Aligning behind change for International Facilitation Week

What does it take for people to align behind change?
It’s International Facilitation Week! I began the week yesterday by hosting the latest of my free facilitation webinars “What does it take for people to align behind change?” and the latest of IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London, a social & networking evening at Kings Cross. A recording of the webinar is below with links to futher details and other outputs.

iaf_logo_ifw2015_rgb-01International Facilitation Week takes place each year during the month of October. Its purpose is to showcase the power of facilitation to both new and existing audiences and to create a sense of community among facilitators and their groups worldwide. Since its launch in 2013 the week has become a spark that ignites activities around the world to highlight the benefits of facilitation, the gifts of facilitators and the comradeship of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF).

To participate yourself in International Facilitation Week, simply follow and use the #FacWeek hashtag on twitter or other social media, and use it and the IAF global event listing to find and join an event near you or online.

This Saturday 22 October in central Birmingham I shall be hosting IAF’s first all-England & Wales, all-day free facilitation MeetUp – all with an interest in facilitation are welcome, IAF members & non-members alike.  RSVP now to join us there for networking & learning with other facilitators, and to help to celebrate & promote the power of facilitation worldwide!

In this session we explored what it takes for people to align behind change. This is the question that brought together 69 facilitation, communications and change management professionals over two one-hour twitter chats last October during International Facilitation Week 2015.

I was joined for this session by Michael Ambjorn, immediate past Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and one of my London-based co-hosts for the twitter chats; and again by Sunny Walker of the Virtual Facilitation Collaborative.

We invited you to share some of your own experience and insights on what can be done to help people to align together to make change happen. We shared six top tips and tools that were shared during the twitter chats, and how the 4-level ‘ORID’ model of ICA’s ToP Focused Conversation method was applied to structure the process. We shared examples of practical application including how over 1,000 IABC leaders were engaged, aligned and activated to extend the organisation’s reach and deepen its impact.

A particular aim for the session, as for the twitter chats, was to bring together facilitation, communications and change professionals, and all those with an interest in these fields, to connect with and learn from each other and to make connections and foster broader collaboration between our associations and between our professions.

Session materials & additional resources shared include:


Register soon on Eventbrite for the next webinar, and register your interests now on Surveymonkey.

For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

Free facilitation webinar – What does it take for people to align behind change?

Are you interested to learn more about facilitation, and ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP) methodology in particular – in a free, one-hour, interactive online session that offers an experience of virtual facilitation as well? Please join me for my new series of free facilitation webinars!

Register now on Eventbrite for the next session on October 17 (postponed from August 15) and register your interest on Surveymonkey for future dates & times and topics to be scheduled. To review past session recordings and other outputs, and for provisional future dates & times and suggested topics, see free facilitation webinars.


2 300x600What does it take for people to align behind change?

Monday 17 October, 13.00 BST 

In this session we shall explore what it takes for people to align behind change. This is the question that brought together 69 facilitation, communications and change management professionals over two one-hour twitter chats last October during International Facilitation Week 2015.

I shall be joined for this session by Michael Ambjorn, immediate past Chair of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and one of my London-based co-hosts for the twitter chats; and again by Sunny Walker of the Virtual Facilitation Collaborative.

We will invite you to share some of your own experience and insights on what can be done to help people to align together to make change happen. We will share six top tips and tools that were shared during the twitter chats, and how the 4-level ‘ORID’ model of ICA’s ToP Focused Conversation method was applied to structure the process. We will share examples of practical application including how over 1,000 IABC leaders were engaged, aligned and activated to extend the organisation’s reach and deepen its impact.

A particular aim for the session, as for the twitter chats, is to bring together facilitation, communications and change professionals, and all those with an interest in these fields, to connect with and learn from each other and to make connections and foster broader collaboration between our associations and between our professions.

Feel free to tweet with the hashtag #FacWeekChat!


Each session in this series of free facilitation webinars will be hosted in Adobe Connect for a highly interactive learning experience.

