July 2009

Welcome to the International Association of Facilitators Methods Database (IAFMD). We hope that your meetings and team events went well.

The Database

As you know, the IAFMD has moved to a new platform that allows more flexibility and more functions. This past month has been making adjustment to the site. If there are suggestions you would like to make please let us know.


Your IAFMD team along with Douglas Druckenmiller and Danny Mittleman presented a paper at the Group Decision Making and Negotiations Conference in Toronto, Canada this past month that was well received. We hope to do more of this in the future.

Method of the Month

Sherman Tank
According to Stewart-Kirkby ( http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/rural/facts/96-003.htm), the Sherman Tank needs to be right and will plough over people to prove a point. They are arrogant and will attack not just your idea or project, but you personally as well. They
• Bully his/her way to achieve what they want.
• Embarrass co-workers, thinking they’ll gain support of others.
• Throw temper tantrums.
• Try to make supervisor (you) feel you’re doing poorly when you’re actually doing well.
(Fortunecity http://meltingpot.fortunecity.com/virginia/33/difficultPeople.htm ).

In a meeting, Sherman Tanks are likely to show disinterest in what is being discussed if they are not in support of it. These people will read something else, fidget in their chair and will make it very clear to everyone this topic is a waste of time. They may even interrupt discussion with a statement like "What's next on the agenda?"

How to deal with?
The most important aspect of coping with Sherman Tanks is to stand up for yourself. If you don't, they will see you as a person they don't need to pay any attention to -- you will fade into oblivion as far as they are concerned. If they confront you with yelling or crying, hold your ground and give them time to lose momentum (they will), and then get into the situation. You may have to interrupt Sherman Tanks to get into the conversation because they are not likely to pause to give you the chance. To get their attention, say their name in a loud, clear voice. Try to get your Sherman Tank to sit down because people seated are less likely to be aggressive. Next, present your own point of view, in an assertive fashion, by using phrases such as "In my opinion..."; "I disagree with you..." In this way, you are not telling the Sherman Tank what to do, but rather you are expressing your opinions.

Don't let the balance of power swing to the Sherman Tank. If you give in to the Sherman Tank, whatever was being discussed will be tabled forever and the group's respect will vanish. Suggest to the Sherman Tank that the group feels this item is important (otherwise it wouldn't be on the agenda) and the discussion will continue. Remind Sherman Tanks they can participate in the discussion and present their side of the issue. Once involved in the discussion, the Sherman Tank may become highly argumentative. Remember to control your temper -- if you remain calm, it's likely the rest of the group will too. Try to find merit in one of his/her points, express your agreement and move on to others. If the Sherman Tank makes an incorrect statement, toss it out to the group and let them turn it down.
(Stewart-Kirkby http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/rural/facts/96-003.htm).

If you have suggestions about methods let us know.

The Monthly Poll

During the month of June we did not have a monthly poll but a new one is on the site for this month.