Facilitator Journal | Issue #0178, November 9, 2004 | 7,000 Subscribers...
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,
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.
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.
Click here for details
articles and growing
Beware of Tunnel Vision
the gestalt in organizations
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.
following story was submitted by fellow facilitator, Mary
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
have you let symptoms mislead you as a facilitator? Please
send us your stories.
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
this one-hour tele-seminar with Bev Lutz, Cheryl Kartes, and
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
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
Ways facilitators can use to form strategic alliances to increase their
chances of success.
And, answers to any questions you bring to the teleclass.
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..
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.
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
for details about this interview, the bonuses, and registration.
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--
Portable Article Bank ...
Trainers, Teachers, Coaches,
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How Will This Collection Help Me?
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