based on a 30 hour work week. My work product was excellent, highly-visible, and my role in the organization was expanding.

Everyone else on the team was unhappy and dysfunctional, while I was effervescent and at the top of my game. Other people wanted to work with me, as a result of which I got all the great projects. There was one other person in a peer role, but he was fundamentally unhappy; because no executives requested him for their projects, he got all the marginal projects --- every one of which was cancelled before completion. This meant that I was the only one feeding deliverables to the administrative
team; I was "making work for them" and "expecting them to do things for me" that they didn't have to do for the other guy (overlooking the fact that these tasks were their jobs, not mine).

I was actually told that I was creating problems by being obviously happy, and could I try not to be cheerful when interacting with other members of the team.

Our director hired a facilitator to work us through the conflict.

The facilitator got everyone to talk about what was bothering them, and what they thought the solution was. Under the facilitator's guidance, the grumbling fed upon itself, gelling into a definite plan to make me work from the office full time, being just as miserably ineffective as everyone else. My suggestion was that everyone should reread their own job descriptions and not worry so much about mine. I responded that the change was not acceptable to me; that if they were serious about this plan
I would consider it an involuntary termination. My manager took her plan to senior management, who weren't happy with her suggestion that the fix for a screwed up department was to lose the only member that anyone else in the company could stand. She was terminated.

When we started the facilitated work, we were a mildly dysfunctional team with some amorphous conflict simmering under the surface. Thanks to the facilitator, every minor annoyance was exposed, examined, and given credence. Any team identity we had was completely destroyed. Within one
year, I was the only member of the team remaining employed at that company.


So what can we learn from the above story about facilitation that might be useful to us? I've outlined a few tips below that came up for me. If you see other points I might have missed, please email them to me.

The customer is often wrong. Or at least has an incomplete assessment of the organization's problems. It's important not to assume that the client knows the source of his organization's problems. He may think that he does because after all, he's in charge and is paid to know what's going on, right? In fact, many great leaders are not experts in group process and may not be seeing the whole picture. It will be useful to dig a bit to better diagnose the source of trouble by probing your client and other key players about what's going on in the group before deciding on an intervention. Some of this work may also be programmed into your first session with the group.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. We've all heard this metaphor before I'm sure. And in the context of this story, let us who are expert in a particular field of group process, whether it is conflict resolution, team-building, problem-solving, creative innovation, etc, beware of overusing these particular interventions when others may in fact be called for.

Get a history lesson.
According to this story, the organization had gone through quite an upheaval in their recent past with many people left unhappy and perhaps misplaced or under utilized. A poorly planned and executed reorganization is not going to be fixed by simply addressing current behavioral symptoms. Asking about recent changes in the organization is a good way to get clues about current problems and their possible sources.

Assess all quadrants for sources.
We usually get called in to help "fix" problems because people are not behaving as they should. Don't we? It's usually assumed that because people aren't getting along or aren't effectively doing their jobs, that they is something "wrong" with them, their attitudes, or their skills. Though there probably is some work individuals can do is these areas, there is always more the to the story. The organizational culture, often perpetrated and supported by its leaders has a big impact on performance and attitudes. The organizational structure and how its implemented will either inspire or, more often, hinder its member's best efforts. The systems in place, i.e. office communications, departmental linkages, performance and rewards, management styles, job roles and functions, etc. when misaligned or dysfunctional, can also wreak havoc on a group's capacity to perform. In the example above, interpersonal conflict was the assumed problem. But in fact, conflict was not the problem. It was the result of many other factors for which conflict was only a symptom. Be sure to look beyond the interpersonal dynamics to the systemic, cultural, and structural dynamics that might be contributing to an organization's ills.

What do you see?
What other lessons can be gleaned from the story above that will help facilitators be more effective. Please share your answers with us and we'll put them forward in a future issue.


Where have you let symptoms mislead you as a facilitator? Please send us your stories.

Facilitation Expert Series

The Business of Facilitation

Keys to marketing and pricing facilitation services and outcomes while living a balanced life

Featuring Bev Lutz and Cheryl Kartes, Facilitators,
Trainers, and Consultants

"Just in Time" Learning

Attend this one-hour tele-seminar with Bev Lutz, Cheryl Kartes, and Steve Davis and learn keys to marketing and pricing facilitation services, tips on selling outcomes versus activities, and ways to make a good life and a good living. Join us on Thursday, November 18th at 1:00 PM EST (NY Time) where we'll explore some of the following specific points...

What it takes for a Facilitator to be successful in private practice.
The 3 keys for successfully marketing Facilitation?
The typical angles facilitators employ in their marketing.
The 8 biggest mistakes Facilitators make in trying to sell themselves.
8 tips on the pricing of facilitation services.
"Value-Based Pricing" and how it differs from typical pricing strategies.
Ways facilitators can use to form strategic alliances to increase their chances of success.
And, answers to any questions you bring to the teleclass.

Three Free Bonuses!

1.Benchmarks of Facilitator Success. Article by Cheryl Kartes that speaks to expanded definitions of success and includes summarized results of a survey conducted with 116 facilitators looking at their practices in terms of variables such as income, hourly rates, leisure time, work hours, professional training, satisfaction, work/life balance, etc..

