Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0459, September 21, 2010

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Dear Friends,





This week's article, Give Your Groups a LIFT is extracted from Barry Shapiro's new book, Casting Call in the Theatre of Corporate America…the role of the extraordinary facilitator. The book serves as a practical guide to assess, measure and develop facilitators to ensure that their extraordinary impact in the classroom translates to extraordinary outcomes at work, the ultimate stage of modern life. Barry's LIFT model offers a simple but effective tool for easily accessing the dynamics of a group and offering clues as to how to help shift it being more effective.

The Facilitator's Studio. I'm working with Barry and friends to deliver a dynamic new three-day facilitator certification workshop based on his new book. We're delivering our first run of this workshop near the end of next month in Denver, Colorado. Please see complete details after the article and consider attending and/or sharing this among your colleagues. A early-bird discount is available if you register by this Friday.

Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration (JOFC) Workshop. We're pleased to announce our
next Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Workshop the week of January 10th in Madison, Wisconsin. Check out this opportunity to learn an Integrally Informed Approach to Facilitation and Leadership that will help you find and facilitate flow with your groups. Click here for details and registration.!

Blessings,

Steve Davis

Founder, FacilitatorU.com



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journey of collaboration

facilitator's Studio



The Point


Give Your Group a LIFT

Facilitate along the four dimensions of group dynamics for optimum performance.


Group Dynamics Skill

Though versed in both, great facilitators are even better skilled at understanding group dynamics than they are at understanding course content. Content is always secondary to a participant’s personalized experience.

Classic studies of employees who have left organizations reveal these surprising truths. Most employees state that they chose to leave an organization because of opportunities to earn more money. However, when confidential conversations were conducted with these same employees after they’d left, they acknowledged the real reason for their departure. Such reasons often included an insensitive boss, a lack of upward mobility, and/or a feeling that their input was not valued. Assuming that employees feel adequately compensated, they turn their attention to other factors at work that contribute to their happiness.

Content of a program is like money for a departing employee. If the content it is deemed inadequate, it becomes a foundational problem. However, when the content is perceived to be adequate, its importance disappears and participants look toward deeper experiences such as compassion, inclusion, intellectual stimulation, and synergistic group dynamics to add value to their work experience.

The great facilitator is a hyper-vigilant barometer of the learning temperature and pressure in the room. He or she has a clearly defined image of healthy group dynamics so he can identify when behavior is destructive and requires courageous intervention. The great facilitator ditches the safety of structured content and stands naked, placing his or her hypotheses under the scrutiny of torch-carrying townspeople (participants) who are ready to shift blame to somebody or something else. Why? The townspeople have everything to lose personally for revealing their weaknesses and accepting responsibility for their own destructive actions. But, they also have everything to gain collectively for becoming a healthier and more productive group.


Application


One of the greatest gifts a facilitator brings to a group is their sensitivity to group dynamics and ability to shift it in healthy ways. An important prerequisite to sensing and shifting groups dynamics is knowing what to look for. So here is a simple model.

Healthy group dynamics can be understood based on a series of four scales that include Self-Awareness, Learning Stance, Demeanor, and Responsibility. Each of the scales is comprised of two opposing dynamics at each end of the spectrum and is represented by the acronym “SALS DR.”

The purpose of defining group dynamics terminology is to establish a common language with which we can discuss group dynamics with our Co-Facilitators and even our audiences directly. These are meant to be reference points and not absolute conclusions. Each of these scales can be measured on a seven-point Likert scale between the two opposing dynamics as shown below.

SELF-AWARENESS

TRANSPARENT
High
Medium
Low
Neutral
Low
Medium High
GUARDED
3
2
1
0
1
2
3


TRANSPARENT is the quality in groups that surfaces uncomfortable issues quickly and honestly.

GUARDED
means that the group creates distractions to avoid dealing directly with the issue at hand.


