Terrence Metz, CSM, PSPO, CSPF, is the Managing Director of MG RUSH Facilitation Training and Coaching, the acknowledged leader in structured facilitation training. His FAST Facilitation Best Practices blog features over 300 articles on facilitation skills and tools aimed at helping others lead faster, more productive meetings and workshops that yield higher quality decisions. His clients include Agilists, Scrum teams, program and project managers, senior officers, and the business analyst community among numerous private and public companies and global corporations. As an undergraduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and MBA graduate from NWU’s Kellogg School of Management, his professional experience has focused on process improvement and product development. He continually aspires to make it easier for others to succeed.

Stormy Skies Scenario

How to Manage “Probabilities” in the Role of Facilitator: Create Ranges

Probabilities consist of commonly held assumptions, beliefs, and outlooks about some future state or condition. Forward looking deliverables such as five-year plans and shaping curves rely exclusively on the concept of probabilities, since no future state is certain. How can a facilitator help resolve arguments around conflicting probabilities, particularly when evidence supports multiple outcomes? Create…

Support for Arguments

How to Make Thinking Visible — Three Forms of Business Argumentation Support

One prevailing reason for how to categorize input relies on common purpose. Most enterprises organize around common purpose. For example, treasury operations organize around the purpose of financial capital; human resources organize around the purpose of human capital; and marketing organizes around the purpose of products and services. Force your participants to make thinking visible.…

Increase Friendliness by Avoiding Podiums

Increase Your Leadership Likability By Strolling and Smiling More

Some of the best methodologists are also capable of facilitating complex topics requiring pre-thought and structure. Sometimes they fall flat on the personality factor, coming off as dispassionate, aloof, or insensitive. Most facilitators default in the other direction, they are typically warm and likable and good presenters but are frail when it comes to workshop…

Continuous Improvement Pays for Itself

Methodological Awareness About Deming’s 14 Points of Continuous Improvement

Every minute somewhere, someone refers to Deming’s term SMART (ie, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Based). Lesser known, however frequently copied, you will find his philosophy of continuous improvement. Therefore, true to his words, enjoy the phrasing of Deming’s 14 points of continuous improvement. You will discover an excellent discussion of them in Chapter 2 of Out…

Argumentation Relies on Facts, Presumptions, Assumptions, and Probabilities

Understand the Value of Argumentation for Organizational Decision-making

A strong facilitator should understand and appreciate the value of argumentation. She should understand the holarchial nature of business and people organized around a common cause. Critical thinking helps structure discussions so  groups can get more done, faster. In 1962, when Thomas Watson (CEO of IBM) was helping IBM reach their pinnacle, he said: “I…

Getting to Know One Another, Icebreakers for Large Groups

Two Quick and Effective Icebreakers for Large Groups

All groups, especially very large groups, perform better when the participants know something about each other. Even though time constraints prohibit traditional, self-spoken icebreakers for large groups (eg, 60 people for two minutes each burns two hours), some time for social bonding remains effective. Consider the following simple, easy, icebreakers for large groups, even hundreds of people,…

A Powerful Participants' Package

What to Include in a Workshop Participants’ Package for a Major Initiative

Besides understanding the difference between meeting roles and project or work roles, provide each participant with a participants’ package or pre-read handout. At launch or kickoff or any major inflection points, consider binding a participants’ package with spiral edging across the top of your inserts because it is unique and easier for left-handed note takers.…

Develop the Basis in Four Easy Steps

Develop the Basis for a Successful Meeting or Workshop in 4 Easy Steps

Purpose is to develop the basis for a successful meeting or workshop in four easy steps.  This preparation codifies the program purpose, project scope, session (ie, meeting or workshop) deliverables, and potential participants. Method Do the following: Write down your deliverable and strive to Get Examples! Deliverables illustrate the required documentation and needed information. What are we…

Appreciative Inquiry: Explore the Possibilities

Appreciative Inquiry — A Facilitative Path for the Future

Organizations seeking to change HOW they work may consider Appreciative Inquiry. The Appreciative Inquiry approach evaluates various viewpoints and to create an evolutionary path for the future. It leverages brainstorming, prioritizing, sub-teams, and various other tools we’ve discussed elsewhere, putting them in the context of: “ . . . study and exploration of what gives…