This process enables groups to overcome what might best be called "group multiple personality disorder."
An individual displaying different personalities over time could well be considered by many to be "nuts." But that's literally the exact situation in groups ... lots of individuals with different personalities.
And that's why we often perceive them to be just plain crazy:
Insanity in individuals is something rare –
but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900)
This approach is for groups that
The foundation of this facilitation approach is the Wheel of Learning, the feedback process at the heart of all learning.
|The Wheel of Learning. Learning is a feedback process!|
Groups learn ground rules that promote double-loop learning, which is examining mental models and changing decision rules and strategies to make better decisions even with the same information used in single-loop learning (reacting and adapting). Groups learn how to address the "real issues" by practicing in a safe environment where the use of the more productive norms of behavior are monitored and encouraged.
Each of us tends to favor a personality style (in green) on the wheel. Groups need participants of all styles for effective learning. Unfortunately, people with different styles can drive each other crazy. As an example, "doers" just want to get on with it and "reflecters" never stop thinking about alternatives. This is a major source of group conflict.
Groups learn this facilitation technique by practicing in the context of a real problem. Workshops can be defined around a process an organization wants to improve where there is hard data (e.g., production or engineering processes), or around an issue about which the group determines the "correct" answer (e.g., group values, purpose, vision or goals where there is no true "correct" answer).
The skills learned in this workshop are a necessary ingredient for:
- creating exponential process improvement.
- developing a winning strategic focus.
For a more detailed description of this approach, see the two-page paper on Facilitating Group Action. (pdf, 100K)
An example of how this was used to help the Colorado Springs Manufacturing Task Force reveal their consensus on initiatives: Manufacturing Task Force Meeting Report, 10/26/04, on "What benefits would you as a manufacturer like to derive from an on-going Manufacturing Association?"
Also, to create effective groups, we must overcome what are known as Defensive Routines. (pdf, 270K)