Each topic will be addressed by a short case study or other presentation, supplemented by links to further online material for later reference. Sessions will apply tools and techniques of virtual facilitation to help participants to engage with the material and the presenter, and with their own and each other’s experience on the topic. A short technical orientation directly before the session will introduce the features of the virtual meeting room and the tools to be used. A brief closing reflection at the end of the session will invite reflection and learning on the facilitation process and virtual tools as well as on the content of the session.

For full voice participation in the session for a more conversational experience, microphone rights will be available to up to 15 participants who are first to login and set up their audio. Others will be able to listen and interact via their keyboard alone.


Register now on Eventbrite, and register your interests on Surveymonkey.

For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.

What does it take for people to align behind change? Six top tips & tools from #FacWeekchat

#FacWeekChat 2015This is the question that brought together 69 facilitation, communications and change management professionals over two one-hour twitter chats on October 23, during International Facilitation Week. In this post I’ll share six top tips and some of the tools that were shared in response.

The twitter chats were co-hosted by Michael Ambjorn of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Faith Forster of the Change Management Institute (CMI) and myself for the International Association of Facilitators (IAF). Our aims were to bring people together to connect with and learn from each other on a topic of mutual interest, and also to make connections and foster broader collaboration between our associations and between our professions.

Participants were located as far afield as Canada, USA, Serbia, UK and India. Our experience of change included local and international work with large and small organisations in a variety of sectors and industries including health, education, IT, faith and international aid & development.

So what did we learn? What does it take for people to align behind change?

1. The context must be conducive. People align behind change “when external pressures have made the need for change evident”.  “The facilitator as midwife can only help a client that is already pregnant”!

2. High level vision and goals, and ideally values as well, must be clear and shared. Alignment happens when there is “a clear purpose… before a decision on what to do, a focus on energy & momentum for change”.

3. There must be inclusive and authentic participation. “Holistic participation in co-creating vision is the key to create buy in”.  “Co-design, co-creation, collaboration”. “Convene all with a stake in change”. “Everyone wants change, but no-one wants to be changed”.  Alignment does not happen “when when people forget that changes requires the involvement of others” or “when change is imposed from above without proper consultation or facilitation”.

4. Humility, patience and deep listening is required. “Be honest and transparent about the challenges that will be faced, otherwise when failure happens you lose people’s trust”. “Take time, constant process checks, take time, listen, take time, acknowledge resistance (did I mention take time?)”. “Come to terms with the antibodies in the system and talk candidly about them”. “The disruptive power of good listening skills”. “Pay as much attention to the intangibles amongst people as to what is explicitly being said”.

5. Be open to what needs to emerge, while remaining focused on the vision. “Start with possibilities rather than a project plan” and “be aware of groups emerging needs… [allow] the group synergy to flow”.  Alignment did not happen “when people didn’t respond to emerging needs, and when personal issues took precidence over common vison”.

6. Nevertheless, leadership must also be be clear, decisive and inspiring.  “Be a leader that makes tough decisions. The notion of change is disruptive, but strong leadership can mitigate people risk”. Make a “powerful invitation, expressed openly with integrity”. “Discussions about change are so often are negative, ie. about failure – we need to inspire people, enable them”.

What tools and techniques can help?

Favoured approaches to addressing the challenges of aligment and change included the Art of Hosting/Art of Participatory Leadership, Organisational Development, Quality Management, Coaching and Mediation, Graphic Facilitation (especially in multilingual contexts), the work of Perry Timms on ‘hacking adaptable organisations’ and of course ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP).

Some of the particular tools referenced were Story Boarding and Lead with a Story, My Goals My Action Steps, Power/Interest Matrix, RASCI, Ladder of inference, CSITO’s Constellation Collaboration model and the ToP Focused Conversation method.

What can we learn from each other?

What can communications and change management professionals learn from facilitation? “If you want to bring people with you you have to involve others, and facilitation is a great way to do that”. Facilitation “can help transform communications ‘from cascade to conversation'” – “communicators can learn from facilitators about how to structure conversations once people are engaged”. “Change management can get caught up in project management processes – facilitation keeps the focus on what is important”. “At a simple level, facilitation can help managers learn to run more productive and enjoyable meetings”.

