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The Secrets of Facilitation, New and Revised

This thoroughly revised and updated edition of The Secrets of Facilitation delivers a clear vision of facilitation excellence and reveals the specific techniques effective facilitators use to produce consistent, repeatable results with groups. Author Michael Wilkinson has trained thousands of managers, analysts, and consultants around the world to apply the power of SMART (Structured Meeting And Relating Techniques) facilitation to achieve amazing results with teams and task forces. This new edition includes new chapters that highlight such timely topics as: facilitating virtual meetings; facilitating very large groups; facilitating conferences; and building an internal facilitator capability. The book also offers new cross-cultural examples, and an ancillary website with forms, checklists and a sample facilitator guide.
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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION TO THE SECOND EDITION xvii What?s New in the Second Edition? xviii Case Study: The Secrets in Action?How Two Practitioners Have Put the Secrets to Work xx INTRODUCTION: A POWERFUL SECRET xxiii Case Study: Learning the Powerful Secret xxiii Secret #1?The Fundamental Secret of Facilitation xxiv Case Study: The Sanitation Workers xxiv Learning to Apply the Fundamental Secret xxvi The Principles of SMART Facilitation xxviii More Ways to Apply the Secret xxxix What This Book Will Do for You xxxix Where to Start xl I. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF A FACILITATOR? 1 Questions Answered in This Chapter 1 Case Study: The Facilitator?s Role in Civic Leadership Groups 1 Sample Scenarios: Group Solutions Needed 3 When Is Facilitation Appropriate? 4 Secret #2?The Secret of When to Use Facilitation 5 Definition: What Is a Facilitated Session? 5 What Are the Responsibilities of a Facilitator? 6 The Soul of a Facilitator 7 When Is Facilitation Not Appropriate? 8 Facilitation: Where Is the Industry Today? 10 What?s Next for Facilitation? 11 Applying the Secrets to Gain Buy-In to a Strategic Plan 13 Facilitator?s Checklist for Understanding Facilitation and the Roles of a Facilitator 14 Exercise Your Skills 15 II. THE SECRETS TO QUESTIONING: DESIGN YOUR QUESTIONS TO GET BETTER ANSWERS 17 Questions Answered in This Chapter 17 Case Study: Starting Questions 17 The Starting Question 18 Secret #3?The Secret of the Starting Question 20 Case Study: The Starting Question to Engage the VP?s Number Two 26 The Reacting Questions 27 Secret #4?The Secret to Guiding a Group 28 Floating an Idea 29 Secret #5?The Secret to Influencing Idea Ownership 30 Applying the Questioning Techniques 32 A Final Note on Questioning 34 Facilitator?s Checklist for Questioning 34 Exercise Your Skills 35 III. THE SECRETS TO PREPARING: KNOW YOUR 5 PS 37 Questions Answered in This Chapter 37 Case Study: The Principals? Conference 37 The 5 Ps of Preparation 38 Secret #6?The Secret to Preparation: The 5 Ps 38 It?s All About Purpose 39 Secret #7?The Secret Power of Purpose 40 Defining the Product 41 Secret #8?The Secret to Defi ning the Session Product: The 3 Hs 42 Selecting Participants 42 Identifying the Probable Issues 45 Preparing the Process 46 The Meeting Notice 46 Case Study: Preparing for Vision Councils 47 Special Topic: Managing a Sponsor 48 Secret #9?The Secret to Managing a Sponsor?s Presence 51 Applying the 5 Ps 53 Facilitator?s Checklist for Preparing 54 Exercise Your Skills 55 IV. THE SECRETS TO STARTING: INFORM, EXCITE, EMPOWER, INVOLVE 57 Questions Answered in This Chapter 57 Case Study: Kicking off Vision 2020 57 Opening the Session 58 Secret #10?The Secret to a Strong Opening 59 Secret #11?The Secret to Exciting in the Opening 62 Gaining Buy-In to the Agenda 63 Secret #12?The Secret to Gaining Agenda Buy-In 63 Using Ground Rules 65 Secret #13?The Secret to Using Ground Rules 65 Case Study: Avoiding the Executive Feeding Frenzy 68 Using Parking Boards 70 Secret #14?The Secret to Parking Boards 70 Effective Introductions 71 Secret #15?The Secret to Effective Introductions 72 Opening Nonfacilitated Meetings 73 When Should You Arrive for the Meeting? 