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About Process Facilitation

Go Forth and Multiply the Good!

What is it?

Let’s say you were born with the gift of knowing how to drive but had never driven on the streets. Then the traffic policemen, who guide you, through the mean streets of Metro Manila with all their support systems and rules are ‘facilitating’ your process of you reaching from where you are to where you want to go.

Let’s say you are a lawyer and there are two different companies who want to pool in their strengths, resources and their value propositions as a single entity and you are helping them merge then you are ‘facilitating’ them through well-tested processes and processes you are competent in.

Or the best example is, say you are a couple who are pregnant with a new life forming between you two and then there is this kindly midwife who is there to set up things,  calm nerves, offer advice,  guide you through childbirth and then help breathe out a brand new and beautiful life into your world, this world. She then is your ‘process facilitator.’

All of the above three professions and thousands of others similar to the these three have a certain set of rules to follow, practices to perform and capabilities to master in their chosen field of facilitating. And they all generate synergies, resolve challenges and create fruitful results.

The threads that run commonly among professional facilitators are that they have no personal objectives in the world that they are helping bring about; they have no stake in the outcomes that are created. They are mostly external observers, guides and encouragers who help build the support system for you to go from where you are to where you want to go.

What are the essential qualities of a great facilitator?

One, a very high sense of spatial awareness loaded with kindness and compassion for fellow human beings because all process facilitation impacts the wellness and well-being of mankind.

Two, a desire to help others bring forth newness, progress, productivity, life and/or whatever good they desire to bring forth. There necessarily need not be any personal agenda for the facilitator in bringing about the intentions and objectives of their clients. Yes, ‘clients’ is a safe word to use because professional facilitators, often, need to be compensated for their efforts. They can bear not being compensated if what they are facilitating are their own advocacies.

Three, virtuoso facilitators need to be very good at their own game and they need to have all the little and big skill sets required of them to be useful and excellent at what they do.

Across the world there are individuals and organizations who help professionalize all sorts of facilitation practices and interventions in the industry. One of the biggest and the most respected organization is known as the International Association of Facilitators Worldwide and proudly for us, here in the Philippines, there is a brand new, national, chapter that has sprung forth called the International Association of Facilitators, Philippines, Inc.

In the last three years this group has held, more than twenty, extremely low-cost but high-impact learning sessions serving the needs of teachers, trainers, coaches, consultants, lawyers, social workers and even powerful business leaders. Their intention and vision is support, nurture, guide all sorts of conversations, across the seven thousand islands, which are generative, positive and life-giving. Their services and advocacy include not just learning and development but also community and country development. It may help organizations of all sorts to tap into the fountains of compassion and competencies that flow through this global professional body.

Come to think of it, if you envision synergistic growth or giving life to another entity would you not want an experienced, objective and a kindly midwife to help you guide you through the process? Well, okay not really a mid-wife “mid-wife” from days gone by but a well-trained, correctly certified medical professional.

Yes?

Okay, in that case let’s go forth and multiply the good. Let’s go from where we are to where we want to go with the help and guidance of a professional facilitator.

 

Raju Mandhyan

www.mandhyan.com

Inner Sun

Trust in Spades: How to Give, Gain and Build

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Trust: How to give, gain and build it over time has been a challenge that scores of leaders struggle with at work and in life. In a world filled with strife, struggle for survival and fear of the unknown trust is a rare commodity and the only currency that can procure us progressive, productive workplaces and, probably, a more peaceful world.

The perennial queries have been:

How much can I trust her?

Why should I trust him?

Are they a trustworthy kind?

How do I make them believe in me?

How do we sustain this relationship over time and changing circumstances?

Now, usually, the answers to many of our work-life challenges lie in intricacies of our languages. So, it helps to look at what exactly is the meaning and maybe the etymology of the word trust is.

By the dictionary, trust is a noun which means “a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something,” or trust is a verb which means “to believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” The key words stressed here are ability, reliability and strength. Likewise distant synonyms of the word trust are confidence, expectation and dependence.

Robert Kegan, in his book Immunity to Change, provides a workable formula to buy, build and grow trust in reflection and in response to the noun and the verb “trust.” Trust, he claims is the sum of an entity’s credibility, consistency and care for another entity and is inversely proportional to its’ own self-focus.

