Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0204, May 17, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers..
 

Dear friends,

In this world of accelerating technology, it's easy to get lured into thinking that the right technology can solve any of our problems. It's important to look at the specific strengths and weaknesses of each technology, particular when applied to the field of human communications, and even to consider the problems it can cause if used inappropriately. This week's article,"Facilitating with Technology," explores the pros and cons of using technology as a tool to group process management.

If you are involved or plan to be involved facilitating or managing virtual teams, you'll want to attend our upcoming 5-day teleclass starting June 13th called
Managing People You Rarely See. This teleclass will be of interest to facilitators and leaders working with virtual groups. Click here to check out the details on this class, and if you're interested, register now to take advantage of our early registration discount by May 20th.

Due to the great reception we received on "The Improvisational Facilitator" teleclass, we've scheduled two additional sessions of this class in June. This class is very interactive and uses many innovative experiential activities that will surely surprise you. Please see details here.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Facilitating with Technology

Book Resource:
The Facilitator's Fieldbook

5-Day Teleclass: Managing People You Rarely See


Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

 
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Group Management Skill


Facilitating with Technology
 Know the pros and cons of facilitating with technology

The Point


With all the hoopla today around the Internet and the use of communications technologies, it's tempting to fall into thinking that technology might solve some of our most nagging problems, or even worse, draw our focus away from them into an acceptable distraction.

In this issue, we'll explore some of the benefits and pitfalls of facilitating with technology to help you to determine when best to use it, and when not to.

Application


Benefits of Employing Technology in Your Facilitation:

  • To help groups in different locations work together in real-time. This is a key reason many organizations employ technology and can save lots of time and money in travel costs if implemented effectively.
  • To build trust with groups in major conflict. "Virtual" communication changes the group dynamic providing distance (both physical and psychological) that can sometimes break up patterns that contribute to conflict because members can focus on the technology in addition to one another. Often this gives them something else that they can hate in common.

    Most forms of technology create anonymous data, making it easier to find agreement when information is separated from personalities.
  • To increase the creativity of "stuck" groups.  Technologies can provide the means for groups to come together and collect their ideas in a clean format without all the paper, flipcharts, and other clutter that can impede the creative process. Some technologies even encourage the creative process by providing easy means to vote on and evaluate multiple options.
  • To increase group productivity and speed. Certain types of audience response systems and groupware allow large numbers of participants to vote on and prioritize lists instantly, saving lots of time over the manual method.
  • To provide real-time documentation of group activities. Computer technology can provide group members printouts of group process, results, and action items immediately so that they leave the meeting with copies in hand to share with others, and as a guide to help put the energy of the meeting into action. 
  • To quantify qualitative information. Tools exist that can quickly collect, analyze, and store ratings from participants on subjective information. This information can statistically reveal group tendencies and can also aid in measuring group progress over time.
  • To elicit anonymous feedback. The ease with which technology can generate anonymous feedback from a large number of people is a great way to get more objective data from participants that fear retribution from authority. This paperless approach also allows for easy storage and retrieval for a variety of purposes such as coaching, training recommendations, and developing employee competencies.
  • To link disparate organizations. With the rapid changes in organizations due to mergers, downsizing, and reengineering, technology can link groups from different parts of the enterprise and create "knowledge management" solutions, which quickly give groups applied information about various tasks.

When Not to Use Technology

  • To cover or substitute for a lack of good facilitation skills. Technology is simply a tool for facilitation and should not be viewed as a crutch. An unskilled carpenter with a hydraulic hammer can build a crummy structure fast.
  • When the group's decisions are likely to be overruled by an autocratic decision maker.
    Facilitation with technology will often encourage a democratic process. Those leaders that don't approve of this approach will resist it. Once again, leader buy-in to process is critical.
  • To avoid solving problems.
    Technology often brings people together through anonymous means. It's easy for people to focus on the technology and seem hard at work while avoiding the critical issues such as role clarification, expectations, or examining flawed strategies.
  • To introduce newly formed groups to working together. Technology applied to a new group coming together for the first time can block the intimacy needed to start the stages of group evolution. People need a chance to get acquainted face-to-face before leaning on technology for group work.
  • To avoid confrontations or the building of trusting interpersonal relationships.
    People can hide behind the technology to avoid the challenging issues of power, control, and conflict.

    Adapted from "The Facilitator's Fieldbook," Justice & Jamieson.
Action


This week, think about how you might better employ or balance the use of technology to support facilitation in your organization.  We'd love to hear you're perspectives and experiences. Please send us your comments.

Resource

The Facilitator's Fieldbook, by Thomas Justice & David W. Jamieson

What is facilitation? Ironically, it's a difficult word that means "to make easy." When applied to businesses and organizations, facilitation means helping people work together in groups and teams to achieve their goals.

