Awareness and Management (GAME) Skill
Your Group's Potential
Understand team evolution
and hold a larger vision for your group.
tend to evolve through a fairly predictable series of stages
over time. One model commonly used in business and group process
calls these stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
I also particularly like author Scott Peck's community building
model which includes: Pseudo- Community, Chaos, Emptiness, and
Most groups that come together hang out in the Forming or
Pseudo- Community stage, particularly if they lack a good
facilitator. In this stage, people spend lots of energy trying
to be "nice" and polite with one another. In other
words, dishonest with each other. In this stage, the energy of
each individual is more focused on how they appear to others
than what the group might accomplish.
The Storming or Chaos stage is reached if a group hangs together
long enough to begin shedding it's facade. People begin to
express their truth, often in very ineffective ways, i.e.
through blaming, shouting, pouting, withdrawing, etc. When
groups reach this stage, they often retreat back into the
Pseudo- Community stage for comfort. After all, our culture has
taught us to avoid conflict and fighting, right? Now let's be
good boys and girls and quit fighting, OK? The problem with this
approach is that it keeps us fixated in mediocrity.
If the group should somehow stay the course and find their way
through the Chaos or Storming stage, they may reach the stage of
Norming or Emptiness. In this stage, members begin to identify
their individual strengths and weaknesses and seek roles that
best fit their abilities and desires. The group begins to use
problem-solving strategies to solve previously encountered
personal and professional difficulties.
Finally, as a group perseveres, they reach the stage or
Performing or of True Community where fantastic accomplishments
can be made by a group whose individuals are now perfectly
aligned on the intent to work together.
Some groups may never transcend all of these stages and may find
themselves stuck in one, or oscillating between two stages. It's
also perfectly normal for groups to move in and out of several
of these stages over time.
Each group is different and only their commitment to their own
growth and to each other, coupled with the mastery of the
facilitator, will determine how far they come together.
Ultimately, it's useful to know that a higher vision for any
group is possible and the more members that hold and act on this
vision, the more likely it will be attained.
many groups have you been in where members resist sharing what's
standing between them? There may be something one member does
that continues to push a button of yours, thus distracting you
from fully engaging your energies behind the group. There may be
tensions below the surface between you and other members that
are "ignored" and never addressed. Or there may be
processes the group uses that you find to be limiting,
frustrating, or just plain ineffective.
How often have you sensed any of these things and done nothing?
Why have you done nothing? Could it be that you just didn't want
to "rock the proverbial boat?" Or maybe you just
didn't know how to say it in a nice way. Or maybe you have
spoken out in the past and people got pissed at you so you just
keep quiet now.
If any of this sounds familiar it's because that's where most
groups hang out, in the space between Pseudo-Community (not
rocking the boat) and Chaos (telling the truth). This is where
you as a facilitator can help. You can help group members share
their truth in a supportive fashion, knowing that if this truth
stirs emotions, that it's OK, and that by processing these
emotions or disagreements, the group has the potential to move
past chaos to a far more powerful level of functioning.
interested in hearing your perspectives on this topic and how
this information might help you in your efforts to facilitate
groups as either a leader or as a participant. Please email
me your thoughts, stories, and experiences on this issue.
Different Drum, by
M. Scott Peck
ground-breaking bestseller, The Road Less Traveled, Peck took
readers on a personal journey of psychological and spiritual
development. In his new national bestseller, The Different Drum,
he takes the next step--to the larger experience of living and
working in community.
Community isn't what we think it is. Peck does an impeccable job
of explaining true community and why it is so elusive in our
society. Though he mentions over and over that he is an
idealist, Peck presents some very intelligent arguments as to
why a community approach just makes sense. He isn't naive
either. He says the road to community can be painful and
How Do Facilitators Market Their Services?
We received very few responses to the question around how
facilitators market their services. This must be a challenging
area for many! However, Carole
Kaucic responded with the following excellent suggestion
that you might find useful. Thank you Carole for your
Volunteer to facilitate a not-for-profit group. You'll be
donating your services, and someone there may very well need a
facilitator at his/her work site, and the organization involved
is willing/able to pay for the services of a "tried"
facilitator. It worked for me!
This week, we're asking you this: What single key theme or
issue do you see repeated in the groups you work with that most
impedes the group making progress?
us your input and we'll make all of your ideas
and experiences available to everyone who contributes.
Please email your responses to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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