Posts by Michael Barrett

How do you choose a workshop facilitator?

In the fragmented marketplace of workshop facilitators, it can be very hard to know who to choose to lead your team through the next “high stakes” discussion your organization needs right now.  

And make no mistake, it has a huge impact.

You want to make sure you’re not poised to throw away a bunch of money – or squander the opportunity to have this specific conversation with your team. You may only have one shot at this.

Choosing your next meeting / workshop facilitator

1. Look for professional certifications. 
There are two that define the current ‘body of knowledge’ in workshop facilitation. 
Find someone certified in one/both of these and your confidence should go WAY up that they’ve studied the craft and embrace a proven methodology.

“Certified Professional Facilitator” (CPF) from the IAF is a good entry level certification. There are hundreds world-wide, which narrows the search field quite a bit.

“Certified Master Facilitator” (CMF) from INIFAC is the clear “gold standard”. There are less than 2 dozen of these in the world. No kidding. In the world.

2. Ensure you’ve got great chemistry with whomever you choose. 
You’ll be working closely with them for several weeks or months at a time. 
Work with someone you can connect with.

You’ll be putting a lot on the line with them. 
Work with someone you can trust to help you meet your goals.

Net – Find someone you can feel VERY comfortable sharing all the stuff you’d like to see improved and someone you feel is CLEARY a proven expert in helping clients achieve those same ends.

If any of this resonates with you, please let me know. I’d love to chat. 

Every ‘master’ needs a light saber…

I had one of the most enjoyable experiences of my facilitation career this week and thought that this group of fellow Certified Master Facilitators in particular would appreciate it.  

I was facilitating a small (7 person) workshop over the last two days and during the introductions, my client said to me, “I’ve got a gift for you…”

He then shared the story of the conversation he had with his 6 year old son the night before, when he asked his dad what he was going to be doing the next day…

Dad: “I’m going to be in a workshop that will be led by a certified MASTER facilitator.” 
Son: “A MASTER???? REALLY???” 
Dad: “yep” 
Son: “Like a JEDI MASTER???” 
Dad: (beginning to chuckle) “I supposed so, yeah…” 
Son: “Do you think he has a light saber?” 
Dad: (really trying not to lose it at this point…) “I’m not sure, son…probably not…” 
Son: “Daddy, would you please give him one of mine? EVERY Jedi master needs a light saber”

At which time his dad, my client, presented me with the light saber you see attached.

At the end of the session, I told him that, in spite of how touched I was by the gesture, I REALLY didn’t want to take his son’s toy.

To which he replied…

“Michael, two things: 1) He really, really wants you to have it. He thinks that the whole “master” thing is just off the charts cool… And 2) we’ve got so many of these around the house I keep tripping over them. PLEASE take one!”

I can NOT stop smiling whenever I see it.

I am sure this will become part of my kit box going forward.

How could it not?

I hope you all have a great weekend.

And may the force be with you!

Watch The Water, Not The Rocks

On a recent “old guys reunion” boating trip, I was reminded of a lesson I learned years ago. As a novice kayaker facing a new set of rapids, I would focus on all the obstacles in the path: the big rocks, the “keeper” rapids, the tree branch lodged in the middle of the river. As I started into the flow, I would keep all these dangers in sight, so I could be sure to avoid them. Invariably, I’d wind up on, in, or under the very things I was trying to avoid.

One day, as I desperately tried to keep from bouncing off rocks and getting sucked under water, I saw a veteran kayaking friend easily surfing every wave, and even hamming it up to the crowd lined up along the banks of the river. When we met up at the bottom of the run, I asked with humility, “how in the world can you do that?”

His answer: “Once you know where the dangers are, watch the water, not the rocks”.

This concept was and is profound, and one I continue to use often in business:

– You move toward what you see and what you see is a function of what you choose to look at. 
– If you focus on the obstacles in your way, you will go toward them. 
– If you focus instead on the water flowing between the rocks, you hold your line and not only survive, but even enjoy the run.

Make no mistake. Then as now, the dangers ahead are very real; the obstacles in front of us are enormous; the margins for error are small. If you find yourself facing a set of business rapids you’ve never run (and who among us has ever run THIS river before?) consider his advice.

Now more than ever, it’s time to focus on the water, not the rocks.

If you know others for whom this might resonate, feel free to pass it along. If you’d like to chat about how to successfully navigate your course, we would love to help. Contact us today >>