                                 ___CREDIBILITY + CONSISTENCY + CARE___

TRUST       =            ______________________________________

                                                                 SELF-FOCUS         

Credibility lies in your past performance but is depended upon today. It takes time to build and is built (Video) step by step. Everything you have done and are dong gets imprinted upon some memory and is tapped into again and again.

Consistency, across changing circumstances and times, is a matter of strategy, will and beliefs. As any manager or even a family head, you need to make efforts to become the person to go to. A certain amount of rock steadiness is needed of you to buy and build trust.

Care is the outcome of cognitive and affective empathy and compassion for others. We all have needs, weaknesses and thankfully, a consciousness too. As we all need care and compassion, a leader needs to make conscious, cognitive efforts to understand, feel and offer support to others.

The downside and the scary side of this denominator is that if all three elements are active and are performed with an objective to win brownie points or to serve an agenda other than the agenda of the person across you or an agenda that is not mutually beneficial than the trust equation collapses-drastically.

A few years ago while hosting an event I had the good fortune of spending a private moment with Tony Meloto, the founder and lead behind Gawad Kalinga of the Philippines. Gawad Kalinga, a very successful community building organization, is our version of Habitat for Humanity in the Philippines.

“Tony” I asked, “Gawad Kalinga is receiving so much funding and hundreds of volunteers are pouring in to help, do you not have security and trust issues with all these newcomers and walk in supporters?”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“Don’t you have pilferage, conflict, personality conflicts and trust issues?”

“Ah, I know what you are implying! I have a straightforward philosophy and an approach to it. When volunteers come in, we take them for their word and trust their intentions to be good. We load them with responsibilities right away___without doubt, without malice. And, all these years this approach has worked and I feel that is one of the secrets behind our success.”

“Hmmm, wow!”

“Yes, wow is right, we hand out trust in spades, right away, and usually get it back in wheelbarrows,” he smiled.

I was and still am ashamed to have been coming from a sense of lack but I am glad I asked that question that day.

The first step of the formula to gain trust, today for me, is to give trust to the credibility, the competencies and the compassion levels in all my partners and colleagues. It is to set aside all my doubts and biases and take people’s word for what they can do and what they state their goals to be. It is to approach people with a judgement of charity and graciousness. Yes, surely, people can let you down but if I start with assumption that they can let me down then I haven’t really started anything have I?

The second step to build and accumulate trust in myself, across time, from my partners and teams is really do well what I am responsible and for what I am qualified and appointed for. My job description could be general or specific but I must focus on becoming the person to go for those needs by my partners. I must follow this habit of making effort of being he best I can be with a long-term consistency. I cannot build a reputation or a resume by being efficient and productive sporadically, I must be consistent across changing circumstances and times.

The third habit, not just a step, is to approach people with compassion and kindness regardless of what our work-life scenarios and our backgrounds call. In the Philippines, we uphold a value called “kapwa tao.” This means to regard all people as human beings and kindred spirits and to do unto them as you would have them do unto you.

The fourth habit is to deliberately and diligently reflect upon why you think, say and do what you think, say and do. Reflect upon your agendas and your true purposes. Run your intentions through the test of fire. If your thoughts, words and actions benefit you more than they benefit others than the previous three steps will never gain you anything, ever. People study and measure your words and actions to assess your true intentions all the time and the only way to clean up your true intentions is to really and truly clean them up.

That is how to Give, Gain and Build Mountains of Trust for yourself and within your communities.

Video on Trust

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Power of the Pause

TIME AND MONEY!

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There are in the world only two currencies-time and money. Discussions and forums, worldwide, about money happen in abundance but there are very few discussions about “Time Literacy” and the intelligent and optimum usage of time.

Time and Money

Yes, surely, from an extreme philosophical perspective there is no such thing as time and it is an abstract, a “construct” of society. But here on earth and in the marketplace of life for achieving measurable, tangible successes time, always, is money.

And, just like money it must be earned, saved and employed for personal and organizational growth and development. Unfortunately, like money, it cannot be accumulated and re-used as an investment. Through the banks of time we only pass once and this once must be used intelligently and wisely.

Now there are hundreds of opinions on how to use time wisely and productively. The top seven best practices being:

  1. Plan The Day!

Have a plan per day, per annum, etc.,

Just like if you were to invest a million dollars into a project, you’d need a budget and a forecast of how that money will be utilized.

Plan and budget a given unit of time. It can be a day, a year or even a life-time.

