Critical Skills for Success…

I heard an excellent keynote presentation at the Central Indiana IIBA Business Analyst Development Day (INBADD) given by Carla Taylor of IDEAvize regarding “The Future of Work”. What I find fascinating is that the skills she listed as “critical skills for success” in the coming Collaboration Revolution of 2020 are the same skills I teach in my 5-day FoCuSeD™ Facilitator Academy class. These are facilitation skills that apply in business and in life.

Critical Skills for Success

Carla listed the following skills; let’s explore:

  • Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence
  • Connect In: Building your network / virtual team
  • Teambuilding and Trust
  • Communication Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Innovative Problem-solving
  • Collaborative Solutions

Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence

I teach creating self-awareness, which allows students to improve through awareness. When debriefing a student’s final facilitation case study, I first ask him or her, “What do you think?” I want the student to be aware of what he or she did and its impact on the group to reinforce the learning.

I discuss Emotional Intelligence (the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically) teaching “how to” deal with anger, give feedback, understand people and their motivations, understand the impact of diversity, and manage conflict. When facilitating, you also need to be aware, through observation and active listening, of the people, ensuring all participate. Note: Observation and Active Listening are critical skills for emotional intelligence.

Connect In: Building your network / virtual team

Developing a virtual team requires a different approach – unlike face-to-face communication, teambuilding is much more difficult: people communicate 55% through facial expression that you lose in virtual teams (even with video conferences, visibility is limited). With virtual teams, you also lose face-to-face small talk, which lays the foundation for co-workers to see each other as people, increasing trust. I teach “how to” facilitate effective and productive virtual workshops / meetings and the challenges virtual teams face. I cover building trust because without trust, there is no team. Note: Trust is critical for teambuilding to happen.

Teambuilding and Trust

This is a core skill for a Facilitator. I cover two models of how teams evolve and the key characteristics that make a team – trust being the foundational characteristic because it removes defensive barriers. Teambuilding is core to my FoCuSeD™ Holistic Facilitation Process Design – I don’t believe that teambuilding and the workshop/meeting process are separate – a group becomes a team only when everyone comes together for the greater whole –teamwork happens.

Communication Skills

This also is a core skill for a Facilitator. Knowing “how to” present yourself to enhance your communication skills ensures that, what is said, is heard and understood. I teach “how to” present yourself and clearly communicate your message and “how to” actively listen for effective comprehension through physical, tangible actions, and words.

Critical Thinking

I teach this as part of Active Listening. Critical Thinking is actively listening and feeding back – pulling together the fragments of the message into a whole to form a better understanding helping the people synthesize what has been said – often having significant impact on their ideas. Note: Your ability to synthesize grows with experience, as you are better able to pull together the fragments of the message into a whole.

Innovative Problem-Solving

I provide students with numerous tools to look at a situation, determine what needs to change, and what to do to change it. I include defined annotated processes to use to solve problems along with tools to help stimulate creative ideation. Note: To be innovative requires understanding that you need PTS (Permission To Suck) without judgment and knowing “how to” use tools, such as Brainstorming, Cognitivity, Creativity Breaks, etc., to stimulate ideation.

Collaborative Solutions

Consensus is essential to collaboration and I define “consensus” and “how to” guide a group to consensus. Collaboration is defined as, people working together to reach a common goal and it is important to understand that a group does not collaborate without a reason – they collaborate to accomplish something.


Leaders who have developed these skills are the ideal role of the “Servant Leader” – the Leader of the future. As we move towards an era when outsourcing is commonplace, co-creating, coworking, and the gig economy increases, the above skills become more critical. The ability to bring people together and accomplish good work in business and in life – facilitation skills – is a skill set that cannot be outsourced. Increasingly, these skills are being included as core competencies in many job roles because people develop better ideas that benefit the greater whole. These skills are the most important skills to develop in the 21st Century. gary rush facilitation

“The Facilitation Masters Conversation Series™” by Millie Rush – Conversation 1

I am pleased to announce our new video series showcasing thought Leaders in facilitation, business analysis, project management, and other areas where “Facilitation” makes an impact. We will be adding videos periodically – stay tuned.