73 Getting Started on Time 74 Secret #16?The Secret to Starting on Time 74 Applying the Secrets to Starting 75 Facilitator?s Checklist for Getting the Session Started 76 Exercise Your Skills 77 V. THE SECRETS TO FOCUSING: ESTABLISH THE COURSE, AVOID DETOURS 79 Questions Answered in This Chapter 79 Case Study: Facilitating the Senator and the Chief of Staff 79 Secret #17?The Secret to Using Checkpoints 79 Focusing the Group: Using Checkpoints 79 The Extended Checkpoint 83 Warming Up a Group 84 Secret #18?The Secret to Warming Up a Group 84 Delivering Accurate, Clear, and Concise Directions (PeDeQs) 85 Secret #19?The Secret to Giving Clear Directions 85 Keeping a Group on Track 88 Secret #20?The Secret to Keeping a Group on Track 88 Managing Breakout Groups 90 Secret #21?The Secret to Effective Breakout Groups 90 Secret #22?The Secret to Rotating Flip Charts 95 Applying the Secrets to Focusing 97 Facilitator?s Checklist for Focusing a Group 97 Exercise Your Skills 99 VI. THE SECRETS TO RECORDING: THE POWER OF THE PEN?USE IT, DON?T ABUSE IT, MAKE IT THEIRS 101 Questions Answered in This Chapter 101 Case Study: Public Safety Collaborative 101 How Facilitators Abuse the Pen 102 Using, Not Abusing the Pen 104 Secret #23?The Secret to Using, Not Abusing, the Power of the Pen 104 Case Study: The Power of the Pen, ELMO, and Parking Boards 107 Knowing What to Record 107 Secret #24?The Secret to Knowing What to Record 108 Managing the Recording Process 110 Secret #25?The Secret to Keeping the Recording Concise 112 Using Strategies to Avoid Lulls While Writing 113 Secret #26?The Secret to Avoiding Lulls While Writing 114 Additional Techniques for Recording 116 The Seven Deadly Sins of Facilitation 118 Applying the Secrets to Recording 119 Facilitator?s Checklist for Recording 119 Exercise Your Skills 120 VII. THE SECRETS TO INFORMATION GATHERING: KNOW YOUR TOOLS AND HOW TO USE THEM 123 Questions Answered in This Chapter 123 Case Study: The Retailing Conference 123 Understanding the Major Information Gathering and Processing Functions 125 Understanding Processing Groups 126 Understanding Processing Order 127 Gathering and Processing Information 127 Secret #27?The Secret to Gathering Information 127 Gathering Facts 128 Secret #28?The Secret to Getting the Details 129 Categorizing 130 Secret #29?The Secret to Categorizing 130 Inquiring 133 Secret #30?The Secret to Q&A Sessions 133 Generating Ideas 136 Secret #31?The Secret to Generating Ideas 136 Prioritizing 138 Secret #32?The Secret to Prioritizing 139 Reporting 143 Secret #33?The Secret to Reporting Back 144 Getting Feedback 145 Secret #34?The Secret to Getting Quality Feedback 145 Additional Information Gathering and Processing Strategies 147 Applying the Secrets to Information Gathering 150 Case Study: Facilitation in the Classroom 151 Facilitator?s Checklist for Information Gathering 152 Exercise Your Skills 153 VIII. THE SECRETS TO CLOSING: REVIEW, DEFINE, EVALUATE, END, DEBRIEF 155 Questions Answered in This Chapter 155 Case Study: Polling for Agreement at the Close 155 Secret #35?The Secret to a Strong Close 157 Reviewing Activities Completed and Personal Objectives 157 Confirming Commitment to Decisions Made 158 Secret #36?The Secret to Confirming Commitment to Decisions 158 Clearing the Issues List 163 Secret #37?The Secret to Clearing the Issues List 163 Assigning Actions 164 Secret #38?The Secret to Assigning Actions 164 Defining What Can Be Communicated About the Session 165 Evaluating the Session 167 Ending the Session 169 Debriefing 169 What If the Session Is Running Behind? 