What can facilitators learn from communications and change management? How “to get people ‘in the room’ for facilitation, to engage all those who will never be ‘in the room’… and to communicate the results”.  Also “good use of data gathering tools”, “ways to measure/evaluate the outcomes of their facilitation work” and how to “draw out stories as they relate to the task at hand, and use these stories for sense making”.

We could all benefit from each other’s professional standards and competency models – IAF’s Facilitation Core Competencies, IABC’s communications Global Standard andCMI’s Change Management Foundation & Master Competencies.

For more of what we shared, including links to many of the examples and tools referred to, see the edited highlights on Storify or find all 707 tweets at #FacWeekchat on Twitter.

Please add your own thoughts in a comment below, or of course on Twitter with the hashtag #FacWeekchat!


For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining my free facilitation webinars online, and IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.

IAF Brussels facilitators & friends meet up, 20 October

IAF_Logo_IFW2015_RGBAre you interested in meeting up in Brussels with other facilitators and others interested in facilitation, for informal networking & sharing – and to join in celebrating and promoting the power of facilitation during International Facilitation Week, 19-15 October?

Join me and IAF Belgium members from 5-7pm on Tuesday 20 October in central Brussels. Members and non-members of IAF (International Association of Facilitators) are equally welcome. The meetup will be free and informal.

Please RVSP on the doodle poll to indicate if you can join us and to see who else is coming, and contact me or add a comment to the poll if you can host us at your place or suggest a suitable central place to meet, or if you are interested in future meetups. Be sure to leave your email address if I may not not have it.  I shall confirm the venue on the doodle poll for those attending.

This is the first time for such a gathering in recent years, so the emphasis will be on getting to know each other and exploring interests and possibilities for future networking, learning and collaboration.  I shall be there to share the experience of the IAF London facilitators and friends meetup group, now in its third year of regular monthly gatherings. Your experience and suggestions are invited, for this first gathering and for the future.

I have been involved with ICA in Belgium for many years, and I have been delivering ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP) facilitation training in Brussels two or three time a year in recent years, from my base in London – my next Brussels courses are Group Facilitation Methods & Action Planning, November 17-18 & 19.

My experience suggests to me that there is a great opportunity to further promote facilitation and IAF in Brussels, at least – I am less familiar with Belgium as a whole. I am hoping to be able to refer participants on my Brussels courses to a local group, perhaps a future chapter of the IAF EMENA region, where they can network and learn with others and perhaps find other opportunities for mutual support and collaboration.

How do you see as the opportunities for networking with other facilitators in Belgium?

If you can’t join us in Brussels, please join us on twitter with the hashtags #FacWeek and #IAFMeetUp!

IAF launches the International Facilitators’ Hall of Fame

IAF Hall of FameIt is an honour indeed to find myself among such distinguished company inducted today, during International Facilitation Week, into the IAFInternational Facilitators’ Hall of Fame”. There are certainly many other facilitators around the world who are equally or more deserving of such an accolade, so I thank IAF for this wonderful recognition and I thank all of them as well for their own contributions to our profession and to our association. I am proud to contribute what I can to both.

The full text of the IAF press release is below, and here to download in pdf – IAF Hall of Fame Press Release.


International Association of Facilitators

Date: October 22, 2014

The International Association of Facilitators is pleased to announce the induction of the following people into the International Facilitators’ Hall of Fame:

  • Nadine Bell (USA)
  • Gilbert Brenson-Lazan (Latin Am & Caribbean)
  • Ann Epps (Asia)
  • Martin Gilbraith (Europe, Middle East & North Africa)
  • Jo Nelson (Canada)
  • Theresa Ratnam-Thong (Asia)
  • Keith Ryall (Oceania)
  • Dr. Sandor Schuman (USA)
  • Bill Staples (Canada)
  • Dr. Tom Schwarz (Oceania)

The Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who: have contributed to our field of practice; have made ‘significant contributions’ to the field of facilitation through publication, promotion, etc.; and who have shown a high level of dedication and service to the international professional association. The individuals named above have been nominated and received unanimous agreement from the IAF Board of Directors as being worthy of this, our Association’s, highest distinction. The bios for each of this year’s inductees are attached.

