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March 2010

Two Essentials to Help Your Team Do More Great Work with special guest Michael Bungay Stanier -- Leadership TeleSeminar Recording

It will be no surprise to you that teams are a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, they're the most potent force within an organization.

Trying to make change happen just as an individual is difficult. No matter where you sit, you're always a small stone whose ripples on the pond quickly dissipate. And trying to change an organization in a single bound can feel like trying to boil the ocean. A study from the OD Network suggested that only 11% of large-scale change efforts had the impact desired.

Teams, like Goldilocks' baby bear, can be "just right". Small enough to be nimble, large enough to be a sustainable force for change.

On the other hand, teams are generally a mess.

Lack of clarity on where we're heading and why get further complicated by unspoken ripples of power. Most teams are anything but more than the sum of their parts.

Get the team right, and good things happen. (Google has people work entirely in project teams and they seem to be doing OK.)

So what does it take? No doubt you've got a rich toolkit of your own - that's how you come to be reading a blog post at the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators.

Let me offer you another process that may serve. It comes in two parts.

First, have your team talk about the Great Work you want to do. Great Work? The work that's meaningful, the work that inspires and challenges, the work that makes a difference.

Now, both as a team and as individuals you've got limited capacity to do more Great Work. You can't do it all, because you've got everything else you're responsible for. But you can do more than you're doing right now. As a team, define your Great Work Project for the next 90 days. Articulate what it is, what success would look like, what roles you might all play.

That's focus. But focus isn't enough.

You need courage as well. it's courage that will get you started, courage that will have you take the first step and then the next one, courage that will help you face the resistance that will arise.

So ask yourselves, as a team, how courageous will we be.

That can be a conversation around a table or in a pub after work. All good.

And here's a way to facilitate the conversation.

1. Lay out a strip of masking tape in a straight line on the floor. Make it about 10 foot long, longer if you've got a large team.

2. Tell the group that this strip represents a scale from 1 to 11, with 5 being about in the middle. It's your courage-o-meter.

3. Ask the team to stand at the midpoint - about a 5 on the scale. this represents a. Ask the team, if we were to do this project at a 5 on the courage scale, what would we do? (And what else? And what else?) What wouldn't we do? (And what else? And what else?)

4. Now take them down to the bottom end of the scale. At 'one' or 'two'. Ask them the same questions. (You'll most likely hear that there's not much you would do and a great deal you wouldn't.)

5. Now take them to 11. If you don't know that this is a homage to Spinal Tap, stop reading this immediately, rent that movie and watch it, then email me to say how grateful you are. This is the biggest boldest place. The "If you had no fear, what would you do?" place. The "I don't mind if it's a career-limiting move!" place. What would you do here?

6. Now ask them, chose as a team where we want to stand in terms of how courageous we'll be on this project. Give them time to settle. Get curious about what there and not somewhere else. Let this choice become firm.

7. Now you're primed for a discussion. What will we do? What won't we do? How will we slip, and how should we manage that? What support do we need? What else needs to change? Who's the point person for what?

Steve Jobs said this at a commencement speech in 2005:

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."

He's right. Do more Great Work. Don't settle.

Michael_bungay_stanier_1 Michael Bungay Stanier's new book is Do More Great Work: Stop the busywork and Do_more_great_work start the work that matters. As well as providing 15 practical, facilitator and coach-based exercise to find, start and sustain Great Work, it has guest contributions from people such as Seth Godin, Dave Ulrich and Leo Babauta.  Michael is the Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, a company that helps organizations do less Good Work and more Great Work. Michael is a Visiting Faculty Member at the IATF.

Watch the video clip below to learn what it means to Do More Great Work.

Questions Successful Teamwork Facilitators Ask with Tom Heck -- Leadership Skills TeleSeminar:

How do questions impact a team?

Questions have the power to:

  • Wake people up
  • Prompt new ideas
  • Build confidence
  • Create openings
  • Leverage strengths
  • Change team culture

QuestionsRecent research now points to the conclusion that the most successful leaders lead with questions.

Unfortunately, many team leaders are unaware of the power of questions - - unwittingly using them in a way that disempowers the team.  Questions are used to cast blame and manipulate.  The result?  Information is hoarded and team members become risk averse.

In this free IATF Leadership TeleSeminar you'll learn:

  1. The six hallmarks of a "Questioning Culture"
  2. The four reasons we have difficulty asking questions (and what to do about it)
  3. Three keys to asking empowering questions
This TeleSeminar is a special collaborative event between the Southeast Region Association of Experiential Education (SE AEE) and the IATF.



Questions Successful Teamwork Facilitators Ask


Tom Heck, IATF President & Founder


Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Starts at 1 pm Eastern (NY City time zone)
runs for 60-75 minutes


Come to the call ready to participate in small group discussions, share ideas and resources, ask questions, answer quick polls, and be fully engaged as we put the newest distance learning telephone conferencing technology to use!