170 What If the Session Is Going to Run Over? 171 Delivering a Partial Close 171 Facilitator?s Checklist for Closing 172 Exercise Your Skills 173 IX. THE SECRETS TO MANAGING DYSFUNCTION: CONSCIOUS PREVENTION, EARLY DETECTION, CLEAN RESOLUTION 175 Questions Answered in This Chapter 175 Case Study: The Chairman and the COO 175 Dysfunctional Behavior?What Is It? 177 Secret #39?The Secret to Understanding Dysfunction 178 Techniques for Conscious Prevention 180 Secret #40?The Secret to Preventing Dysfunction 180 Techniques for Early Detection 183 Secret #41?The Secret to Detecting Dysfunction 183 Techniques for Clean Resolution 185 Secret #42?The Secret to Resolving Dysfunction 185 Recommended Responses to Various Dysfunctions 188 When the Unexpected Happens 196 Secret #43?The Secret to Responding When the Unexpected Happens 197 Responding to Mistakes and Attacks 198 Case Study: Making a Mistake as the Facilitator 198 Secret #44?The Secret to Responding to Mistakes and Attacks 199 Rewarding Functional Behavior 201 Lesson Learned 201 Applying the Secrets to Managing Dysfunction 203 Facilitator?s Checklist for Managing Dysfunction 205 Exercise Your Skills 207 X. THE SECRETS TO CONSENSUS BUILDING: CREATE AND MAINTAIN A CONSENSUS-FOCUSED PROCESS 209 Questions Answered in This Chapter 209 Case Study: Consensus on Values 209 Defining Consensus 210 Secret #45?The Secret to Understanding Consensus 211 Deciding How to Decide 212 Secret #46?The Secret of Five-Finger Consensus 214 Understanding Why People Disagree 215 Secret #47?The Secret to Understanding Disagreement 215 Secret #48?The Secret to Resolving a Level 3 Disagreement 221 Filling Your Toolbox of Consensus Building Techniques 223 Secret #49?The Secret to Resolving a Level 1 Disagreement 224 Secret #50?The Secret to Resolving a Level 2 Disagreement 231 Case Study: Improving Customer Delivery Times 234 Secret #51?The Secret to Using Weighted Scoring 236 Revisiting the Family Vacation 241 Applying the Secrets to Consensus 242 Secret #52?The Secret to Gaining Consensus on Wording 242 Facilitator?s Checklist for Consensus Building 244 Exercise Your Skills 245 XI. THE SECRETS TO ENERGY: SET THE PACE, ANTICIPATE THE LULLS, REACT ACCORDINGLY 247 Questions Answered in This Chapter 247 Case Study: Learning the Impact of Energy 247 Understanding the Impact of Energy 248 Secret #53?The Secret of Energy: The Three Es 248 Projecting Energy from the Start 250 Secret #54?The Secret to Starting with Energy 250 Case Study: The Low-Key Facilitator 253 Adjusting to the Lullaby Times 253 Secret #55?The Secret to Adjusting to the Lullaby Times 254 Maintaining Energy During the Session 254 Secret #56?The Secret to Maintaining Energy 255 Case Study: A Team Building Mistake 258 Using Team Building Activities 259 Secret #57?The Secret to Using Team Building Activities 259 Crossing the River: My Favorite Team Building Exercise 260 Facilitator?s Checklist for Energy 264 Exercise Your Skills 265 XII. THE SECRETS TO AGENDA SETTING: ADAPT YOUR AGENDA TO ADDRESS THE NEED 267 Questions Answered in This Chapter 267 Case Study: Pay for Performance 267 Understanding Process 268 Using Standard Agendas 269 Secret #58?The Secret of Standard Agendas 269 Customizing the Agenda 273 Secret #59?The Secret to Customizing the Agenda 274 Developing an Agenda from Scratch 275 Secret #60?The Secret to Developing an Agenda from Scratch 275 Knowing Your Process Cold: The