So You Want to be a Facilitator…?

 Image® by Avril Orloff
Image® by Avril Orloff

So you want to be a facilitator?  This humourous graphic illustrates the attributes of an inspired facilitator:

  • Large Ears– to listen to all things said and “spoken between the lines”.
  • Sharp Eyes –  to read body language and visual cues in a single scan.
  • Tiny Mouth –  to hold onto personal opinions, while speaking with integrity and neutrality.
  • Warm Heart – to treat everyone with respect and compassion.
  • Open Hands  – to manage process effectively with methods/questions that invite full participation.
  • Solid Feet – to be a stable force in the face of complexity, dynamics and emergence.
  • Unifying Spirit – to serve the health and well-being of the whole.

Bring our empowering facilitation courses in-house. Contact us for your discovery call.

Facilitative Leaders

facilitation-chart-male-groupAs a leader in today’s collaborative, specialized, multi-disciplinary world, you recognize that to achieve results, people must understand, buy into and accept new directions and solutions.

You know that when people have a say in answering the questions that matter to them, they will bring their discretionary energy, time and commitment to ensure solutions are successfully implemented.

The old style leader imposed answers from the top. Your approach as a facilitative leader is to engage the right people at the right time, by asking good questions and facilitating focused, interactive and productive group process to gain their input and ownership.

Facilitative leaders know how to: Continue reading “Facilitative Leaders”

Grow People for Inspired Change

grow-people“What if the act of believing in others was part of the trajectory, the catalyst even, to fuel others to live the best version of themselves?” —Ted Egly, in Believing In Others.

As a leader, supervisor, coach, facilitator, team lead, or change agent, your role is to help “grow” people to be the best they can be. One practical framework to help you do just that is Appreciative Inquiry (AI*);  it is a strength-based approach to growing people for inspired change.

Starting from an AI stance, people, teams, organizations and communities are not viewed as “problems to be solved”, but rather as complex systems whose positive core is to be embraced and amplified.

Facilitate these four powerful questions, and you will succeed as a leader in focusing your people on their strengths, and in helping to lift them to the best version of themselves. Continue reading “Grow People for Inspired Change”

Happy Successful People

mfi-image-2Nine things happy and successful people ignore:

  1. The mind’s endless stream of doubts. Believe in yourself and your capacity to succeed.
  2. Unfounded fears that stop you from taking risks outside your comfort zone. Stay on goal. Dare to go for it!
  3. Things you can’t control. Remember what works as you focus on the solution. Then do your best.
  4. How long it takes to make a change. Don’t expect instant gratification and results. Celebrate any small steps you take forward.
  5. Distracting ‘busywork’. Say “no” to anything not moving you towards your highest priorities. The world needs your unique gifts.
  6. The pain of hard work and growth. Strength is the result of learning new things and overcoming challenges.
  7. Daily frustrations. A bad day is just that; it too will pass. Remain positive. Find even the slightest funny angle and laugh at it!
  8. What happened in the past; it’s history. Look ahead; do your best. Forgive and then move on.
  9. Others’ judgments of you – say more about them. Strive to always be authentically yourself.

Call to Action: Read this inspiring book on the Little Things That Happy and Successful People Do Differently.

Facilitating Strategic Planning

A fundamental competency of leaders is to guide the direction-setting process for their business, organization or group, typically through strategic planning. A good strategic plan provides clarity, focus, consensus and alignment at all levels to priority goals and results.

Key Process Questions

In this blog series, we will cover key process questions around which the process of strategic planning is facilitated:

  • Who are we?
  • What do we do?
  • Where are we now?
  • Where do we want to be?
  • How will we get there?

Along the way, as we unpack these high level questions, we will emphasize when to answer Peter Drucker’s five most important questions to ask your organization:

  1. What is our Mission?
  2. Who is our Customer?
  3. What does the Customer Value?
  4. What are our Results?
  5. What is Our Plan?

The Strategic Facilitator: Aligning Around Vision and Strategy.

Leadership in a Complex World

Love this quote:

“In this day and age, when problems are increasingly complex and there are no simple answers, and no simple cause and effect – how stressful for leaders to pretend that they have the answer. A life-affirming leader is one who knows how to rely on and use the intelligence that exists everywhere in the community, the company, school, or organization. Such leaders act as stewards of other people’s creativity and intelligence. Today’s leader needs to be one who convenes people, who convenes diversity, who convenes all viewpoints in processes where our intelligence can come forth. These kinds of leaders do not give us the answers; rather they help gather us so that we can discover the answers together.”

– Margaret Wheatley, author, Leadership and the New Science

Whosoever Wishes to Know the World, Heraklietos

“Whosoever wishes to know about the world must learn about it in its
particular details.
Knowledge is not intelligence.
In searching for the truth be ready for the unexpected.
Change alone is unchanging.
The same road goes both up and down.
The beginning of a circle is also its end.
Not I, but the world says it: all is one.
And yet everything comes in season.”

–Heraklietos of Ephesos, 500 B.C

The Road Ahead, Rainer Maria Rilke

“My eyes already touch the sunny hill,
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has its inner light, even from a distance.
and changes us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are;
a gesture waves us on, answering our own wave…
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke

On the Other Side of the Door

A hopeful poem in a time of chaos and upheaval…

On the other side of the door
I can be a different me,
As smart and as brave and as funny or strong
As a person could want to be.
There’s nothing too hard for me to do,
There’s no place I can’t explore
Because everything can happen
On the other side of the door.

On the other side of the door
I don’t have to go alone.
If you come, too, we can sail tall ships
And fly where the wind has flown.
And wherever we go, it is almost sure
We’ll find what we’re looking for
Because everything can happen
On the other side of the door.

by Jeff Moss, found in Teaching With Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach

Key Questions in Large System Change Solutions

I love technology! I had been taking Otto Scharmer’s online Presencing course with some 125+ folks from all over the world (a most worthwhile course by the way that I highly recommend!), and had not been able to complete the last couple of classes. So I just signed in yesterday, and there was Otto, as vital and interesting as the morning he originally taped the lectures live.

The fourth class topic is about the right-hand side of the U-curve, and prototyping, or how to put vision and intention on its feet with experiments that would allow an exploration of the future by doing. Otto shared seven great questions to ask in order to sort out which of the many possible ideas/solutions to prototype. I share them here, because I believe they have applicability not only in this type of situation, but also for just about any type of implementation planning. Here they are, with the source fully acknowledged as: Otto Scharmer, Presencing Global Classroom, Session No. 4, Prototyping, Weekly Thursday Sessions, March 20-April 17, 2008.

  1. Relevant: Does it matter to the key stakeholders involved?
  2. Revolutionary: can it change the system – the structure that created the problem in the first place?
  3. Rapid: can you do it quickly?
  4. Rough: can you do it small scale? Is it doable and doesn’t cost millions? Can you pull off in a couple of weeks or months?
  5. Right: have you got the right dimensions? Does the microcosm mirror the whole? Do you see in the experiment the core issue that really underlies the fundamental situation you are wishing to address?
  6. Relationally effective: are you leveraging the existing networks and competencies? When you deal with a number of other organizations and players, you want to come up with something where you can leverage the existing competencies in the network, and doing so will give you a jumpstart in addressing the challenge.
  7. Replicable: can you scale it up? Could this go viral?