The Trivium

One Essence, Three Aspects: The Rule of Thirds in the World of Facilitation

The rule of thirds can help guide facilitator. The Project Management Institute (PMI) refers to planning, analysis, and design as separate stages across project development.  At ground level, the basic Use Case refers to Input>Process>Output as the basis for understanding requirements. Many of the world’s great religions of philosophy embrace the concept of a trinity.  From…

A Metaphor is Worth a Thousand Pictures

A Metaphor is Worth a Thousand Pictures: Explain Via Analogy

In the role of facilitator, you will discover a lot of power by using metaphors or analogies to explain your method. Avoid using the content and experience of the subject matter experts.  In other words, a metaphor is worth a thousand pictures.  To use “their” content violates neutrality.  Using a metaphor or analogy about which…

Facilitative Leadership

Six Benefits by Improving Your Facilitative Leadership and Meeting Skills

As you amplify and increase your facilitative leadership skills, you and your team participants will become more successful.  What is our measurement of success?  Let us consider six substantial areas of success for improving your facilitative leadership and meeting skills including: Consensual Understanding and Higher Quality Decisions Flexibility and Breaking through Stalemates and Deadlocks Impactful…

Design Thinker

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 five characteristics found in design thinkers (ie, innovators) that relate uncannily to core competencies required for effective facilitation.  Included…


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.  Here is the fallacy of planning: the planning efforts of powerful people rely frequently on “best case…

Stimulate the Senses

The Positive Psychology of Chenille Stems: How to Make Everything Seem Easier

If you seek innovation and breakthrough during your group meetings or workshops, do not clone yourself.  Constantly strive to blend and mix various ingredients and participants.  But be prepared to keep them all stimulated.  We call it the “Zen” of the experience—that is appealing to all the senses to stimulate and maintain vibrancy, including chenille…

Illustrative Context Diagram

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. Our 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…

Facilitating Kum-Bay-Yah Decision-Making Matrix to Guide Selection of Structured Facilitation Tools

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

Facilitating business requirements captures substantially different challenges than facilitating Kum-Bay-Yah community forums and other volunteer-based meetings. While active listening serves both scenarios, decision-making that supports most business initiatives differs from win-lose voting methods. Frequently, business facilitators are not seeking agreement, rather harmony.  The difference follows. Agreement suggests that everyone is singing the same note, perhaps even…