Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0316, September 18, 2007

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Decision-making is a key role groups often find themselves in. As group facilitators, it behooves us to have a collection of decision-making models up our sleeves. In fact, many groups get stuck using the decision-making approach they've always used or the only approach they know. It's important to remember that there are lots of different decision-making models and though there's isn't a single perfect model, there usually is a time when each of them may be called for. It's knowing when to employ which model that's the key to good facilitation. So have a look at this week's article, "Use the Right Model at the Right Time," to review five different decision-making models and the contexts and pitfalls of each. I'd like to thank my friend and colleague, Jessica Hartung of Integrated Work Strategies, LLC for her contribution to this article.

Only 2 spots left! 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. Click here for full details and complete workshop outline.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis
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eileen dowse

Dr. Eileen Dowse
Facilitating Egos
Sept 13th
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The Point

Use the right model at the right time
for group decision-making

Group Process Skill

There are lots of ways to make decisions. But sometimes we get stuck using the approach we've always used or the only approach we know. The thing is, there are lots of different decision-making models. None of them is the best, but each of them, at one time or another, is the best one to employ given the situation.

Five different decision-making models are summarized below. Each one includes the related context and concerns around its application with groups. Get to know these models and when to best employ each one.


Group process models

Contributive Model: Information and authority reside with the leader and those who will implement the decision. Appropriate when a small number of individuals will carry out the work for the whole.
Method: In contributive decision-making, a leader and key implementers receive input and suggestions from all members of the group, but ultimately, the small group decides the direction to take. Contributive decision-making is similar to the Consensus model but narrows the actually decision-making body to those who will the complete work associated with the decision.
Concerns: The contributive decision-making method requires explanation and practice before most groups become comfortable with it.
Participative Model: Team members have information related to the decision. Authority resides with the leader. Appropriate when the leader must make a decision but needs input or information from others.
Method: In the participative model, the leader makes a decision after receiving information and suggestions from other group members.
Concerns: While the leader receives input from others, implementers may disagree with the decision. There is also a lack of group responsibility.
Authoritative Model: Information and authority reside with the leader. Appropriate when the leader alone has knowledge related to the decision or when time is critical.
Method: The leader controls the decision without input or suggestions from others and holds personal responsibility for the outcome.
Concerns: This model is non-participative. Others in the organization may not support the decision and there is a lack of group responsibility for outcomes.
Majority Decides-Voting Model: Information and authority reside with the leaders and all group members. Appropriate when all group members have knowledge about the decision and formality required.
Method: The leader shares control of the decision by allowing the group to vote. The outcome is decided by majority wins.
Concerns: Those who disagree with the decision may undermine efforts to implement it.
Consensus Model: Information and authority resides with the leader and all group members. Appropriate when participation from all group members is important and the decision will impact the group as a whole.
Method: Everyone in the group needs to agree and make a decision together.
Concerns: Has the potential to be very slow or to hold a group hostage if group members fail to agree.

About the Author: Developed by Integrated Work Strategies, LLC, in conjunction with Conversant, LLC Boulder, Colorado.


Get familiar with each of these models and their pro's and con's. Then practice employing the most appropriate approach the next time your group needs to make a decision Reply to this email and let me know what you discover, I'd love to hear from you.


eileen dowse

Facilitating Egos ...

How to get the "know it alls" onboard

Pre-recorded interview featuring Dr. Eileen Dowse, Certified Master Facilitator, Speaker, Author and Founder of Human Dynamics

"Just in Time" Learning

If you've worked with groups for very long, you've run into the participant who knows it all and just can't follow anyone else's lead. There are effective ways to work with big egos without spoiling the party. Download this one-hour pre-recorded interview complete with written notes. The points discussed include...

  • How do you know if there will be egos affecting your facilitation?

  • What role should I take as a facilitator to work with participants who’s destructive ego negatively impacts the group?

  • What do you do when a person with a strong ego attacks someone who is meek and mild?

  • Are there any activities that work well when you have a room with lots of egos?

  • How do you get everyone to talk when the person with the ego is dominating the conversation?

  • How can I prepare an agenda when the client wants something that would be a disaster and they won’t back down or negotiate on alternatives?

  • Is there a specific facilitative style that is better to use when you have a room filled with egos?

  • What’s the deal with egos anyway?  What are these people all about?

Click here for complete details


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Facilitator Models Collection

This 30-page collection contains 20 models on practically every aspect of group facilitation including decision-making, communication, intervention, teamwork, training, and more...

Table of Contents

1. Basic vs. Developmental Facilitation
2. Conversational Architecture
3. Core Values of Intervention
4. Decision-Making Models
5. Diagnosis And Intervention Model
6. Evolution of Dialogue
7. Five Decision Rules
8. Full Participation Model
9. Three “I’s”: Invite, Inspire, And Incite
10. "Functional" Group Model
11. Integral Learning Model
12. Integral Meeting Model
13. Intervention Depth Model
14. Kolb Learning Cycle
15. Ladder of Inference
16. Learning Model
17. Levels of Personal Development
18. ORID Model
19. Remote Working Relationships Model
20. The Shadow Work Model

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