The International Association of Facilitators is a professional association that sets internationally accepted industry standards, provides accreditation, supports a community of practice, advocates and educates on the power of facilitation and embraces the diversity of facilitators and methods of facilitation around the world. It’s mission is to grow the community of practice for all those who facilitate, establish internationally accepted professional standards, build credibility and promote the value of facilitation around the world.

IAF 20 year celebrationThis is the IAF’s 20th anniversary providing internationally recognized professional certification, professional development, peer networking and advancement of the art and science of facilitation. IAF members are committed to the IAF values and code of ethics providing impartial facilitation so that all voices and ideas are heard and considered.

Contact: Julie Larsen, Director of Communications, communications@iaf-world.org or: Kimberly Bain, Chair, chair@iaf-world.org.


BACKGROUNDER:

Nadine Bell CPF (US)

Nadine (Plavnick) BellNadine Bell, CPF, is a founding member of IAF, a past Board member and an assessor. Nadine has served on the Board of Directors as Chair elect in 1997; as Chair in 1998; as Past Chair in 1999; as Co-Chair of Professional Development in 2000; and, as Co-chair of the IAF Conference in Texas in 2002. Nadine also contributed to the IAF Handbook as an author. Nadine has been an important and driving figure in the US Region for many years. Nadine has attended almost all North American IAF conferences as well as many IAF conferences in Europe and Southeast Asia. Nadine is an experienced facilitator, trained mediator and mentor trainer of the Technology of Participation Group Facilitation Methods, Nadine is the only facilitator to hold the Certified Professional Facilitator, Certified Master Facilitator and Certified ToP Facilitator designations and she has assessed facilitator candidates for all three certifications globally..

Gilbert Brenson-Lazan (LAC)

Gilbert Brenson-LazanGilbert Brenson-Lazan, has been a driving force in the Latin American and Caribbean facilitation community for many years. Gilbert has served on the Board of Directors as both Regional Director and Vice-Chair International, hosts an important facilitation blog in Latin America and was Co-Chair of the first IAF Conference in Latin America with over 600 attendees from 19 countries. Gilbert is a Founding Member, Past President and Member of the Advisory Board of the Global Facilitator Service Corp (GFSC) and developed and applied the basic model used for psychosocial intervention in disasters recognized around the world.

Ann Epps CPF (Asia)

Ann (Stanley) Epps, MA, IAF CPFAnn Epps, CPF, is a founding member of IAF, served on the Board of Directors as the Director of Conferences and is a CPF assessor. Having served on the planning committee for ten of the early IAF Asia conferences, Ann has also attended many IAFNA and Europe conferences and most of the IAF Asia conferences. Ann is a mentor trainer in the Technology of the Participation methods and divides her time training and
facilitating between Southeast Asia and the US. Ann and her husband John are regular presenters at conferences and are tireless supporters of IAF.

Martin Gilbraith CPF (Europe MENA)

Martin GilbraithMartin Gilbraith, CPF, is the most recent past Chair of IAF. Previously he served on the Board as IAF Vice Chair and as IAF Europe Director. Martin has served IAF in many ways, he hosts Facilitation Daily and a widely subscribed facilitation blog, and he manages the @FacWeek twitter account and co-hosts the IAF Twitter Chats during IFW. Martin is an independent facilitator, trainer and consultant based in London, UK. He currently serves as President of the Institute of Cultural Affairs International (ICAI) and is an Associate and former Chief Executive of ICA:UK. He has been facilitating and training, specialising in ICA’s ToP facilitation methodology, since 1986.

