Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0213, July 19, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers....
 

Dear friends,

Most of you have probably heard of the "80/20 rule" applied to one field or another. It usually sounds something like this: "20% of the people do 80% of the work," or "20% of salespeople make 80% of all sales." This weeks article, "Applying the 80/20 Rule to Group Dynamics," looks at how knowledge of this rule can be used by facilitators and group leaders. I look forward to hearing your feedback and perspectives on this idea as I haven't heard this rule applied to group facilitation before.

At the end of this week's article, we've listed our inventory of self-guided teleclasses available. We'll be launching more new titles this Fall and Winter.
Each of these classes, in addition to those to be developed in the near future, are available at Half-Price to Premium Members of FacilitatorU.com in addition to a host of other benefits at an incredibly discounted price. Click here for details..

Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

 
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The Point


Applying the 80/20 Rule to Group Dynamics
Manage imbalances in contribution to the group's highest good.

Group Process Skill


I'm sure many of you have heard about something called the 80/20 rule. I've seen it applied to just many fields of human endeavor. Here are a few examples about what I mean:

- 20% of the people do 80% of the work.
- 20% of your efforts account for 80% of your success.

- 20% of salespeople make 80% of all sales.

This "rule" tells us that among all the human effort going on out there to build or change things, only a fraction of these actions are making a significant difference. Further, it seems that of all the people doing them, there is a minority getting most of the results at any given time. This is a hypothesis I'd like to examine with regard to group process.

Based on my experience as both group participant and group leader, I do find that around 20% of the people in groups or on teams seem to do most of the work. I know this idea may rub against the grain of many a facilitator's hide, but as a facilitator myself who's been part of many groups, I have to say that this may be the case more often than not. If this is so, we'd be fools to ignore this phenomenon. So then the question becomes, "How can this improve my group leadership and facilitation?"

Application


If it's really true that 20% of the people in a group or on a team are the shakers and movers, how much time should we be spending trying to get the remaining 80% involved, motivated, excited, contributing, (fill in the blank)? Is it possible that our efforts would be better spent focusing on the motivated 20%? At times, this is surely the case. So briefly, how do we use this perspective in our work as facilitators? Here are some suggestions:

  • Leverage Your Energy. If the same people seem to be consistently lost, uninvolved, uninterested, unmotivated, despite your best facilitative efforts to get to the source of this "problem," then surrender to this as simply the state of the group and focus your energy on those ready to move on with the task.
  • Acknowledge Levels of Development. One often overlooked difference among groups is that individuals within them can fall into different levels of personal development. Some people need a great deal of structure, regulations, and procedures to guide their actions. Others need less structure, but sometimes need be reigned when pursueing hidden agendas at the expense of the group purpose. Acknowledge these various individual needs and do your best to help get them met, but not at the expense of deviating outside well-defined team goals and expectations. (Read more about this concept in one of our past articles here).
  • There Will Always be More Followers Than Leaders. This is a good thing. Get to know and support the leaders/self-starters in a group and use your knowledge of group process to minimize friction that could be imposed upon them from the other participants. This slightly different orientation to facilitation suggests that rather than trying to empower everyone, you help minimize resistance from individuals to the efforts of the official or unofficial leaders in the group.
  • Help Participants Know Themselves. Use self and peer evaluations to help participants identify how they show up in their group. Often our own perception of our skills, knowledge, and motivation is different from the perceptions of others. In other words, we often over or under estimate our energy, strengths, and weaknesses. Getting feedback from other members of our team can be a wakeup call that motivates us to show up how we'd like to show up or, encourages us to do more of "x" that we weren't aware was so valuable.
  • Let Passion Lead. Our society places a huge value on knowledge and skills. However, there are many people with treasure troves of degrees and experience that lack the passion, for whatever reason, to take any significant action in the world. On the the other hand, there are others, often of the younger set, who lack the skills and experience, but who have great passion and desire to try new things and to make things happen. Help your groups to identify and contrast members of the brainstrust with those with the fuel to make things happen (passion) then match them up. Have the skilled ones with waning passion mentor those seeking to make the changes. This gives everyone a role that works for them. When discussions around levels of passion and skill among individuals is missing, more senior members often block the actions of those passionate for change. Having them mentor the change agents gives them an important purpose and something to be passionate about.

 

Action
 
How can this knowledge of the 80/20 rule help you facilitate your next group or resolve problems with an existing group? Please let us know what happens.
In the Spotlight

Self-Guided Teleclasses

The following self-guided teleclasses are part of the growing curriculum available at FacilitatorU.com. Each of these classes, in addition to those to be developed in the near future, are available at Half-Price to Premium Members of FacilitatorU.com in addition to a host of other benefits at an incredibly discounted price. An exceptional value. Click here for details.

 
Random Acts of Facilitation
This class covers 25 discrete facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course is for facilitators at any level or group members that simply want to know more about facilitation so that they can make the groups they are a part of more effective. Being discrete acts of facilitation, they also lend themselves to being taught to your group members who desire to become more self-facilitative. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete with the learning guide.
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Becoming a Learning Facilitator

Make the shift from teaching to "Learning Facilitation." This course will explore how to make the leap from conventional teaching approaches to a new perspective based on the learner and incorporating facilitation skills and philosophy into the learning environment. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio or CD versions of this teleclass complete with the learning guide. Click here for details.

Appreciative Inquiry 
This class covers a facilitation strategy for intentional change that identifies the best of "what is" in order to pursue dreams and possibilities of "what could be." Within these classes we will explore the four dynamics of AI: Discovery, Dream, Design and Delivery. Plan to bring with you the challenges you have encountered or are experiencing as we will encourage discussion of specific situations in which Appreciate Inquiry might be applied. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete with the learning guide. Click here for details.

Secrets to Designing Dynamic Workshops from Scratch

This 5-day teleclass will walk you through the building blocks of designing and delivering effective experiential workshops. It will cover all the elements of workshop design using a simple, well-organized, and proven approach. You'll have the opportunity in this class to complete the design of your own workshop with the help of fellow students and instructors. If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the real audio version of this teleclass complete with the learning guide.
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Intervene With Confidence
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Group "Intervention" is one of the most challenging skills to master as a facilitator. This 5-day teleclass is 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. This class will explore effective models, strategies, and practices to intervene on individual and group behaviors to realign, refocus, challenge, or protect your group.
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.
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The Improvisational Facilitator
. I'm thrilled to be offering this class with my friend and colleague, Sue Walden, where we'll present powerful, practical improv techniques you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. This class will be very interactive and will use many innovative experiential activities that will surely surprise you. You'll learn ways to become a better facilitator by experimenting with improv techniques, and increase your confidence and creativity to make your plan become more flexible and spontaneous. Click here for details.


Managing People You Rarely See. 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. The course contains consolidated information packed into a one-day format.

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