In my personal point of view, it should be a life-time.

  1. Set Time Bound Goals.

Get crystal like clarity on what exactly needs to be achieved and focus and work at one project, one task at a time. The idea of multi-tasking has been debunked a hundred times in recent months. Clarity and focus gives you speed, momentum and success.

  1. Optimize Technology.

Don’t do by hand, what can be done by a machine unless of course the quality requirements call for organic and low-tech processes. Also do make sure that you don’t drown yourself into technology such that the machine becomes your master. Yes, put that smart phone down if you are picking it up just for the heck of it. Yes, put it down a hundred times a day, its dope, not technology.  As and when you do pick it use it like you’d use a razor_to get a job done.

  1. Eat the Frog!

Eat the frog, says Brian Tracy. If you keep putting aside a job, habitually, because it is hard, dirty, difficult to do or it calls for you to have a paradigm shift but your meta-intelligence and mind says it must be done because it will give a great leverage in the future then, by golly, do it.

Putting up and managing a personal website for me was a yucky, slimy, ugly-eyed frog. One day I put my foot down and swallowed the amphibian in one sitting.

  1. Just Say No!

Ayn Rand said there is a virtue in selfishness. And, yes I absolutely agree with her. Selfishness that is not mean, deceiving, greedy but selfishness that looks after me and the limited, finite amount of the treasure called time.

Take a class in healthy assertiveness and don’t commit yourself to things you cannot do, don’t want to do and do not fit into the big picture of your life, work and higher purpose. Say no to a couple of beers if you’d set that time aside for a jog. Go, jog first!

  1. For Heaven’s Sake, Delegate!

Here’s where you swap money for time. Here is where your accumulated money may buy you someone else’s time_psuedo-time.

And, here is the most important lesson that I wanted to share with you when I typed in the title of this article.

I repeat, there are only two currencies life and they are time and money. The quantity of time is finite but the quality of it can be worth billions if you learn to use it right. The quantity of money circulating in the world in all its forms is still limited and its value is directly proportional to how you use your time.

A wise old man once told me, “Raju, when you are young you chase money and when you age you chase time. Instead if you chose to mind and manage time better when you were young you’d ‘automagically’ be wealthy when you grow old.

Since that advise, I have been living out these seven tips that I, today, share with you. Hope you like them. They are inspired from the contents of my book, the HeART of the CLOSE.

  1. Fret Not Over Failure

Finally, should you fail at budgeting your time, setting the right goals, optimizing resources and making great choices in life then realize and recognize this that your idea of success is subjective. In your failure lays the wisdom to succeed at your next attempt.

Fretting over failure is like gunking up and, unconsciously, corroding the time that still lies is in your bank and stays available to you. There, that is the seventh tip_fretting is a gross waste of time. One needs to consistently get up and get going because lady time, she awaits you to live out your life’s purpose.

 

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My books also available on Amazon:            http://goo.gl/OZSMj8

Talks on You Tube:                                           https://goo.gl/dVclfm

Choice Clips from ExPat InSights :               https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjf3sHaZBSo

the Facilitator’s Way

Long ago I read a short story about how three mother birds brought forth into the world three baby birds.  When the first baby bird struggled to break out of her shell, mother bird rolled up her sleeves and went right to work for her baby. When the second baby bird struggled to break out of her shell, second mother bird leaned back against the tree and whistled a happy tune. And, when the third baby bird struggled then her mother bird pecked at the shell as and only when needed. Most other times she stood by and let the baby bird fight her own fight.

Graphic Facilitation for IAF, Philippines

Graphic Facilitation for IAF, Philippines

You have probably guessed the outcomes by now. First baby bird broke free but never flew. Second baby bird, poor dear, never made it out of the shell. And, the third baby bird grew up just right, became a productive citizen and a good daddy-bird in due time.

In the social and business world where our every breath, every word and every action needs to drive innovation and growth, our abilities to breed, manage and develop talent requires the mind-set and competencies of the third mother bird.  Take any business activity; brainstorming, idea-generation, problem-solving, strategy-forming, consensus-seeking, negotiations of all kinds, action-planning, performance analysis, training, mentoring coaching and even celebrating success requires our leaders to have the mind-set and the know how to bring out the best from individuals and communities. Those in the know call this the art of facilitating growth or, better still, the Facilitators Way.

