Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0292, March 6, 2007 ....

Dear friends,

Groups tend to evolve through a fairly predictable series of stages over time. A common model used in business describes four stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. In this article, "See Your Group's Potential," we summarize these four stages and discuss how most groups live somewhere between the first two stages.

Knowing this model as a group leader, you can inform groups that the sometimes unpleasant symptoms they experience as they attempt to evolve are normal and expected. And that there are great rewards for the group who stays with the tension required to break through to higher functioning.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher and Founder of


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The Point

See Your Group's Potential
Understand team evolution and hold a larger vision for your group.

Group Process Skill

Groups tend to evolve through a fairly predictable series of stages over time. A common model used in business describes four stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. I also particularly like author Scott Peck's community building model which includes: Pseudo- Community, Chaos, Emptiness, and True Community. 

Most groups that come together hang out in the Forming or Pseudo- Community stage, particularly if they lack a good facilitator. In this stage, people spend lots of energy trying to be "nice" and polite with one another. In other words, dishonest with each other. In this stage, the energy of each individual is more focused on how they appear to others than what the group might accomplish.

The Storming or Chaos stage is reached if a group hangs together long enough to begin shedding it's facade. People begin to express their truth, often in very ineffective ways, i.e. through blaming, shouting, pouting, withdrawing, etc. When groups reach this stage, they often retreat back into the Pseudo- Community stage for comfort. After all, our culture has taught us to avoid conflict and fighting, right? Now let's be good boys and girls and quit fighting, OK? The problem with this approach is that it keeps us fixated in mediocrity.

If the group should somehow stay the course and find their way through the Chaos or Storming stage, they may reach the stage of Norming or Emptiness. In this stage, members begin to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses and seek roles that best fit their abilities and desires. The group begins to use problem-solving strategies to solve previously encountered personal and professional difficulties.

Finally, as a group perseveres, they reach the stage or Performing or of True Community where fantastic accomplishments can be made by a group whose individuals are now perfectly aligned on the intent to work together.

Some groups may never transcend all of these stages and may find themselves stuck in one, or oscillating between two stages. It's also perfectly normal for groups to move in and out of several of these stages over time. 

Each group is different and only their commitment to their own growth and to each other, coupled with the mastery of the facilitator, will determine how far they come together. Ultimately, it's useful to know that a higher vision for any group is possible and the more members that hold and act on this vision, the more likely it will be attained.


How many groups have you been in where members resist sharing what's standing between them? There may be something one member does that continues to push a button of yours, thus distracting you from fully engaging your energies behind the group. There may be tensions below the surface between you and other members that are "ignored" and never addressed. Or there may be processes the group uses that you find to be limiting, frustrating, or just plain ineffective.

How often have you sensed any of these things and done nothing? Why have you done nothing? Could it be that you just didn't want to "rock the proverbial boat?" Or maybe you just didn't know how to say it in a nice way. Or maybe you have spoken out in the past and people got pissed at you so you just keep quiet now.

If any of this sounds familiar it's because that's where most groups hang out, in the space between Pseudo-Community (not rocking the boat) and Chaos (telling the truth). This is where you as a facilitator can help. You can help group members share their truth in a supportive fashion, letting them know that if this truth stirs emotions, that it's OK, and that by processing these emotions or disagreements, they have the potential to move past chaos to a far more powerful level of functioning.

Knowing this model as a group leader, inform your groups that these sometimes unpleasant symptoms they experience as they attempt to evolve are normal and expected. And that there are great rewards for the group who stays with the tension required to break through to higher functioning.


Iím interested in hearing your perspectives on this topic and how this information might help you in your efforts to facilitate groups as either a leader or as a participant Just reply to this email to submit them.


The Different Drum
, by M. Scott Peck
In his ground-breaking bestseller, The Road Less Traveled, Peck took readers on a personal journey of psychological and spiritual development. In his new national bestseller, The Different Drum, he takes the next step--to the larger experience of living and working in community. 

Community isn't what we think it is. Peck does an impeccable job of explaining true community and why it is so elusive in our society. Though he mentions over and over that he is an idealist, Peck presents some very intelligent arguments as to why a community approach just makes sense. He isn't naive either. He says the road to community can be painful and extremely hard. 

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Skills and attitudes for the new facilitator or group member who wants to get their group into serious motion.

25 Actions You Can Take to Empower Any Group

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1. You dial into your class every day for 5 days (Mon-Fri) for a 30-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
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5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Introduction to the Facilitation and Self Facilitation Skills.

1. Create the Ambience.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
4. Juggling.
5. Me First.

Relating with compassion and understanding.

6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.
8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.
14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation

Organizing and Presenting yourself confidently, professionally, and authentically. 

17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Watch the Body Talk.
21. Be your message

Intervening to shift group energy

22. Tame the Tormentors.
23. CareFront.
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25. Break through barriers.
26. Facilitate from Within.
27. Embrace Facilitation as a Master's Path

Benefits to you of participating from the 5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of facilitation skills if you are contemplating becoming a facilitator, team leader, board member, manager, mediator, etc.
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Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:
1. Access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
2. Access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training.
3. F$ree copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).

Pricing and Dates...
The full cost of training/access is only $89, which includes a free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee. Class meets at 1:00-2:00pm EST daily, April 16-20, 2007.

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About the satisfaction guarantee
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