Facilitation Guide 277 Secret #61?The Secret to Knowing Your Process Cold 277 Estimating and Tracking Time 279 Secret #62?The Secret to Estimating Time 279 Applying the Secrets to the First Meeting of a Task Force 281 Facilitator?s Checklist for Agenda Setting 284 Exercise Your Skills 285 XIII. THE SECRETS TO FACILITATING VIRTUAL MEETINGS: KEEP EVERYONE FOCUSED AND ENGAGED 287 Questions Answered in This Chapter 287 Case Study: The Virtual Strategy Monitoring Session 287 Secret #63?The Secret to Preparing for a Virtual Meeting 293 Choosing and Preparing Your Technology 293 Preparing for the Meeting 294 Starting the Meeting 295 Running the Meeting 296 Secret #64?The Secret to Engaging People Virtually 297 Special Cases 298 Facilitator?s Checklist for Virtual Meetings 300 Exercise Your Skills 302 XIV. THE SECRETS TO FACILITATING LARGE GROUPS AND CONFERENCES: USE THE POWER OF PROCESS TO GUIDE AND ENGAGE 303 Questions Answered in This Chapter 303 Case Study: Facilitating a Thousand People 303 Facilitating Large Groups 305 Secret #65?The Secret to Facilitating Large Groups 305 Facilitating Conferences 307 Case Study: Facilitating a Conference on Spirituality 307 Secret #66?The Secret to Facilitating Conferences 310 Secret #67?The Secret to Managing Time with Speakers 312 Facilitator?s Checklist for Facilitating Large Groups and Conferences 314 Exercise Your Skills 315 XV. THE SECRETS TO FACILITATING CROSS-CULTURAL GROUPS: RECOGNIZE YOUR OWN BIASES TO BETTER ADAPT TO THE CULTURE OF OTHERS 317 Questions Answered in This Chapter 317 Introduction 317 Understanding Cultural Competency 318 Secret #68?The Secret to Facilitating Cross-Cultural Groups 323 Applying the Secrets to Cross-Cultural Groups 333 Case Study: What Is the Objective? 334 Case Study: Facilitating the Strategic Plan for a Caribbean Government 336 Case Study: Facilitating for Morehouse 347 Interrupting the Effects of Institutional Power Through Facilitation 351 Facilitator?s Checklist for Facilitating Cross-Cultural Groups 364 Exercise Your Skills 366 XVI. THE SECRETS TO BUILDING AN INTERNAL FACILITATOR CAPABILITY: BUILD THE CASE, RAISE AWARENESS 369 Questions Answered in This Chapter 369 Introduction 369 Case Study: The Pull Strategy at Hydro One 370 Case Study: From Training to Something Bigger at Direct Supply 377 Case Study: The Facilitator Development Program at Saudi Aramco 379 Best Practice Strategies 385 Secret #69?The Secret to Establishing an Internal Facilitator Cadre 386 Exercise Your Skills 394 XVII. SPECIAL TOPICS 395 Questions Answered in This Chapter 395 Apply the Secrets to Running a Simple Meeting 395 Applying the Secrets as a Meeting Participant 402 Secret #70?The Secret to Guerrilla Facilitation 402 Applying the Secrets to Very Small Groups 404 Applying the Secrets as a Consultant or Subject Matter Expert 405 Case Study: The Strategy Firm and the Nonprofit 406 Becoming a Certifi ed Facilitator 408 Facilitator Neutrality: Fact or Fiction? 412 EPILOGUE 417 RESOURCE GUIDE FOR FACILITATORS 419 Leadership Strategies?The Facilitation Company 419 The FindaFacilitator Database 420 The International Association of Facilitators 420 The International Institute for Facilitation 420 Training Courses in Facilitation 420 Recommended Books 424 70 Secrets of Facilitation 427 Acknowledgments 431 The Author 433 Index 435

About the Author

Michael Wilkinson is founder and managing director for Leadership Strategies--The Facilitation Company, which specializes in facilitation training and in providing facilitators to lead executive retreats and task forces. He was named Facilitator of the Year by the Southeast Association of Facilitators in 2003 and is author of four books.

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