Facilitator Journal | Issue #0193, March 1, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers..
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,
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
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Does a Healthy Group Look Like?
Understand and recognize the
behaviors inherent in a functional group.
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
A Snapshot of a "Functional"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
us your comments.
Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick
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) - -
Teleclass for facilitators, trainers, and change
effective models, strategies, and practices to
intervene on individual and group behaviors to
realign, refocus, challenge, or protect group
With Confidence, 5-Day Teleclass
"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.
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
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.
Intervene With Confidence Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day
Introduction to Interventions.
is an Intervention?
five key "types" of Interventions
three core values of Intervention
three basic skills required by a facilitator to effectively
Characteristics of Functional Groups.
A Model for Diagnosis and Intervention.
6-step model for diagnosis and intervention.
Your Invitation to Intervene
Deep Should I Intervene?
vs. Developmental Intervention
and Strategies for Intervention I
Is Something Missing?
are your Own Best Intervention
and Strategies for Intervention II
Not to Intervene
keys to continuously building your capacity to
Facilitator's Intervention Checklist
to you of participating from the 5-Day
1. Get a great grounding in the theory and practice of intervention
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
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also
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
of a 50-minute TeleClass containing
a lively discussion exploring the application of Intervention
models and strategies to participant's real-life problems.
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
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.
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.
in a one-day "live" version of this class offered
to your group? Email
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.