Jo Nelson CPF (Canada)

Jo NelsonJo Nelson, CPF, CTF, is a founding member of IAF, a sustaining member and a past Board member who has served as both Secretary and Chair of the Board. Jo has served on numerous committees including the Professional Development Task Force and most recently chaired the working group that developed the training endorsement strategy and program. Jo also facilitated the development of the IAF competencies. Jo has attended every IAFNA conference since their inception and continues to promote IAF in everything she does. Jo has published many particles and one book on facilitation. Jo also is recipient of a Gold Facilitation Impact Award.

Theresa Ratnam Thong CPF (Asia)

Theresa Ratnam ThongTheresa Ratnam Thong, is the first Malaysian Certified Professional Facilitator and is an Assessor and a past Board member, serving as Vice-Chair International from 2007 – 2008 and again from 2001 – 2003. Theresa has organized IAF conferences in the Asia Region and has been an important member of the Asian facilitation community. Theresa has been active in the Local Government of her locality and was Lead Facilitator for the Women@Work Summit, the Malaysia Water Forum under the auspices of the Global Water Partnership. She was also selected to be part of the Facilitation Team consisting of 25 Global Facilitators to facilitate at the World Summit on Sustainable development held in South Africa and was also invited to be part of the Generative Dialogue Project, a global initiative in New York.

Keith Ryall CPF (Oceania)

Keith RyallKeith Ryall, CPF, is an assessor, a past Board member (Regional Director for Oceania) and a sustaining member. Keith worked very hard to increase IAF’s Oceania and much of the growth there today is based on the solid foundations set up by Keith over the years. Since 2009, Keith has been heavily involved with introducing the magic of Process Facilitation to Rotary International and specifically to Strategic Planning Workshops for Australian Rotary Clubs and other Not for Profits. Keith is a regular presence at IAF conferences around the world and a great promoter of IAF and our profession.

Dr. Sandor Schuman (US)

Sandor SchumanSandy Schuman is a sustaining member. He edited the IAF Journal, Group Facilitation (1997–2007) and IAF Handbook Series (2003-2011), co-founded and moderated the IAF email discussion list, grp-facl (1994-2008), and co-chaired the Ethics and Values Think Tank, which created the Statement of Values and Code of Ethics for Group Facilitators (2000-2004). He was a member of the Research and Publications Task Force (1996-2001),the Board of Directors (2000-2001) and was the primary researcher of the 1996-1997 Survey of Group Facilitators. Sandy has worked hard to promote the profession through mainstream and academic literature. He continues to present professional development workshops at IAF conferences and regional meetings. His most recent blog post, You know you’re a group facilitator if …, is his most popular.

Bill Staples CPF (Canada)

Bill StaplesBill Staples, CPF, is a founding member and has been the publisher of the IAF Journal since 2001. Bill was chair of the IAF 2000 Conference Toronto with 1100 participants. He was on the Association Coordinating Team from 1999 to 2005 and was the IAF Global Conference Team chair from 2002-05. Bill is also a Certified ToP Facilitator and has published articles and books on facilitation, working hard to increase the profile of the association and the profession.

Dr. Tom Schwarz CPF (Oceania)

Tom Schwarz CPFTom Schwarz, CPF, if a past member of the Board of Directors, was Director of Oceania Region and is a CPF Assessor. Tom was the first facilitator in the Oceania Region to be awarded the CPF designation. Tom has been a fixture at IAF conferences around the world and often presents at PD events in Asia and Oceania. Tom has published articles on the power of facilitation and regularly advocates for and promotes our profession.

Celebrate International Facilitation Week 2014 by joining #FacWeekchat on twitter!

International Facilitation Week 2013As part of International Facilitation Week 2014, I will be hosting Twitter chats with IAF colleague Ben Ziegler, as we did last year.  This year’s chats will be on October 22 and October 23.  Please join us!

Just like last year, each chat will run from 12-1pm New York / 5-6pm London time – follow these links to see world times for Oct 22 & Oct 23.   Each chat will include 6-8 questions, spaced out throughout the hour, for you to answer, comment on, comment on other people’s answers, ask questions, etc.