LEARNING STANCE

INQUISITIVE
High
Medium
Low
Neutral
Low
Medium High
ASSUMPTIVE
3
2
1
0
1
2
3

INQUISITIVE implies that the group demonstrates an open and curious stance when learning.

ASSUMPTIVE
means that the group relies on untested ideas to make decisions in the learning process.


DEMEANOR

LIGHT HEARTED
High
Medium
Low
Neutral
Low
Medium High
SERIOUS
3
2
1
0
1
2
3

LIGHTHEARTED means that the group maintains a healthy sense of perspective and playfulness in the learning room.

SERIOUS means that the group overanalyzes problems and overestimates their impact on the organization or themselves.


RESPONSIBILITY

FORGIVING
High
Medium
Low
Neutral
Low
Medium High
BLAMING
3
2
1
0
1
2
3


FORGIVING means that the group demonstrates compassion for its members’ mistakes or lack of insight.

BLAMING means that the group identifies scapegoats rather than take responsibility for its own problems.


Give Groups a LIFT

Groups will be at their best when they become transparent, inquisitive, lighthearted and forgiving (TILF or LIFT). Under these conditions, learning occurs most easily and effectively. As facilitators, we have the power to influence participants by demonstrating these qualities ourselves. For example, in the case of being lighthearted, enjoying yourself can lead to others enjoying themselves too. Yawns are contagious, and so is playfulness. Most corporate environments squelch individuality and outward expressions of joy. Therefore, like the deprivation of any important human need, many participants will be receptive to any acceptable outlets you provide.

Avoiding Avoidance Strategies

In groups, what is not said is often more important than what is said. Participants talk around issues avoiding the real ones like land mines. However, it is our responsibility to surface real issues and deal in the currency of truth. We are the voices of reason and objectivity. You will know when real issues get submerged. The conversation will continue to gravitate towards a seemingly unimportant issue. A red herring—A safe bookmark in the general area of the real issue, but not quite it. For example, participants get mired in a discussion about the new parking policy, but don’t talk about the insensitive leader who crammed this and a handful of other nonsensical new policies down their throats.

People avoid reality because reality is painful. We live in a culture where a headache, menstrual cramping, and impotence are cured by simply popping a pill. Heck, even obesity can be fixed by an overnight procedure. Unfortunately, the root causes of such problems are seldom addressed.

You can deal with reality avoidance in a group in a number of different ways including therapeutic dilemmas, humor, and process comments. First, you can use therapeutic dilemmas. A therapeutic dilemma means identifying when a participant’s behavior is out of sync with how he defines his ideal self. This requires participants to define their ideal view of themselves in session (“I am empathic,” for example). When they are not living up to the image of their ideal self (they just insulted their colleague), you convey the contradiction. ‘On one hand I hear you SAYING that you are compassionate, on the other hand I see you DOING things that are insulting your colleague. Help me understand this disparity.’ The participant will either change his view of his ideal self or change his behavior to bring it into alignment with his ideal self.

Second, you can use humor by activating your bullshit detector. At the beginning of class tell the group you have a new technology in your possession that detects lies and manipulation in group settings. Inform them that your BS machine will be activated under these circumstances and will audibly detect their presence. You can then signal the presence of bullshit by making a high-pitched sound and waving your right hand, pointer finger extended in a circular motion like a police siren.

Third, you can use simple process comments. A process comment is something you observe about the actual group dynamic separate from the course content. “I am noticing that the group has become much quieter in the past twenty minutes as we talked about the reorganization…” You state your observation without any judgment and encourage the group to make meaning out of its occurrence.

Add Your Comments



Action

Use the LIFT assessment above to assess the group dynamics in your next group. Please click on the Add Your Comments link above and share your thoughts, stories, and experiences around this topic. we'd love to hear from you!
This Week's Offer

Facilitator Certification Workshopfacilitator's Studio


The Facilitator’s Studio
…where the audience is center stage!

