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Change or die? Most people do not change their minds—rather, they make a new decision based on new information.  Sometimes the things they look at change as well.

Change or Die, The Business Process Improvement Manual

Change or Die, The Business Process Improvement Manual

Every morning a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.

Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. 

It doesn’t matter whether you are  a lion or a gazelle, when the sun comes up . . .

. . . you’d better be running.

Source:  Unknown

Change or Die – Darwin

Change is stimulated by decisions.  Groups make higher quality decisions than the smartest person in the group because groups create more options.  Any group or individual presented with more options is known to make higher quality decisions.

Most change is incremental or evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  Yet, by harnessing one degree Fahrenheit, steam power ushered in the industrial revolution.  Today’s revolution is both digital and dynamic, it is “in formation”.  With anything in formation, change is inevitable, only growth is optional.

“It is NOT the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”   — Charles Darwin

Change or Die – The Tao

Some of the best books about facilitating change do not mention the term or role of a “facilitator”.  Take Dr Wayne Dyer‘s book for example, “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.”

We have always argued that effective facilitation begins with clear thinking, that unclear speaking or imprecise writing are indicative of unclear thinking.  Dr Dyer’s transliteration of “The Tao”, also called “Living the Wisdom of the Tao.”

The 17th verse begins and completes as follows:

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

With the greatest leader above them,

people barely know one exists . . .

 . . . The great leader speaks little,

He never speaks carelessly.

He works without self-interest

and leaves no trace.

When all is finished, the people say,

“We did it ourselves.”

Change or Die – Being Facilitative

One can easily substitute the term facilitator for leader or include the adjective “facilitative” in front of the term, as in “facilitative leader.”  Modern, facilitative leaders create an environment that is conducive to productivity, where all of the meeting participants feel that they have a personal responsibility to contribute and own the outputs, the deliverables.  Clear learnings that we can import from Dr Dyer’s treatment of the 17th verse also include:

  • Facilitators create an environment that helps everyone act responsibly.
  • Effective facilitators are able to make themselves invisible when the group reaches high performance mode. Although most groups do not reach this level, when they do, the facilitator becomes a scribe.
  • When it is time for accolades, facilitators dissolve in the background, wanting the participants to feel that the accomplishments derive from their own talents.
  • Instead of believing that they know what is best for a group, they trust the group participants and the method to generate what is best for them.
  • The surest way to gain the trust and confidence of participants is to allow them to make as many decisions as possible. Avoid grabbing the low-hanging fruit by answering simple content. Put even the simplest items in the form of a question.

Try being more neutral as a business agent, friend, spouse, family member, parent, etc. and be surprised by the results of people who will live up to their own answers.  Remember, there is usually more than one correct answer, the real question remains the taste for risk and reward.

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Don’t ruin your career or reputation with bad meetings. Register for a class or forward this to someone who should. Taught by world-class instructors, MG RUSH  professional facilitation curriculum focuses on practice. Each student thoroughly practices and rehearses tools, methods, and approaches throughout the week. While some call this immersion, we call it the road to building impactful facilitation skills.

Our courses also provide an excellent way to earn up to 40 SEUs from the Scrum Alliance, 40 PDUs from PMI, and 40 CDUs from IIBA, as well as 3.2 CEUs for other professions. (See individual class descriptions for details.)

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Facilitation Expert

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.

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