Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0193, March 1, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers..

Dear friends,

As facilitators, we're seldom called in to work with groups that are perfectly functional. To effectively intervene on dysfunctional group behavior, we need to have some idea of what a functional group looks like. So in this week's article, "
What Does a Healthy Group Look Like?" we explore 12 attributes of functional group behavior based on our research and inputs from readers on their views on this subject.
As always, we look forward to hearing what you think of this model and to any suggestions you have to improve it.

I'm beginning to spend a good deal of time on the Central Coast of Southern California, that is the Pismo Beach, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo areas. If any of you live or work in this vicinity, please let me know. I'd love to explore the possibility of collaborating with you on existing or potential future projects.

Finally, please check out our new 5-day teleclass entitled, "Intervene With Confidence" at the bottom of this issue. Join this class and learn effective models, strategies, and practices to intervene on individual and group behaviors to realign, refocus, challenge, and protect group process

In this Issue:

Feature Article: What Does a Healthy Group Look Like?

Book Resource: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

New 5-Day Teleclass: Intervene With Confidence.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


Seven Simple Secrets to Successful Workshops.
Click here for details

Starts March 28th
Click here for details

MFJ Archives
190 articles and growing
Click here for access

Intervention Skill

What Does a Healthy Group Look Like?
Understand and recognize the behaviors inherent in a functional group.

The Point

As facilitators, we're seldom called in to work with groups that are perfectly functional. In fact, if we have any experience working with groups at all, we probably have a pretty good idea of the things that are typically "wrong" with them. By "wrong," of course I mean those behaviors that are getting in the way of the group being as effective as they say they want to be.

The thing is, to effectively intervene on dysfunctional group behavior, we need to have some idea of what a functional group looks like. So how do we recognize or even define for that matter, effective groups and effective group behaviors?


A Snapshot of a "Functional" Group

In an attempt to paint a picture of a fully functional group for you, we came up with the following 12 characteristics. They seem to build upon each other in a sort of hierarchy where the later ones, which are more outwardly focused, tend to rest on the more inwardly focused behaviors preceding them. There may be more, but we believe these are the key pieces that will go a long way to a group getting what it wants and needs. If you have any suggested additions or changes, we'd love to hear about them.

1) Basic Needs met. Group understands, acknowledges, and manages basic human needs, balancing them with the needs of the group. Needs include considerations for physical comfort, security, safety, and maintenance of an environment that supports these. If lower order needs are neglected, higher group function is unlikely.

2) Mutual Trust. Trust is developed and maintained to the extent required to accomplish the tasks at hand. Members are honest and transparent with one another, expressing their personal interests clearly and directly. Group purpose and duration will dictate depth of trust required to accomplish task. Mutual trust is essential to complete communication.

3) Complete Communication. Everything expressed is "heard." Everything that needs to be said is stated directly. Environment allows free expression of thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and feelings. Non-verbal or indirect communication is compassionately confronted and resolved. Complete communication deepens trust and lays the foundation for mutual respect.

4) Mutual Respect. Individuals act with civility toward one another. Honest, respectful, and complete communication maintains healthy levels of energy, motivation, and commitment to the group. Mutual respect makes it safe to look at and improve on weaknesses.

5) Committed to Growth. Group installs and maintains feedback loops to support individual and group evolution. Individuals are willing to give and receive constructive feedback. Periodic reviews of process, status of individual members, accomplishments, corrective action plans, etc. assure group corrects problems and continues to improve.

6) Consensus Container. Group operating norms and standards are known, understood, and agreed upon by all members. Most groups have a number of unspoken assumptions about their roles, goals, and expectations. If these are not clearly voiced and agreed upon by all members, they can cause confusion. When they are explicitly voiced, they will help form standards of effective behavior, enabling your group to progress on its substantive work with fewer internal unconscious barriers.

7) Product/Process Balance. Group balances product, process, and relationships, i.e., who, what, and how. This balance assures that the most effective process is developed to get the best product out, in a way that respects and nurtures the relationships between those who produce it. This assures the group's long-term effectiveness by balancing attention to internal needs with outer-focused group activity.

8) Shared Responsibility. All group members are willing and able to contribute to the group vision. This means that they have the skills required and desire to apply them to the problems of the group. Each member assumes 100% responsibility for the group's mission and sees to it that they assume their fair share of the work. This perspective supports a sharing of the leadership burden.

9) Shared Leadership. Group leadership shows up organically as needed. An individual leader may emerge or may not. Everyone in the group assumes responsibility for the emergence of effective leadership. The leadership role may be taken up by different individuals at different times, shifting as the situation warrants and as individuals are internally called to take it on. Comprehensive understanding of leadership responsibilities and burdens cultivates a group's ability to work toward consensus.

10) Consensus Decisions. The group understands the power of consensus, freely expressing and resolving differences that support committed outcomes. At the same time, the group is not attached to building consensus for decisions for which it's not required. Consensus building is inspired by a shared vision.