This call was recorded and posted in the IATF Members Only Area.


CLICK HERE to register (it's free).  Registration is closed.

What would you do if you lost your job?

What do people who were once paid to be creative for a living do when they’re laid off? They get creative with their own lives.

Lemonade is an inspirational film about 16 advertising professionals who lost their jobs and found their calling, encouraging people to listen to that little voice inside their head that asks, “What if?”

If you lead creative people or are building a team of creative people, how best to lead them?  Find out HERE.

View a 2 minute preview of this inspirational documentary below.

CLICK HERE to watch the full movie for free HERE on

From Wimpy to Edgy: 10 observations to help you become a stronger teamwork coach

The most powerful way to build and lead teams is through a "Coach Approach".

Some mistakenly believe coaching is, by default, wimpy. Yes, there are a lot of wimpy coaches (leaders) however, one of the most common requests from team members is for a strong coach (strong leader).

But what does it mean to be "strong"?

The answer can be found by exploring the difference between "Wimpy" and "Edgy".

Leader Coaches can be experienced and highly skilled and STILL be wimpy. 

At the IATF, we prefer Leader Coaches who have "the Edge". 

I’ve never met a very successful Leader Coach who doesn’t have this Edge.

Andrea Lee has re-posted a great description of the Edge which was originally written by Thomas Leonard - - read it HERE

Learn how to become a Leader Coach with the Edge HERE.

"DRIVE - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" with best selling author Dan Pink -- Leadership TeleSeminar Recording

Motivation by Carrot & Stick

Most of us believe that the best way to motivate ourselves and others is with external rewards like money and threats (of losing money or a job, etc.) — it's motivation by carrot-and-stick.

Only one problem with the carrot-and-stick method of motivation.

It's completely outdated and no longer works.

Dan_pink_1That's what Dan Pink says in his provocative new book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. The secret to high performance and satisfaction—at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Dan exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life.

 Dan demonstrates that while carrots and sticks worked successfully in the twentieth century, that’s precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today’s  challenges.

Drive_coverIn DRIVE, Dan examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose—and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action. Along the way, he takes us to companies that are enlisting new approaches to motivation and introduces us to the scientists and entrepreneurs who are pointing a bold way forward.

Check out the 18-minute video [below] of Dan presenting at TED.  You'll gain some new insights for becoming a more effective team leader.

In this interactive TeleSeminar we'll explore the impact of these lessons on TEAMS.  You'll also get to ask Dan some questions yourself!

"Pink's ideas deserve a wide hearing. Corporate boards, in fact, could do well by kicking out their pay consultants for an hour and reading Pink's conclusions instead."
- Forbes

"Fascinating . . . If Pink's proselytizing helps persuade employers to make work more fulfilling, Drive will be a powerhouse."
- USA Today

Call Details


DRIVE - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us


Friday February 26, 2010


Starts at 1 pm Eastern (NY City time zone)
runs for 60-75 minutes


  • author Dan Pink
  • Tom Heck, President & Founder of the IATF


Come to the call ready to participate in small group discussions, share ideas and resources, ask questions, answer quick polls, and be fully engaged as we put the newest distance learning telephone conferencing technology to use!


This call was recorded and is archived in the IATF Members Only Area.


CLICK HERE to register.  It's free.  Registration is closed

How To Use Conflict Creatively in Teams with Karen Valencic -- Leadership TeleSeminar Recording

All conflict is bad and should be avoided at all cost.

That was a strong belief held by one organization I worked with.  They believed the presence of conflict was an indication of organizational weakness.

And as you might imagine, the organization was anything BUT strong.

Conflict is like fire: if used unconsciously destruction follows and if used wisely a team will prosper.

Challenge and conflict are particularly prevalent right now for people and organizations. Tight resources, rapidly changing technology, and multiple generations in the work place all add to the intensity. 

A delicate balance is required to use conflict creatively before it gets destructive.  Yet, innovation requires conflict and performance peaks when we are challenged. 

Now is the perfect time as a leader to learn how to foster and harness conflict.

Karen_valencic_3 Karen Valencic is an expert in conflict resolution; she works with teams to help them understand conflict and use it to collaborate and create.  Karen is the author of Spiral Impact -- The Power to Get It Done with Grace.  Her understanding of conflict stems from her many years studying Aikido, an absolutely amazing martial art [check out the video clip below showing Karen's master instructor].

In this interactive TeleSeminar you'll learn the following:

1. Why it is crucial to have conflict and be challenged.

2. What it takes to create with conflict.

3. How to implement these ideas with a team or group of people working together.

Karen Valencic is an IATF member and it is both our honor and pleasure to provide IATF members with a platform to share their wisdom with the worldwide IATF community.  This represents one of the many benefits of IATF membership.