“The Facilitation Masters Conversation Series™” Produced by: Millie Rush, MGRconsulting

Facilitation Masters

Ingrid Bens, IAF CPF     Gary Rush, IAF CPF    Michael Wilkinson, IAF CPF

Music – Chopin Etude Op 10 – performed by: Sean Rush, Pianist

“What is Group Facilitation and why is it important?”

This is the first of 4 conversations around Group Facilitation with Ingrid Bens, CPF, Gary Rush, CPF, and Michael Wilkinson, CPF.  The 4 conversations are:

  1. “Why is facilitation important and for whom?  Why do Leaders need it most of all?
  2. What are the 3 changes you have seen in facilitation since you began?  coming soon
  3. What separates great Facilitators from good ones?  coming soon
  4. What do you see for the future of Facilitators? Of facilitation?  coming soon

What is the goal of this video?

We want to get people to understand what “Group Facilitators” do and why it is a special skill that you learn through proper training. Like any job skill, Facilitation skills can be taught and learned. A Group Facilitator is far more than “one who makes easier.”

“What is Group Facilitation and why is it important?”

We believe that facilitation is a critical skill for the 21st Century. Group Facilitators should be in high demand – effectively facilitated workshops and meetings save organizations time, money, increases quality, and enhances communication creating a collaborative culture. Therefore we believe that every job should include a requirement for facilitation skills.

What we’d like you to take-away from this video is an understanding that facilitation skills is the one skill-set that cannot be outsourced and that effective Facilitators are highly effective Leaders who understand “how to” delegate, develop effective processes, bring people together as a team, and “how to” guide by letting go of their ego. We also want you to understand that Facilitator training needs to be taken seriously – it cannot be, “I learned on the job.”

We welcome your feedback and please share these with everyone in your network.

Central Indiana IIBA Business Analyst Development Day – INBADD

I attended the Central Indiana IIBA Business Analyst Development Day (INBADD) last week. It was very well done and met some great people. I presented in the morning discussing Facilitated Process Modeling – had 50 attendees and they all seemed to like it.

I described “how to” facilitate building process model with clients to enable Business Analysts to understand the use of Process Modeling along with the steps to build one in a facilitated workshop. The session was all about “how to” facilitate Process Modeling.

Topics includeed:

  • What is a Process Model?
  • How is it used?
  • How do you facilitate building a Process Model with Business Clients?.

Presentation Abstract

gary rush facilitator gary rush facilitator

Gary Rush, IAF CPF presenting FoCuSeD™ Facilitated Process Modeling at INBADD 2016.

Photos courtesy of John R. Durgin, CBAP, CSM, CSPO, MBA

FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills on-line class

FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitaiton Skills on-line class –

Coming Soon!

Trainer: Gary Rush, IAF CPF
gary rush facilitation training

I am pleased to announce our FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills online class. It covers the Essence of being a group Facilitator; “how to” prepare, execute, and close a workshop or meeting, along with support tools, Foundational Facilitator Skills and Communication Skills. This class will enable you to take back strategies for “how to” fit group facilitation skills into your job and begin facilitating.

This class is ideal for anyone who wants to develop group facilitation skills to supplement their job skills and enable collaboration, including:

  • Managers, Team Leaders, and Others – to run effective meetings.
  • Project Managers – to manage their teams and enable methods, such as Agile and DevOps, to be successful.
  • Business Analysts and Process Improvement Specialists – to enable effective requirements elicitation.
  • Facilitators, Counselors, Consultants, and HR Specialists – to effectively interview, accomplish tasks, and increase collaboration.

Class Abstract

This online class covers Group Facilitator Skills necessary to facilitate workshops / meetings:

  • What is Facilitation? What’s the history? When is it used?
  • What do Group Facilitators do? How does this fit with your job?
  • Presentation skills – conveying your message
  • Active Listening – communicating understanding, and comprehending
  • Questions – information gathering
  • Neutrality – staying focused on the process

Class Objectives

FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills on-line class is designed so that the students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of Facilitation and its history.
  • Describe how to initiate, run, and close a workshop.
  • Describe why and how to use group norms.
  • Describe the various roles and why each is important.
  • Describe the components of preparation.
  • Take back strategies for “how to” fit facilitation skills into their job.
  • Develop Active Listening skills for effective communication.
  • Gain insight to handle their fears in front of a group.
  • Let go of the “I”, the ego – the personal stake in the outcome.

