Alignment Illustration

How to Facilitate Alignment and Confirm Balance

When you facilitate alignment, you help groups identify gaps, omissions, overkill, and to confirm the appropriateness and balance of their action plan. Rationale Building consensus around alignment can be very challenging, especially if you facilitate exclusively in the narrative world (ie, written words). The FAST method suggests the use of icons (see PowerBalls) that are…

Door of Opportunity

A Facilitator’s Profile is Much Like an Innovator’s Profile (Design Thinker)

“Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need weird shoes or a black turtleneck to be a design thinker . . .” so goes the article from Harvard Business Review June 2008 (pg 87).  The author suggests that five characteristics found in design thinkers (ie, innovators) that relate uncannily to core competencies required for effective facilitation. …

Overconfidence

How Experience and Qualifications Amplify the Fallacy of Planning (i.e., “Overconfidence”)

Research by Ana Guinote and Mario Weick shows that people in positions of power are particularly ineffective planners.  People who feel powerful focus on getting what they want and ignore the potential obstacles that stand in the way.  The planning efforts of powerful people rely frequently on “best case scenarios” and lead to far shorter…

Illustrative Context Diagram

A Consensually Built Picture Can Resolve a Thousand Arguments

Most of us have heard that a picture tells a thousand words.  Consensually built pictures, especially around complex topics and interactions, can be used to help solve and resolve a thousand arguments.  We are reminded by the IIBA (International Institute of Business Analysis) Quick Tip Bulletin #58 about the value of one picture type, called…

Removing the Weight of the World

A Holiday Message of Action for Facilitators from Mother Teresa

A large minority of the world celebrates Christmas this time of the year.  Since the traditional greeting in the English language is “Merry Christmas”, it begs the question, HOW.  While the thought may be genuine, and the words rich with historical precedence, HOW DOES a facilitator go about making today (and tomorrow) merry? The solution…

14 Typologies to Avoid

14 Facilitator Typologies to Avoid (Humorous, Although Uncannily Real)

In light of upcoming Holiday Spirit, here is a quick and somewhat humorous listing of fourteen different facilitator typologies or “personalities” you might seek to avoid. My favorite is “The Pretender.” The “I Can’t Hear You” Guy—The facilitator who refuses to listen, probably because they are too busy analyzing, judging, and processing information. The Blabber—The…

Decision-Making Matrix

Facilitating For-Profit Meetings Requires Structure Not Found in Kum Bay Yah

Facilitating business requirements captures substantially different challenges than facilitating community forums and other project-based meetings. While active listening serves both scenarios, the deliverables needed to support most business initiatives are quite different from social and community settings. Frequently, business facilitators are not seeking agreement, rather harmony.  The difference follows. Agreement suggests that everyone is singing the…

Building Agendas

An Ice Breaker TIP — Newspaper or Magazine Headlines about Accomplishments

This is one TIP from our collection of practical tips, tools, and techniques. Our tips are gathered from our experience, training classes, and alumni contributions. Warming Up A Group This ice breaker is useful for people that are unfamiliar with each other, or for familiar groups that need some new dimension to their relationships for…

Listening for WHY

An Active Listening TIP — Listening For the WHY, Benefits Everyone

This is one TIP from our collection of practical tips, tools, and techniques. Our tips are gathered from our experience, training classes, and alumni contributions. Listening For the WHY We all know that listening is an important skill. We instruct our students to engage in “active” listening. But, what do we hear? Most listening is…

The Big Question

Avoid Asking “How Do We Solve Global Hunger?” with Improved Methodology

Meeting participants are all too frequently confronted with questions that are too difficult to answer. When the facilitator receives a blank stare or extended silence after asking a question, there is a strong likelihood that the question is much to broad or vague, and thus difficult (rather than easy, as in facilitaere) to answer. Strive…