Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0333, February 26, 2008


Dear Friends,

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The last two months have been rich with learning and sharing wonderful experiences. We finally met Steve and the more we learn about him, the more we feel blessed to be taking his work out into the world.

Steve is always busy connecting the dots and looking beyond the ordinary to create profound learning moments for all of us. Once again he shares his insights in this week’s article, Embrace a Bigger Bottom Line. He was inspired by TV Show - "The Apprentice", and has created a link for us to see beyond the bottom line. Enjoy the simple, yet profound wisdom in today’s article!

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Journey of Facilitation Workshop

The Point

Embrace a bigger bottom line
Individual, collective, and planetary strength is necessary for long term sustainability

Self-Facilitation Skill

I love the Apprentice TV series hosted by Donald Trump. This season, Donald recruited a cast of 18 celebrities, competing against one another on various business tasks. Each week the winning team leader is awarded a sizeable check to donate to their favorite charity.

A very interesting thing happened in a recent episode. In fact, from my perspective, what happened on this show was ground breaking in terms of the business culture. Two teams of four competed in selling carriage rides through New York’s Central Park. While on occasion, a business expert involved in the focus of a given competition will select the winning team based on qualitative measures, Donald’s typical criteria for winning is—the team that brings in the most money.

One team, we’ll call Team A, has been plagued by bitter infighting, largely due to the personality of one of its members. This member is a strong producer and gets results for his team, but he is also very arrogant, nasty, and rude to his fellow team members. In fact, two members have already opted out. One quit the show; the other asked to join Team B.

At the end of this particular episode, a bitter squabble began in the boardroom between members of Team A. Before reviewing the results of the competition, Mr. Trump commented if Team A lost this task, it would make his job of firing someone relatively easy. Ironically, when the results were reviewed, it turned out that Team A had in fact won again! They left the boardroom and Mr. Trump had to make the difficult decision as to whom to fire on Team B.

The Team B leader had stated early in the meeting that his team had functioned seamlessly and that he was very happy with their results. Not only had they made a good deal of sales, they truly enjoyed working with one another.

Mr. Trump asked the leader, “While everyone worked well on this team, who do you feel was not quite as effective as the rest.” The leader considered the question, and then responded, “Well Mr. Trump, everyone on this team gave it there all so I can’t answer that question.”

Visibly uncomfortable, Mr. Trump then asked the leader if he’d be willing to resign since he was the leader of the “losing” team. He responded with something to this effect, “No. I truly enjoy this experience and feel inspired, not only by the opportunity to support great causes but also by the opportunity to work with my fellow team members.”

Mr. Trump then decided to do something he’d never done in the history of the show. He didn’t fire anyone! He made a statement to the effect that he would be charitable toward this team since this particular season is about charity.

Here we are facing one of the world’s wealthiest men, who has up until now defined success almost exclusively in terms of “the bottom line.” Only two weeks earlier one of the players on the chopping block claimed to enjoy competing in her world of sports where everyone was giving their best, but could not function in a world where people were competing by trying to bring others down. Before firing her he said, “I like your world better than this one. This world is not very good at times. Go back to doing what you love and we love watching you do so well.” Then concluded with, “You’re fired.”


What lessons can we glean from these profound interchanges?

As facilitators and group leaders, we often work with businesses, helping them to expand their thinking. We help them to consider not only the tasks at hand, but also the processes and relationships involved in accomplishing these tasks.

When the vast majority of us have been schooled to understand that business is about the bottom line and that the bottom line is only about money, it’s easy to mistake the symptoms of a problem for its source. In other words, the problem of a backbiting sales staff failing to meet quotas may not be so much about poor sales performance as a deficit in teamwork.

It’s time we deliberately consider a bigger bottom line that embraces individual, collective, and planetary strength necessary for long term sustainability. I believe that the recent actions taken on national TV by Donald Trump, one of the world’s most notorious icons of the business world is a sign that perhaps this world is beginning to awaken to a more expansive worldview, one that encompasses a bigger bottom line.


We’d like to open a dialogue around this question of embracing a “bigger bottom line” in business. To begin, here are some questions for you to consider.

  • What value is there in making more money, solving a problem, getting something done when by the time it’s over, the people who make it happen don’t ever want to see one another again?

  • If these individuals must continue to work in the same company, what kind of position is this company in to tackle future complex problems and projects?

  • What value is there in making increasing revenues, market share, etc. when the process used to get there exploit resources, material and human, to the point that we are collectively diminished? Isn’t this like taking out bad loan?

  • What elements would you like to see included in a more holistic bottom line for the corporate engine that powers modern culture?


Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Live Workshop

Journey of Facilitation WorkshopMy colleagues Darin Harris and Harry Webne-Behrman are conducting asecond run of our Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Workshop this coming June while I'm gone on my retreat. Our first offering last October was even more successful than we had imagined. In fact, over 86% of participantswho attended said that they would use what they learned on a daily orregular basis.

During this powerful journey into the complex world of facilitation and collaboration, you'll learn the vital skills you need to become a confident and effective facilitative leader in the modern workplace. 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 20 facilitation competencies. And as the gifts and challenges unique to this particular group show up, we'll face them and embrace them together, and massage, adjust, and calibrate the experience in greatest service to all concerned.

When is it? June 9th to June 13th, 2008; 8:30am - 4:30pm daily.

How do I know this is for me?
This workshop will serve you best if you have at least some basic facilitation and leadership experience. It will offer you the attitudes and hands-on practice you need to serve in the role of facilitator with increased confidence, and will help expand your self-knowledge and ability to self-manage, skills critical to your success as a leader. If you are an experienced facilitator, this is your chance to take your existing practice of facilitation into some new terrain with a fresh new model that offers increasing depth and breadth of practice. We look forward to taking this journey with you!

Attending this course helped me to understand the importance of facilitation skills in everything that I do,from leadership, to supervision, to participation.
I have thought about things I learned in the course every day since the course ended.
--2007 Workshop Participant--

This course was tightly organized and packed full of information and tools.
Every minute counted.

Certification: Upon completion of the workshop, you will be awarded a professional certificate in Integral Facilitation and Collaboration from UW-Madison.

How Much is it? The price for the 5-day workshop is $750. But if you register before May 9th it's only $600!

Where do I sign up? Click here for full details and registration, and please take a moment to forward this message along to colleagues who may be interested.

On Wednesday night, I went to bed knowing that there wasn't enough time left in my lifetime to learn how to facilitate.
On Thursday morning, I woke up with a plan for my next meeting. Good work fellas!
--2007 Workshop Participant--

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