Class Materials

Students receive:

  • PDF version of FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills by Gary Rush, IAF CPF
  • A class Certificate of Completion.

Class Outline

  • The Essence of Facilitation – Let’s get FoCuSeD™!
  • Facilitating People – Foundation
  • Communication Skills

Internet networking…

“The internet plays a big part in the life of a modern human being.  People rely on the internet for their education, trade, socialization and entertainment; among many other important aspects of human life.” —

However, it also facilitates false, misleading, fraudulent information — there is nothing that ensures that what is said or posted on a company website, blog, LinkedIn bio or business, Facebook, or other media is accurate or true.

My recommendation to you all is to go to the “International Association of Facilitators” – IAF website whether you are looking to hire a group Facilitator or a Facilitator trainer.  The IAF provides assurance that you are hiring a bonafide IAF CPF Facilitator without intention to deceive.  Gary Rush, IAF CPF, group Facilitator and Facilitator trainer since 1985, is a long time IAF member, IAF CPF Assessor, and former IAF Chair – I think we can say he is bonafide.

Specialties: Group Facilitation | Facilitator Training | Coaching | Leadership | Strategic Planning | Data Modeling | Team Building

Coming Soon! FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills – on-line class

FoCuSeD™ Introductory Facilitation Skills on-line class – coming soon. It covers the Essence of being a group Facilitator; “how to” prepare, execute, and close a workshop or meeting, along with support tools, Foundational Facilitator Skills and Communication Skills. This class will enable you to take back strategies for “how to” fit group facilitation skills into your job and begin facilitating.

Class Abstract

FoCuSeD Introductory Facilitation Skills

“How do I…?” Introduction

The How Do I…? facilitation introduction is a PET (Participant Engagement Tool) that effectively performs a public 360° review.  It is risky and you must first get permission from the people.  When done well and people are open to constructive feedback, it breaks down barriers.


This PET gives each person both the opportunity to find out how others perceive him or her and to tell others, in a constructive way, how he or she perceives them.  This is risky if the people are not open to feedback, but can be beneficial when they are.


  • To enable people to get to know each other.
  • To break down barriers to receive feedback to come together as a team.
  • To enable people to begin viewing each other as people rather than co-workers.

Do the following:

  • Ask for a volunteer.
  • The person comes up to the front of the room and asks, “How do I come across?  What are my strengths and weaknesses?”  Give the other people 15 minutes to respond.  Capture the responses on a flip chart.  Note: Do not allow the person in front to respond.
  • After 15 minutes, the person in front gets 5 minutes to respond.
  • Move on to the next volunteer.
  • After all have been briefed on the perceptions, debrief the group.

Debriefing Questions:

  • What did you learn about each other that you didn’t know before?
  • What surprises did you find?  Why?

Peter-Pauline Introduction – Get People to Know Each Other

The Peter-Pauline Facilitation Introduction is an effective PET (Participant Engagement Tool) to get people to know each other or when people are at odds with each other (they don’t get the other’s perspective) – it compels empathy.  It is also a fun way to begin the workshop or meeting on a positive note.  Note: This was orginally called “Peter Paul”, but people would ask, “Where’s Mary?”


This introduction PET enables people to get to know each other, break the ice, or to compel empathy thus reducing antagonism.  Note: This compels empathy because of the way the person introduces her or himself as the person that they interviewed.


  • To enable people to get to know each other by “standing in another’s shoes.”
  • To enable people to begin viewing each other as people rather than co-workers.

Do the following:

  • Identify Pairs:
    • Pair off the two antagonists – if that is the reason for the exercise.
    • Pair off people who do not know each other – if this is to get people to know each other.
  • Instruct them to interview each other for 10 minutes – 5 minutes each.  They are to interview for (Plan out what you want the people to interview for – this is important.):
    • name
    • department, job
    • background
    • major objective or concern
    • any other information that is appropriate (e.g., hobby, something about them that no one knows, school attended, etc.).
    • After 10 minutes, have them reconvene.
  • Ask each person to introduce him or herself as the person that they interviewed – in the first person, “My name is…”  Continue until everyone has introduced him or herself.

Debriefing Questions:

  • How did you feel introducing yourself as your partner?
  • How did you feel when your partner introduced him or herself as you?
  • What did you learn about each other that you didn’t know before?
  • What surprises did you find?  Why?