Of course, beyond the mind-set and the natural competencies there are methods and processes to be learned and mastered. Thankfully for upcoming teachers, trainers, moderators, coaches, consultants, lawyers and other mediators a treasure-trove of these processes shared by leading facilitators and thought leaders at the International Association of Facilitators, worldwide.

The IAF Philippines, International Association of Facilitators Philippines’ represents IAF- World a professional body established to promote, support and advance the art and practice of facilitation through methods exchange, professional growth, practical research and collegial networking in the Philippines.

In the last one year of its inception we have run, at cost, four Learning Sessions sharing the skills of Graphic Facilitation, Story-telling, World-Café, Force-Field Analysis for more than 200 professional and want to’ be professional facilitators. On Saturday July, the 2nd, we will once again present and demonstrate the technology of Deep Democracy. Sign up at https://goo.gl/sX5f2q

Anyone who needs to learn professional facilitation is invited to learn, share, demonstrate and build a Philippines where all forms of interventions, innovations and development efforts take on a compassionate, professional and an elegantly inclusive edge. IAF Philippines, the Facilitators Way, is the way to become a good parent and a productive citizen of the world

Enterprising Young Musicians

It is true that the cognitive business skills for starting, running, and succeeding at a business venture can be gleaned from a book and learned from business schools. But there is no entity that can impart and equip an entrepreneurial candidate with what economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter rather romantically described back in 1912, as “the will to conquer, the dream and the will to found a private kingdom, and the joy of creating, of getting things done.”

Most successful entrepreneurs do discover and master the science behind, “the will to conquer, the dream and the will to found a private kingdom, and the joy of creating, of getting things done.” But, after suffering excruciating pain and paying an enormous price.

Read more

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli! I hate the sight of it. I hate it’s name. “Brocolli?” What is that? It sounds like some tropical disease. Like, “He’s got brocolli between his toes. She’s got brocolli in her armpits.  But then again, we do know its good for us. Its green and healthy for our insides and for our cancer fighting cells. And, some claim, it adds and multiplies brain cells.

Similarly, in my work-life there are things that I know that there are things we must do which will be good for us. Like learning to and keeping proper accounts. Learning to and keeping proper records and files of projects and programs. And, for professionals and small business owners like me, learning to build an active website and sustaining, nurturing it over time.

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli!

I knew this. I was told this, many a times, years ago by colleagues and friends in the industry and yet I kept thinking _assigning this to a professional or a professional team would be the smart thing to do. And, boy was I ever wrong! Nearly every other year, I’d look for to outsource this work and they’d come back and pick my brain, have me do the thinking, the brainstorming and making the website work for me and my business. ” At first I was doling out money in spades and getting aesthetically impressive returns. Then I tightened my fist and began to get function but no charm and no ease. All through, in the back of my head, I kept thinking…”I wish I was computer savvy. I wish I understood the internet as well as they do. I wish I were Generation X or Y or Z. I wish I weren’t a late-bloomimg baby boomer baby! Grrr!

Website building, maintenance and the world of internet marketing loomed over me like a huge clump of rotting brocolli.

Yet, a small voice kept telling me, “Go ahead, take a bite and start chewing. Go ahead, roll up and your sleeves, tie a nappy around your neck and dig in!

So, two week ago, I rolled up my sleeves, put a nappy around my neck, put on my reading glasses, plugged in the earphones and hauled my lap top closer to me and began clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, taking a power nap in between, and clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, listening until it began to make sense, until it began to take shape.

What you are browsing through right now is a still a rough draft, a skeleton of what is yet to come and grow. In essence, not only am I learning to eat my brocolli but I am also learning to plant, grow and make it flourish organically. That’s the way to go when it comes to learning and succeeding at something you consider hard and something that you figure you can set aside and a let divine intervention resolve it for you. No sirree! It doesn’t happen that way.

Can this same principle be applied for accounting, book-keeping and or maintaining records. Yes!
Nothing is more empowering and liberating than tackling any and all kinds of huge, ugly brocolli clouds that loom over you and slow you down. Hate that brocolli? Eat it first! It’s good for your soul;)

Inner Sun

An Unbalanced Life.

Most everyone is focused on living a balanced life. What exactly is a balanced life? Twenty fours divided equally between work, play, family, personal needs and service to the world? Or, is it stress at work, peace at home?