11) Shared Vision. The group maintains a desire to find and pursue a common goal or vision. A shared vision rallies group energy and commitment to a purpose higher than any one individual. A fully functional group pursuing a shared vision has the best chance of producing their desired results.

12) Produces Desired Results. The group's "product" meets or exceeds the standards of its customer. A clear measure of a group's effectiveness relies on the answer to this question, "Did the group produce results as good or better than required by those who will use them?"


How does this profile of a functional group look to you? If you have any suggested additions or changes that might improve it, we'd love to hear about them. Please send us your comments.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick M. Lencioni

Lenconi describes fundamental issues that create dysfunctional teams in a gripping tale. The Silicon Valley context provides a lively, interesting context to discuss the shortcomings of such teams. When conflict is feared, trust, commitment, and accountability are absent, and we don't pay enough attention to results, teams and companies experience suboptimal consequences. Lenconi provides a great questionnaire to help us understand the flaws in our own teams and how to overcome them. This is an excellent book. There is an additional factor that needs to be addressed which is described in Dr. Rosalene Glickman's brilliant book, Optimal Thinking: How to Be Your Best Self. She writes "The purpose of a relationship is to be your best self, regardless of the circumstances." When individuals and teams commit to the standard of highest and best with Optimal Thinking, the best results are achieved. Optimal Thinking is unequivocally the mental software to achieve personal and team optimization. I strongly recommend this book.
--Art Browne (St. Paul, MN) - -

In the Spotlight

Intervene with Confidence!

5-day Teleclass for facilitators, trainers, and change agents

Learn effective models, strategies, and practices to intervene on individual and group behaviors to realign, refocus, challenge, or protect group process

Intervene With Confidence, 5-Day Teleclass
Group "Intervention" is one of the most challenging skills to master as a facilitator. So, we are especially pleased to finally announce the first time offering of this teleclass which will explore the art and science of group process intervention. This class for anyone who plays a facilitative or leadership role in a group and will explore practical ways to effectively intervene on individual and group behaviors to realign, refocus, challenge, or protect group process. In particular, this class will benefit group facilitators, trainers, life coaches, teachers, business and community leaders, and managers, whatever level of skill they have in group facilitation.

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. You dial into your class every day for 5 days (Mon-Fri) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. You work through a learning guide during the 5 days which accompanies the class as a resource.
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.

5-Day Intervene With Confidence Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Introduction to Interventions.

  • What is an Intervention?
  • The five key "types" of Interventions
  • The three core values of Intervention
  • The three basic skills required by a facilitator to effectively Intervene.
  • 12 Characteristics of Functional Groups.

A Model for Diagnosis and Intervention.

  • 6-step model for diagnosis and intervention.
  • Designing Your Invitation to Intervene
  • How Deep Should I Intervene?
  • Basic vs. Developmental Intervention

Guidelines and Strategies for Intervention I

  • Imposing Structure
  • Timing Your Interventions
  • Intensity of Interventions
  • Intervene on Whom?
  • Using Your Intuition
  • Confusion is OK
  • Is Something Missing?
  • You are your Own Best Intervention

Guidelines and Strategies for Intervention II

  • When Not to Intervene
  • Intervention Speak
  • 6 keys to continuously building your capacity to Intervene Effectively
  • Facilitator's Intervention Checklist

Intervention Laboratory

  • Practicing Interventions
  • Tame the Tormentors
  • Hold It! Technique
  • Carefrontation
  • Case Study

Benefits to you of participating from the 5-Day
Intervene Training...

1. Get a great grounding in the theory and practice of intervention skills.
2. Learn simple models that will help you decide when and when not to Intervene, how deep to Intervene, and how to Intervene gracefully.

3. Learn to appreciate and use surprises by getting comfortable dealing with the "unexpected" in your groups.
4. Gain reinforcement for the facilitative work you're already doing and learn some language and theory to back it up.
5. Get a chance to practice making interventions in a supportive environment of your peers.
6 . Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, who are all passionate about empowering groups.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:
1. Free 33-page Learning Guide, "Intervene With Confidence." ($18 value) to help you drill down deep and master the art of Intervention in any situation.
2. RealAudio of a 50-minute TeleClass containing a lively discussion exploring the application of Intervention models and strategies to participant's real-life problems. ($18 value)
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training.
3. Free copy of the article collection, "Organizational Diagnosis Models and Methods." ($15 value).

The full cost of training/access is only $89 including the free items ( worth $51) listed above. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.

Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and free article bank. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

Early Registration Special: Sign up by 15 March for only $79!

March 28- April 1, 2005, 10:00 AM PST, 1:00 PM EST (NY Time), 60 minutes each day.

Please click here to register.

One-Day Live Version

Interested in a one-day "live" version of this class offered to your group? Email us to discuss options.

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. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.

©2008. Powered by All Rights Reserved.