Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0309, July 31, 2007

Dear friends,
RSS Subscribe

One of our primary roles as facilitators is helping others to move through or manage change--designing a new system or structure, creating a change in relationships among team members; changing a problem into a solution; or changing inaction into a decision. This week's article, "Are You Ready for a Change?" explores a three-stage model of change and tips for helping groups and individuals work through them. I look forward to your comments.

The Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Workshop. FacilitatorU in cooperation with the University of Wisconsin, is offering the "Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration," a live training workshop based on 20 archetypes of the Integral Facilitator in late October. You'll have the opportunity to practice the competencies of self-facilitation, social awareness, and group process required before, during, and after group facilitation events. Please see full details at the end of this issue.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher and Founder of


FacilitatorU membership

Click here for detail

Click here for details

The Point

Are You Ready for a Change?
Learn to navigate and facilitate the three stages of change

Group Process Skill

The rate of change in our work lives continues to accelerate. A frequent side effect of changes designed to improve productivity, profitability, and sustainability in our organizations, is a larger burden on the employees. We’re all compelled to do more, do it faster, and with fewer resources. Whether you are trying to initiate a change or you are on the receiving end, it's helpful to know that people typically find themselves in one of three stages relative to a change. Where one is in this process impacts what needs to be done to facilitate through it.

The three phases of change:

1. Resisting/Holding on. You aren't ready to look forward. You're denying the change will occur, clinging to what is or what was.

2. Preparing to Let Go. You're doing what is necessary to let go of what was, doing the internal and external work necessary to embrace the change.

3. Embracing Change/Moving on. You are done with the past and ready to dive into the change, doing your best to make it work for you and your team.

Within each of these stages, there are things you can do to help people work through them in healthy ways. Here are some suggestions.


Resisting/Holding On

  • Is this change a given or can you influence it? If the change not yet cast in concrete and you are against it, be clear on your reasons and interests for this resistance. Do you have a better alternative or good reasons to avoid the change that serve the group at large? Don’t just stand on a position without fully and objectively examining other sides of the issue. If your resistance is personal, come clean with that and let go…personal vendettas will hold you back. If change is a foregone conclusion, work on letting go.

  • You may need to grieve. If a change was put upon you, such as a reorganization, the loss of a colleague, or even a change in your hiring process, you may be in denial or angry about it. It's not unusual to be angry about a change that you didn't invite. Find ways to own your feelings and express them in healthy ways, with minimal disruption to others. Try journaling and talking to friends and colleagues, and notice if this helps dissipate your anger. If it does, you're letting go. If it doesn't, you're holding onto judgments of right or wrong, good or bad, that will only add to existing unrest. Do what it takes to get closure and let go of these judgments. Replace them with healthy possibilities you can create in the face of the change.

  • What is the level of dissatisfaction with the current situation? If a change is being driven to improve a situation, identify the price of keeping things as they are. If you’re for or against the change, play the devil’s advocate by looking for benefits on the side you oppose. When you become aware of prices compared to payoffs, the consequences of implementing or avoiding the change will be clear.

  • Be a Champion not a victim.  Are you complaining or blaming others about the change? To the degree you play the role of victim, you're losing power. To the degree you accept full responsibility for your role in the situation, you’re empowered. What could you do today to be a champion?

  • Take action, one way or another.  The mind is meant to be used to create and to keep us safe. If you're stuck in a mind-loop, consumed by righteous indignation around a change that's inevitable, you're wasting your energy. Quit thinking and start doing. Either get behind the change and help make it work, or do something rational to show others why it's not a good idea. Anything short of these actions and you're stuck in a cage of your own design. This serves no one. Free yourself!

Preparing to Let Go

  • Develop a vision of what's possible to pull you through the change. Not knowing where you're going, or what might happen can be very frightening.
    Fear of the unknown can keep you stuck. It can also keep you from honestly discovering the options in front of you. Develop an ideal vision for the change state. Make it up if it isn't coming to you naturally, but make it good.
    Your vision will guide you to making it a reality and give you the inspiration and courage you need to move on.

  • Risk failure. What if this change fails? Imagine the worst possible thing that might happen. Can you live with it if it does happen? Can you make course corrections before it happens or after it happens? The answer is almost always "yes." Realize that each of your actions will simply yield a result. This result will be one you want or one you don't want. Take the result as feedback and take the next appropriate action. Mistakes just indicate a course correction is needed, don’t take them personally.

