Barbara MacKay

Decision Making Authority: When You Have It and When You Don’t

If you search on the phrase “ladder of decision making” on the internet, you find some great graphics.  The graphic overview handout we provide you today (free download link is below) is only one version. You can find ones that apply to schools, citizen involvement, leaders in a corporate setting and so on.  Our version…

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People Who Talk Too Much in Meetings – Respectfully Dealing with Dominance

When I looked up the phrase “dominant behavior”  on the internet, I found a lot of articles on  dominance in animals – the alpha male phenomenon etc.  In fact, one definition of dominant behaviour said it was “initially established by fighting, threatening displays or interchanges. AND, once established, usually maintained by competitive behaviours…” I realized quickly…

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We Are a Community! Keys to Thriving as a Facilitator

Today, I’m going to blog about community. I’ve been surrounded by community for the last few weeks. It has come up in conversations I’ve had with colleagues. Even in the course we taught last week, there was a sense that the group needed to create a community of facilitators to practice with and share lessons…

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Seven Facilitator Tips to Make Your Training MUCH More Engaging

You have your training plan ready and you realize you want it to be more engaging. Typical training is about passing on learning and content, in small or large blocks. It provides theory, information, and ideally activities to help retain the information. But the emphasis is on a hierarchical model where the trainer is the…

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Facilitating When Senior Leaders Are in the Meeting

We’ve all been in meetings where our direct boss is attending or there are very senior leaders in the room. That’s a real facilitator dilemma. You the facilitator should have full control of the group, but you may not feel you can do this with senior leaders in the room. This is a common question…

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Treat Your Groups to 6 Energizers From Our Menu

Here are a few really cool meeting energizers from colleagues whom I deeply respect or whose processes I have used and found to work extremely well. Please read also our earlier blog on why I normally disapprove of energizers just to energize or have fun!  These energizers are relevant, fun and produce an outcome. The…

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Finding the Silver Lining… for that Facilitated Event Gone Wrong!

What do you do when you have a facilitated an event that has gone badly? It might just be one moment in the whole event that you keep dwelling on after the fact. You realize you made a mistake. And you don’t exactly know what you could’ve done differently. This blog is about many stories…

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Becoming a ToP Facilitation Trainer and Other Questions About ToP Methods

Recently we ran a Technology of Participation (ToP) training for a school district. It was really wonderful to work with principals, consultants and department staff together on an issue of importance to them. We were asked a few questions about Technology of Participation training. This blog answers a few general questions they asked plus tells…

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Finding Your Passion – Two Intuitive Tools to Launch Your 2019 Plan

This blog will focus on two intuitive tools to assist you in thinking about your big picture planning for 2019.  These are great tools to use with yourself, coaching others, and facilitating any groups who would benefit from having a clear vision and purpose. The first is a brand new one that our son, Gabriel,…

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Facilitation Methods vs. Tools: Making Your Facilitator Journey Easier

Today, at risk of repeating ourselves, we are going to talk a bit more about your journey as a facilitator. It is an amazing journey, a “hero’s journey” (mythologist and author Joseph Campbell came up with this term) of sorts. Each one of us will have a different journey, depending especially if we start it…

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