2. Business of Facilitation Survey. View the results of the survey mentioned above--answers to 15 questions asked by Bev and Cheryl's of 116 facilitators about their business and lifestyle, including 97 ideas they provided for improving their ratings.

3.Strategic Marketing For Professionals ($15 value). This collection of five articles provides an overview of marketing for professionals who provides intangible services. These articles offer ideas that help you design the strategy for your business. Use them to lay a foundation for your marketing effort, to provide an infusion of ideas and energy, or to get a few new hints that will provide a big payoff.

About Bev and Cheryl.

Bev Lutz, MCC, MBA, CPCC is the cofounder of three businesses: The Legacy Center: preserving stories, values and meaning; Lighthouse Group and Associates; and the new -- Two Heads are Better(tm) - helping bright people with just-in-time unsticking when their natural creativity is stuck. A Master Certified Coach, member of the International Association of Facilitators, the International Coach Federation, former steering committee member of the Minnesota Facilitators Network, and volunteer for the Peace Foundation, Bev also co-leads the Professional Development Team of the Minnesota Coaches Association. She's been privileged to co-facilitate sessions of The Business of Facilitation at four international conferences and several local showcases. And she's grateful for the wisdom and growth garnered from relationships with organizations such as Honeywell, the American Academy of Neurologists, Kroll/Ontrack, ACA International, numerous impassioned individuals and four very wise cats.

Cheryl Kartes, through Kartes & Associates provides facilitation, graphic recording, consulting, training, and mediation services. She has specialized in the human side of teamwork, using creative, participatory and experiential methods. Clients include nonprofit, government and business sectors, locally and nationally. Since 1994, she has been associated with the Institute of Cultural Affairs as a trainer of Technology of Participation® courses, currently as a "mentor" trainer. Kartes is a co-founding member of the Minnesota Facilitators Network and was co-chair, IAF Conference 2001 Minnesota.

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


Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice, by Alan Weiss

I have been consuling for 10 years. About 4 years ago I stumbled across this book. I bought it principally because I was going on a trip and needed something to read, I had no expectations. I was surprised to find a wealth of advise that I really needed to bring my consulting to the next level. Issues such as: Setting value based fees, building relationships, dropping the lower end of the business to make room for bigger opportunities and importance of self promotion through publishing & speaking.
The other thing I enjoyed is that Alan presents consulting as an honorable trade that can really help effect change and growth for our customers. If your a consultant, you should read this book! At a minimum your guaranteed to find a few useful points. --Chris P. Kunicki, Chanhassen, MN, USA--

In the Spotlight
Portable Article Bank ...

for Facilitators, Trainers, Teachers, Coaches, 
Leaders, and 

Over 50 Publishable Articles and 120 pages covering six core competency areas.

Indexed my competency and article. 

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We've compiled the top 50 issues of the Master Facilitator Journal into the form of an e-book collection. This collection contains the engaging content you're used to receiving in the Journal, but that has been polished and formatted into the form of publishable articles. Articles contain resources such as a useful book or website that pertains to the content, examples, and action steps to take to improve your facilitation skills.

How Will This Collection Help Me? 

a. Use articles as handouts to your team members to educate and empower them with tools to improve communication, team cooperation, meeting, and problem solving skills.
b. Useful content for facilitation and leadership training.
c. Use collection as foundation for a course in facilitation or leadership skills
d. Use as content and backup for public speaking, workshops, and seminars.
e. Use as reference resource for your own facilitation skill development.
f.. Use as engaging content for your website.
g. Licensing option provides you with a new revenue source.


a. Easy to read, engaging writing style.
b. Colorful graphics.
c. Includes relevant resources with links.
d. Actions for student practice included with each article.
e. Indexed with dynamic links according to six facilitation competency areas.

1) Self-Mastery Skills: How you facilitate yourself.
2) Presence And Presenting Skills: How you show up.
3) Relating Skills: How you facilitate others.
4) Group Awareness, Management, and Exploration (GAME) Skills: How you facilitate a team.
5) Intervention Skills. How you shift a group.
6) Logistic Skills: How you facilitate your environment. Master Facilitators plan and prepare their presentations.

Purchase Options

This collection equates to over 200 hours of writing, research, and editing if you were to write the articles yourself. If your time is worth $50/hr. this equates to $10,000 of your time. The basic option is available for $39.95. The collection is downloadable in PDF format that can be saved to hard disk, floppy, or CD ROM. Articles can be viewed on your computer or printed as desired. Check out the index and sample articles here. 

A second option is available in MSWord format where you receive license to publish these articles as your own content, free of copyright notices, using your personal attribution information as you desire. 

OPTION 1: Price is $29.95 for entire collection downloadable in PDF format available immediately upon purchase. Click here to buy now.

OPTION 2: Instant Author License Option. You get the rights to resell these articles to your clients and customers. This is not an affiliate program. You keep 100% of all revenues! Our price is $69.95 for the entire downloadable collection available immediately upon purchase.  Click here to buy now and select reseller option.  

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