  • Bolster your foundation. Develop a plan to garner additional resources of time, money, community, allies, and other support that will help you through the change. Beef up other life areas as well, such as relationships, recreation, family, etc. to ease transition. It's better to be over prepared and succeed than to fail because you were under prepared. Simply your life, make more time and free up space to allow room for the change and the unexpected stress it might bring.

Embracing Change/Moving On

  • Take baby steps. Many changes are too big to take on all at once. What’s the smallest step you can take today to move into the change? There’s no shame in taking baby steps. They create movement and with movement comes new perspectives, information, and inspiration.

  • Get support through the transition. Big transitions can be overwhelming to accomplish on your own. There is no shame in asking for help from your friends, relatives, or from a coach. Healthy support can make a difficult transition, relatively easy. Some changes can be very challenging. Be compassionate and patient with yourself. Do whatever is necessary to make the change easy on you. Rely on each other and on your support system of friends and allies. Ask yourself, "Where do I need help? What could I do to get it?"

  • Everyone changes to a different drummer. Remember that people have varying degrees of tolerance around change. Some people love change and thrive on it. Others avoid it like the plague. When you're facilitating a major change, know that everyone will embrace it at their own pace and on their own terms. Whenever possible, give people the tools to develop their own approach and their own timeframe for embracing change.

How can you use these strategies to facilitate change in yourself or others? I'd love to hear you're perspectives and experiences. Just click reply and type them directly into this email.


Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life, by Alan Deutschman

"CHANGE OR DIE. What if you were given that choice? We're talking actual life and death now. Your own life and death. What if a well-informed, trusted authority figure said you had to make difficult and enduring changes in the way you think, feel, and act? If you didn't, your time would end soon—a lot sooner than it had to. Could you change when change mattered most?"

This is the question Alan Deutschman poses in Change or Die, which began as a sensational cover story by the same title for Fast Company. Deutschman concludes that although we all have the ability to change our behavior, we rarely ever do. In fact, the odds are nine to one that, when faced with the dire need to change, we won't. From patients suffering from heart disease to repeat offenders in the criminal justice system to companies trapped in the mold of unsuccessful business practices, many of us could prevent ominous outcomes by simply changing our mindset.

Change or Die is not about merely reorganizing or restructuring priorities; it's about challenging, inspiring, and helping all of us to make the dramatic transformations necessary in any aspect of life—changes that are positive, attainable, and absolutely vital.

Note to Publishers
Would you like to republish this or other articles from the journal? You are f$ree to do so providing you follow these guidelines.

We grow by recommendation only when you find our material of use! If you enjoyed this issue, we'd love it if you'd spread the word. Click here to use our interactive form to tell your friends about MFJ, and as a thank you, you will receive our f$ree Facilitator's Self Assessment.

In the Spotlight

Journey of Collaboration and Facilitation Workshop

Join us for a powerful journey into the complex world of facilitation and collaboration. During this workshop, you will be introduced to a comprehensive model for facilitation, one that balances “hard” and “soft” skills.

Using hands-on, multi-modal approaches, we’ll take you beyond theory to walk the path of mastery using a holistic set of facilitation competencies. These competencies are based on a new model encompassing twenty archetypes of the integral facilitator, informed by the "integral" philosophy of Ken Wilber.

Upon completion of the workshop, each “sojourner” will be awarded a professional certificate in Integral Facilitation and Collaboration from UW-Madison.

Group collaboration is an art and science whose time has come…

Overall, 36% of a company’s profitability, innovation, quality, and growth
are due to its Collaboration Index.

—Frost and Sullivan White Paper Sponsored by Verizon and Microsoft—

Instructors: Steve Davis, Darin Harris, Harry Webne-Behrman

Sponsored by: A partnership between and the UW-Madison Offices of Human Resource Development and Quality Improvement

Registration: Register early, as space is limited to 25 participants. Click here to register or contact Harry Webne-Behrman at (608) 262-9934.

Price: The price for the 5-day workshop and Learning Community Calls is $750.

Register before October 1st for only $600!

Lodging: Meals and lodging are available to participants adjacent to the workshop site at the Friedrick Center, our beautiful lakeside retreat center on campus. Click here to learn more about this facility. Call (toll free) 866-301-1753 for room reservations and ask for “FACILITATION WORKSHOP” when reserving your room.

This is a pilot program that may never to be offered again at this low price. It promises to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Click Here for Complete Details and Registration

©2008. Powered by All Rights Reserved.