Comprehensive in scope, yet extremely practical and to the point, The Fieldbook is perfect for both novice and experienced facilitators. Those new to the art of facilitation will find clear guidance on basic how-to information. More experienced facilitators will discover advanced methods for use in more challenging facilitation situations and simple models for facilitating both large and small groups.


In the Spotlight


Managing People You Rarely See


5-day Teleclass on the Management and Facilitation of Virtual/Distributed Teams

Unlock the potential of your virtual team as an effective distance manager


The Art of Managing an Outstanding Virtual Team. Managing people from a distance isn’t easy.

Do you need to get rapid results from people collaborating across multiple locations? This class will discuss managing remote relationships and frameworks for successfully managing projects across large distances. There are issues created by the geographic distance between team members. But those issues can be overcome, and in fact, the potential of a distance team to accomplish amazing feats far outweighs any logistical liabilities. Project development teams scattered around the country or around the globe can take advantage of the best scientific minds, technical skills and subject matter experts...if they can manage the remote relationships effectively. This course will build remote management competencies by providing a framework for success and applying it to real-life examples. The course contains consolidated information packed into a one-day format.

Benefits to Participating in the Training:

1. Build group cohesion, avoiding the "us and them" trap
2. Establish communication protocols that work for different organizational cultures
3. Obtain organizational support and resources by creating the connections to larger operational goals
4. Include group members' individual goals to create a shared purpose that increases commitment
5. Build a common language for setting goals and project milestones.
6. Clarify roles, responsibilities, and relationships for increased accountability.
7. Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, all passionate about building and managing virtual teams.


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 dialogue with the instructors and your classmates via an online list serve during the course to tap the wisdom of the community.
4. During the week, you may access the instructors via email for help.


Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during this course...

A Virtual Team Orientation

  • Virtual team definitions
  • Learning the most from this teleclass
  • Basic Recommendations for distributed teams
  • Leadership and management shifts required for virtual work

Establishing shared purpose

  • Why is a shared purpose important?
  • How to build shared purpose effectively
  • Leverage the strength of your shared purpose

Building Trust Swiftly

  • Trust and fear in the virtual workplace
  • Techniques to build trust between co-workers
  • Anticipate and avoid “Trust-busters

Promoting Outstanding Communication

  • A closer look at listening
  • The role of conversations in workplace communication
  • Management communication considerations
  • Communication practicalities: time changes, methods, and options
  • Developing your team’s communication protocol

Designing Appropriate Work Processes

  • Tracking work and projects
  • Reporting status and progress
  • Resolving issues before they become a crisis
  • Receiving and processing information

Consciously Creating Group Culture

  • ·Stages of group development applied to virtual teams
  • Results, Recognition and Renewal
  • Evaluating success and learning from experience

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:

1. Free Workbook, ($20 value) to reference and to anchor your learning and facilitate commitment to action.
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training ($69 value).
3. Free Articles and Resources ($25 value):

  • Leading Distributed Teams
  • Connective Management
  • Mistakes Virtual Teams Make
  • Top Issues for Managers of Virtual Teams

Pricing...
The full cost of training/access is only $89 including the free items (worth $104) listed above. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Non-profits can receive a 20% discount. Contact us for registration instructions.

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

Early Registration Special: Sign up by May 20th for only $79!

Dates...
June 13 - 17, 2005, 10:00 AM PDT, 1:00 PM EDT (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.

Your instructors

Jessica Hartung, founder of Integrated Work Strategies (IWS) and principal consultant, has spent fifteen years focusing on the relationship between individuals and their work – how business goals can be more successfully achieved while people enjoy the process. She holds a Master of Science in Management from Regis University, a BA in Sociology from the University of Michigan, and is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA). She is a member of the International Coaches Federation, which is recognized nationally for maintaining the highest standards in the coaching profession, as well as the Institute for Management Consultants, part of the global community that certifies management consultants in accordance with international standards. Jessica is included in the National Register's Who's Who in Executives and Professionals, 2004 Edition. Jessica has been active in the Boulder business community, providing volunteer services to assist high school students learning leadership skills in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce.

Steve Davis
, M.A., M.S., is an Facilitator's Coach, Infopreneur, and free-lance human, helping facilitators, organizational leaders, educators, trainers, coaches and consultants present themselves confidently, access their creativity, empower their under-performing groups, enhance their facilitation skills, and build their business online and offline. Steve spends most of his time building and running FacilitatorU.com. He also publishes a weekly ezine for facilitators called, the Master Facilitator Journal, continues to write ebooks, design teleclasses, and maintain a part-time coaching practice. His breadth of experience spans business, corporate management, engineering, teaching, spiritual psychology, and wellness, offering a pragmatic yet creative coaching foundation. To learn more about Steve, visit his website at www.livingmastery.com.


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.

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