View images used during this TeleSeminar.  Click on link below

Download Images used in Karen's TeleSeminar

Call Details


How To Use Conflict Creatively in Teams


Thursday February 18, 2010


Starts at 1 pm Eastern (NY City time zone)
runs for 60-75 minutes



Come to the call ready to participate in small group discussions, share ideas and resources, ask questions, answer quick polls, and be fully engaged as we put the newest distance learning telephone conferencing technology to use!


CLICK HERE to download the recording (75 minute mp3).  Recording is now archived in the IATF Members Only Area.


CLICK HERE to register.  It's free.  Registration is closed.

Teamwork & Leadership Lessons from the "No Pants Subway Ride" and other Improv Everywhere "missions" with Alex Scordelis -- Leadership TeleSeminar Recording

It was a GIANT teambuilding and leadership challenge...

On a cold Saturday in New York City, the world’s largest train station came to a sudden halt.

Over 200 Improv Everywhere Agents froze in place at the exact same second for five minutes in the Main Concourse of Grand Central Station.

Over 500,000 people rush through Grand Central every day, but on this day, things slowed down just a bit as commuters and tourists alike stopped to notice what was happening around them.  [watch the video clip below]

This "mission", as Improv Everywhere likes to call it, is just one example of how groups of people (many are strangers to each other) come together to create memorable and fun moments.

Improv Everywhere is, at its core, about having fun - - organized fun.  Their missions are a fun source of entertainment for the participants and those who happen to see them live.  Improv Everywhere brings excitement to otherwise unexciting locales and give strangers a story they can tell for the rest of their lives. 

Teamwork & Leadership Lessons

  Two of Improv Everywhere's key agents have authored a fun and memorable book entitled "Causing A Scene:  extraordinary pranks in ordinary places with Improv Everywhere" which describes some of the group's exploits.Causing-a-scene-extraordinary-pranks-in-ordinary-places-with-improv-everywhere


On Wednesday February 10, Alex Scordelis will visit the IATF community to Alex_scordelis share behind the scenes stories of their most famous pranks as well as lessons they've learned about successfully leading hundreds of volunteers during these pranks.



  • Learn what it's like to be in a creative space in an "open space" environment.
  • Discover how to harness the creativity and enthusiasm of your team.
  • Learn principles of improv comedy and how they can help your team work better together.

Call Details


Teamwork & Leadership Lessons from Improv Everywhere


Wednesday February 10, 2010


Starts at 1 pm Eastern (NY City time zone)
runs for 60-75 minutes


Alex Scordelis, senior agent with Improv Everywhere and coauthor of "Causing A Scene"

Tom Heck, President & Founder of the IATF


Come to the call ready to participate in small group discussions, share ideas and resources, ask questions, answer quick polls, and be fully engaged as we put the newest distance learning telephone conferencing technology to use!

This call was recorded and is archived in the IATF members only area.

For a limited time, this recording is available to all HERE.


CLICK HERE to register.  It's free.  Registration closed.

The Disposable Worker

Pay is falling, benefits are vanishing, and no one's job is secure. How companies are making the era of the temp more than temporary.

Business Week has a great article HERE about how companies are working with temps.

The forecast for the next five to 10 years: paltry pay gains, worsening working conditions, and little job security.

More jobs will be freelance and temporary, and even seemingly permanent positions will be at greater risk.

"When I hear people talk about temp vs. permanent jobs, I laugh," says Barry Asin, chief analyst at the Los Altos (Calif.) labor-analysis firm Staffing Industry Analysts. "The idea that any job is permanent has been well proven not to be true."

As Kelly Services (KELYA) CEO Carl Camden puts it: "We're all temps now."

Are you a manager or supervisor faced with leading a workforce made up partially or fully of temps?  If yes, then the best leadership "operating system" you can use is that of Leader As Coach.

6 step debriefing process from Thiagi

Thiagi offers up a great podcast on his 6-step debriefing process.  You can listen to the podcast HERE (approx. 30 minutes).  Listen to all the podcasts HERE.

Thiagi (Sivasailam Thiagarajan) is a leader in the field of training and development and he is a master of using interactive games.  Subscribe to his monthly newsletter HERE .  Thiagi's newsletter always has great information.

Seth Godin says "Control is a losing strategy"

Seth Godin says "Control is a losing strategy."
Is there any doubt that the world is going to go faster, not slower?

Any doubt that non-state actors are going to have more influence on world affairs than ever before?

Any doubt that technology will continue pushing us along a slippery slope where control is not a winning strategy?

Control might be the goal of a typical politician, but the future belongs to linchpins, individuals with leverage, people willing to make a difference and do work that matters.

Read the article HERE.

So if you're in agreement with Seth, then what IS the best way to lead?  How about as a Leader Coach?