A twitter chat is basically a dialogue, a conversation between people on twitter with a shared interest, discussing the topic at hand. Twitter chats are a great way to connect, share, learn, and have fun, with a community of practice; ie: facilitators!  The many tweets of a twitter chat are followed by using a common hashtag. For our chats we will use the same hashtag as last year, #FacWeekChat.

IAF 20 year celebrationThe topic for the two chats this year will be facilitation history, concluding a six-month collaborative process undertaken to celebrate the 20th anniversary this year of the International Association of Facilitators – see How has facilitation developed over time, and where might it be heading?  On October 22 we will reflect on the history of facilitation to date, and October 23 we will look ahead at what the future may hold.

Before the chat, please take a look if you can at some of the events and resources that have been shared since April with the #FacHistory hashtag – you can find edited highlights compiled  on Storify.  Please also add more of your own!  Simply tweet using the hashtag #FacHistory, or share and discuss on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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A bit about Twitter chats.

New to Twitter, and/or Twitter (aka Tweet) chats?  This article, How to Participate in a Tweet Chat, by Janet Fouts (@jfouts), helps explain things.

We hope to have you join us on Wedensday October 22 and Thursday October 23! 

Please tweet to invite all your twitter friends. Got questions that can’t wait? Contact either of us via Twitter – @benziegler or @martingilbraith

What else will you be doing to celebrate? Please let us know (tweet #FacWeek or @FacWeek), and so connect and join with facilitators worldwide in promoting the power of facilitation!

Celebrating the development of facilitation – world-wide and history long

IAF 20 year logo 500facweek logoAs the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, join us in celebrating the power of facilitation by exploring, sharing and reflecting together on its history worldwide – past, present and future. 

We are inviting facilitators everywhere – and everyone with an interest in facilitation, professional and otherwise – to join together in a six-month collaborative process to develop our collective story of facilitation, culminating during International Facilitation Week 20-26 October 2014.  Our aim is to strike a balance between honouring the past, celebrating the present, and envisioning the future – and to learn and have some fun together in the process!

We invite you to share key events & milestones in the history of facilitation, from your perspective and in your experience, and links and resources on how facilitation has developed and where it might be heading – share and discuss online at Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (hashtag #FacHistory), and participate face-to-face as well!  Facilitated workshop sessions and other opportunities to share and reflect together will be held at each of IAF’s global conferences this year (April 9-12 in Orlando, 14-16 August in Singapore and 3-5 October in Moscow), and we encourage IAF chapters and other local groups to hold their own events as well – in the run up to International Facilitation Week and/or during the week itself.  Follow @FacWeek and #FacHistory on twitter for the latest.

The six-month process will be modelled on the Technology of Participation (ToP) Historical Scan method (or ‘Wall of Wonder) – a powerful tool to enable a group to share and learn from their varied perspectives of a journey through history, to review the past in order to prepare for the future.  We will build on ideas shared during such a session at the 2007 IAF Europe conference in Edinburgh “Reviewing the past to prepare for the future: demonstrating the ToP Historical Scan method to discern a shared image of the past & future journey of the facilitation profession”, and a subsequent article Reflections on the history of professional process facilitation by Richard Chapman published by IAF Europe & AMED in 2011 – and of course the history of IAF.

Questions we might use to reflect and learn together on the story emerging from the shared events, milestones, links and resources could include:

* Which are/were most exciting or encouraging for you (and which less so)?
* Which are/were most influential for you, in your experience or from your perspective? How?
* Which indicate the power of faciliation to impact positively – on people, on communities, on organisations, on societies?
* What trends can you discern over time, or across geography?
* Where can you discern turning points, as between chapters in history?
* How would you name the chapters? How would you name the history as a whole?

During International Facilitation Week itself, as well as any other local or online events, there will be a couple of #FacWeekChat twitter chats to reflect together on what has been shared and a the results will be published all together online as a storify.

Please join us now by following and sharing your events & milestones, and links & resources, at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter (hashtag #FacHistory)!