IAF Methods Databse Newsletter October 2011

Hello Facilitators,
Welcome to the October IAF-Methods Database Newsletter. I hope you are having fine facilitation discoveries this month!

The IAF Methods Database is looking for Associate Editors! Help needed ranges from proofreading to adding new methods, assessing existing methods and working with online researchers. If you think you would like to contribute some time to the IAFMD, let us know and we can work together to create your role. You’ll learn a lot, meet nice people and have something special to add to your CV.

Farewell to IAF Nederland
Last week was the annual IAF Nederland conference, which was my last day as Chair person for IAF in the Netherlands. I thought it would be nice to share with you my farewell statement:

I am Maureen Jenkins. I am the Chairperson of IAF Netherlands. I would like ot welcome you to this conference. This is my last IAF Netherlands conference, because I am returning to the United States. I have worked with facilitation in the Netherlands since 1984, and I will miss it and I will miss you. Ever since 1984 there has been a changing group of Dutch people who wanted a platform for participatory decision-making and training. In the course of time that group has become IAF Netherlands, with not only Dutch language certification but also annual conferences, regional conferences and a newsletter. I am deeply grateful for the time that I have worked with you and with IAF Netherlands.

This move is a big step in my career. This big change in my life has brought to mind the roots of my professional life. When I was in university, there was a group called Students for a Democratic Society. In their first declaration in 1962, the Port Huron Statement, they said that they believed: “the individual [should] share in those decisions that determine the quality and direction of his life.” Back then, such a notion was really revolutionary, it even smacked of communism. Everyone knew that only experts, authorities, managers could or should make decisions. Certainly not ordinary people!

Ha, time changes everything, doesn’t it? In the intervening years that old SDS proposal has become ordinary, not revolutionary. “Of course everybody should participate”, we say. It’s obvious. But the question in 2011 is HOW? The question is how, without violence, without deadly competition over resources, without obliterating culture or forgetting the lessons of history? Through what processes, with what guidelines are people able to arrive together at healthy and effective decisions? We know everything about technology in 2011, but there remains a great deal to learn about making decisions together. And this is why I find IAF important, where people can come together to share the techniques, learnings and new directions about the HOW of decision-making.

Method of the Month
This month’s method is a simple and very adaptable way to allow either a new group to get acquinted or an existing group to get to know one another better. It’s taken from a fine little methods compendium by Brian Cole Millerfor the American Management Association called Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers.

Sweet Stories

To enable participants to learn more about one another and to learn to trust each other a little more.

Provide a large bag of coloured candy pieces. They can be wrapped in various colours, or else colour-coated like M&Ms. Adapt the storytelling colour code to the colours of the candies you have.
1. Have each participant take one candy – do not eat it yet!
2. After participants have their candies, post the colour code shown below so that participants can check what story they are to tell
3. Ask the group to take turns sharing with the group a story based on the following code:
• Blue candy: A time at work when you felt very proud
• Green candy: A boss you respected and why
• Yellow candy: A reason you are proud to belong to this organization
• Brown candy: an embarrassing moment at work
• Orange candy: A time at work when you failed
• Purple candy: A funny thing that happened to you at work
• Red candy: A time at work when you were scared
4. Eat the candy.
5. Reflection with the group:
• What are some things you have learned about one another in this reound of stories?
• How difficult (or easy) is it to share information about yourself with others?
• How can we continue to learn more about one another in our work together?
• What is one thing you are taking away from our discussion today?
Brian Cole Miller: Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers, New York, AMACOM, 2004
ISBN-10: 0-8144-7201-4

Last Month's Poll
Last month’s poll raised the question, How much would you (and your clients) be willing to pay for software support for a virtual workshop session?

The responses were:
Less than $50 for a session40%
Betweeen $50 and $100 for a session0%
More than $100 for a session0%
My clients would expect this service free, like Skype40%
I never do virtual workshops20%

Are there things you would like to know about the field of facilitation as practiced by your colleagues? You could find out if you sent us your suggestion for a poll!