About the Workshop

The Facilitator’s Studio is a three-day intensive Facilitator Certification Workshop which teaches a revolutionary new way to improve organizational results and culture from within group settings. Blending the principles of organizational development and the performance of the theatre, participants become certified in the practice of Facilitation Aikido™, This is only one aspect of the training or is this short-hand for the approach we’re teaching? a dynamic, results- based new approach to work with difficult audiences. The workshop is based on a proven facilitator competency model, which identifies the twelve most critical behaviors necessary to perform as an Extraordinary Facilitator.

Workshop dates/location:

October 26, 27, 28 2010 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Denver, Colorado



Benefits to Your Organization

COST: Eliminate hundreds of hours of unproductive meetings and working sessions.

CULTURE: Drive out fear and intimidation and replace with innovation + empowerment.

RESULTS: Institute competency-driven metrics to insure standardization of deliveries which directly improve team performance

Benefits to the Facilitator

REVENUE: Immediately become more dynamic/audience-centric to win bigger business

SKILL: Learn how to use improv structures to radically increase audience engagement

IMPACT: Get groups unstuck to deal with the unspoken, real issues

PERSONAL GROWTH: Receive an unprecedented feedback experience to drastically increase your influence in the organization

Day One: SETTING THE STAGE

Know Yourself
• Learn how to channel personal anxiety into productive group energy and engagement
• Become more authentic in groups so audiences quickly deal with their real issues
• Create a professional plan to insure measurable improvement as a facilitator

Know Your Audience
• Learn and practice the twelve most critical skills every facilitator must practice masterfully in order to be effective
• Learn and practice the four dimensions on which audience engagement is based
• Learn how to how to turn audience insight into action back on the job

Day Two: PRACTICE

Generating Energy
• Learn the four sources from which to generate facilitator energy
• Learn the three conditions which will generate participant energy
• Learn and practice an innovative new feedback process to accurately understand the specific impact you have on every member of your audience

Improvisation
• Learn five dynamic improv exercises to accelerate audience engagement
• Learn how to customize every session with five essential questions
• Become more spontaneous and responsive to group needs

Day Three: SHOWTIME

Facilitation Aikido

• Learn how to most effectively work with difficult people and difficult groups
• Learn the three most important physical elements involved in group learning
• Receive expert coaching on your facilitation to immediately improve your performance

Breaking Type
• Learn how to become immediately more engaging
• Learn the three most critical dimensions for facilitator certification
• Learn and practice four simple and effective strategies for virtual deliveries

The Facilitators Studio Workshop is based on the new book, Casting Call in the Theatre of Corporate America…the role of the extraordinary facilitator. The book serves as a practical guide to asses, measure and develop facilitators to insure that their extraordinary impact in the classroom translates to extraordinary outcomes at work, the ultimate stage of modern life.

Pricing

BASIC Certification: $2,995.00

• Pre-session facilitator assessment
• Participant materials
• Three-day intensive workshop
• One follow-up conference call
• One follow-up coaching session

PREMIUM Certification: $5,280.00
• Pre-session facilitator assessment
• Participant materials
• Round trip flight within US
• Three-day intensive workshop
• One-day spa treatment
• Hotel (Four nights)
• Free internet access
• Ground Transportation to and from hotel
• Meals
• Signed copy of book, Casting Call in The Theatre of Corporate America
• Two follow-up conference calls
• Three follow up coaching sessions

*Register by Friday, September 24th at 5pm and receive a 25% discount – that is a $748.75 savings at the BASIC Certification level and a $1,320.00 savings at the PREMIUM Certification level!!!

Click Here to Register Now

Call or email Barry directly with any questions you have at
(303) 667-4472 or barry@barryshapironow.com.

The Shapiro Consulting Group is a leadership development firm whose team’s mission is based on the premise, “Ultimately, the world’s problems will be solved through effectively facilitated conversations.” The Shapiro Consulting Group provides World Class Facilitation, Executive Coaching and Results-Based Training Services.

Register at www.FacilitatorsStudio.com


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