Master Facilitator Journal

Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0470, December 14, 2010

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Dear Friends,





With Christmas upon us, I thought it appropriate to rerun an article about appreciating and building upon what we're already blessed with in our lives, in our relationships, and within our organizations. I'd like to thank my friend Patricia Clason who inspired and contributed to developing this week's article, Stop Solving Problems. Much of this issue is based on a very good article called, What is Appreciative Inquiry? by Joe Hall and Sue Hammond.

Christmas Gift Discount on FacilitatorU Memberships and Independent Study Teleclasses. With Christmas coming quickly, I wanted to extend to you a special gift idea. We're offering a 50% discount on gift memberships at FacilitatorU. Simply purchase the membership and enter this discount code: christmas

When you receive your welcome email, forward it to your friend or relative with your private message. Also forward me their contact information that I'll add to our membership records.

View and purchase our memberships here.
Enter the discount code: christmas.

Also, check out our special discount offer on self-guided teleclasses at the end of this issue.

We hope our work continues to bring inspiration to your world. Thank you for being a part of our growing community. Please continue to send the wonderful feedback.

Blessings,

Steve Davis

Founder, FacilitatorU.com



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The Point


Stop Solving Problems
Use Appreciative Inquiry to focus on and expand what you know already works.



Group Process Skill

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a way of thinking, seeing, and acting for powerful, purposeful change in organizations. AI works on the assumption that whatever you want more of already exists in all organizations. It also assumes that what you pay attention to grows over time. 

Think about it. We've been schooled from the beginning to solve problems. The way we learned most subjects in school was to solve problems presented to us around various subjects. We go on into life looking for the next problem to solve. And if we miss finding or focusing on a problem, we fear the thought of being irresponsible. Right?

When we work with groups as facilitators, consultants, coaches, or therapists, we tend to start with the questions, "So what's the problem here? What's wrong? What needs to change?" etc.

The problem with this is that we place the spotlight on problems that may have not been worrisome before we showed up to highlight them. AI is an alternative way to support people and groups by asking questions such as "What's going well around here? What ideas can you tell me about that I can share with others? How are you documenting your excellence?"

Your role takes on the form of one who facilitates the discovery of conditions that made excellence possible in the past, and ways to project more of this into the future.

Through AI, we help groups articulate the themes and dreams of "what could be" and "what will be." What will be is the future envisioned through an analysis of the past. The entire system maintains the best of the past by discovering what it is and stretching it into the future possibilities. This differs from other visioning work because the envisioned future is grounded in the reality of the actual past.

The Assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry

  • In every society, organization or group, something works.
  • What we focus on becomes our reality.
  • Reality is created in the moment and there are multiple realities.
  • The act of asking questions of an organization or group influences the group in some way.
  • People have more confidence and comfort to journey to the future (the unknown) when they carry forward parts of the past (the known).
  • If we carry parts of the past forward, they should be what is best about the past.
  • It is important to value differences.
  • The language we use creates our reality

Application


According to AI practitioners, when you do more of what works, the stuff that doesn't work goes away.
The table below illustrates the differences between the traditional Organizational Development perspective and the AI perspective.


Traditional OD Process
Appreciative Inquiry

Define the problem Search for solutions that already exist
Fix what's broken Amplify what's working
Focus on decay Focus on life giving forces
What problems are you having? What's working well around here?

An organization called "Banana Kelly" began in 1977 when 30 residents gathered to stop the demolition of their homes in the South Bronx. This organization began to practice many of the AI principles and has become a successful organization now employing 100 full-time staff in their community. Many of them would be considered "at risk" youth, but who are very successful, entrepreneurial members of this organization. Out of over 800 nominations, they were recognized in 1996 by the UN as one of  the six Gold Medal Best Practices for improving the living environment.

For complete text of the article used for this issue and the complete story on Banana Kelly, click here.

Add Your Comments


Action


Try using the Appreciative Inquiry perspective we describe here with a friend, client, or group this week. Please click on the Add Your Comments and tell us what this article inspires in you.


This Week's Offer

Christmas Gift Discount on FacilitatorU Memberships and
Self-Guided Teleclasses


With Christmas coming quickly, I wanted to extend to you a special gift idea. We're offering a 50% discount on gift memberships and self-guided teleclasses at FacilitatorU. Simply purchase the membership and enter this discount code: christmas

When you receive your welcome email, forward it to your friend or relative with your private message. Also forward me their contact information that I'll add to our membership records.

View and purchase our memberships here.
Enter the discount code: christmas.

Self-Guided Teleclass 50% Discount. Each package provides a learning guide, several hours of MP3 recorded class hours and bonus support materials. Click on the courses you're interested in below. Click continue shopping for additional items. Enter coupon code christmas. Your discount will be computed at checkout. Offer good until December 25th.

These trainings are also available for posting on your corporate intranet. Please contact us to discuss this option.

Random Acts of Facilitation

This class covers 25 discrete facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course is for facilitators at any level or group members that simply want to know more about facilitation so that they can make the groups they are a part of more effective. Being discrete acts of facilitation, they also lend themselves to being taught to your group members who desire to become more self-facilitative. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.

Facilitating at a Distance: The Essentials of Teleclass & Virtual Meeting Facilitation.

This class is for those of you wanting to offer a teleclass but don't feel you have all the skills and knowledge you need to do so, or for managers working with distributed teams that require you to facilitate virtual meetings. See details at the end of this issue. This class will teach you methods, skills, and processes to employ this inexpensive way to train, collaborate, and problem-solve using Teleclasses and Virtual Meetings. Remove the fear and uncertainty of teleclass/virtual meeting design and facilitation. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.

conflict resolutionTransforming Conflict in the Workplace

Would you be a more effective facilitator or leader with a more solid base of conflict resolution skills under your belt? All organizations and relationships encounter conflict. It's what we do with it that makes all the difference in the world. In this class you will learn conflict resolution skills for facilitative leaders by exploring and evaluating your own styles and personal responses conflict, learning and practicing conflict resolution strategies in the context of group facilitation, and exploring how you can implement conflict resolution and staff facilitation programs within organizations. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.


The Improvisational Facilitator

This highly experiential teleclass presents powerful, practical improv techniques you can use to immediately enhance your facilitation, training, and group leadership skills. This class is very interactive and uses many innovative experiential activities that will surely surprise you. You'll learn ways to become a better facilitator by experimenting with improv techniques, and increase your confidence and creativity to make your plan become more flexible and spontaneous. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.

Secrets to Designing Dynamic Workshops from Scratch

This 5-hour teleclass will walk you through the building blocks of designing and delivering effective experiential workshops. It will cover all the elements of workshop design using a simple, well-organized, and proven approach. You'll have the opportunity in this class to complete the design of your own workshop with the help of fellow students and instructors. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.


Becoming a Learning Facilitator

Make the shift from teaching to "Learning Facilitation." This course explores how to make the leap from conventional teaching approaches to a new perspective based on the learner and incorporating facilitation skills and philosophy into the learning environment. Purchase the MP3 version, complete with the learning guide, to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule. See details here.

Putting Out Brush Fires... How to intervene in difficult group situations
Do nonstop talkers, silent groups or dramatic conflicts ever knock your meetings off track? These meeting situations take a toll on a group’s ability to work together and cost time and money. This 5-hour teleclass, taught by Dee Kelsey and Pam Plumb, authors of Great Meetings! Great Results, will increase your ability to know when and how to intervene effectively in difficult situations to get your meetings back on track. Each session includes a short content presentation, discussion, demonstration, participant exercise, debrief, and discussion of application. This course if for anyone who facilitates, manages, teaches, mediates, coaches, counsels, directs any group. See details here.

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