Creative Edge Focusing E-Newsletter

Getting A Felt Sense  of Interpersonal Situations

Group Conflict Resolution Using Dynamic Facilitation vs. Collaborative Edge Decision Making                                                                    
Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director                                Week Three
For four weeks, we practice an actual exercise in three different categories: An Instant "Ahah!" to integrate into your every day life at work and at home, a Felt Sensing exercise to practice this step of Focusing, and a Complete Focusing Session. Actually doing the exercise which  arrives in each e-newsletter insures that you can call upon these new skills when needed!
I've decided that, since there is so much to learn about Interpersonal Focusing, I will spend another four week cycle on this topic. Week One e-newsletter covered Using A Third Person As A Listening Facilitator. Week Two reviewed Ken Blanchard and Margaret McBride's The One Minute Apology and offered an Intuitive Focusing exercise to help you begin a "One Minute Apology" if there is some mistake you have made festering and needing resolution (links are to e-newsletter archives for catch-up). 
If you haven't yet,  you can also click here for a blog link to a free download of my complete Chapter 5: Interpersonal Focusing from the manual, Focusing in Community (Focusing en Comunidad). Also, click here to find Interpersonal Focusing Case Studies at my website.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN GROUPS: Dynamic Facilitation (DF) and Collaborative Edge Decision Making (CEDM) as two models

DF and CEDM are two models which increase Listening and access to the Creative Edge, the "intuitive feel" of non-linear creativity in group decision making contexts. CEDM teaches rules and roles for efficient, time-limited task-oriented meetings in hierarchical as well as nonhierarchical organizations. DF introduces an outside Listening Facilitator, doesn't require participants to learn any skills, and can be especially helpful in dealing with huge, polarized conflicts.


Collaborative Edge Decision Making (CEDM)


In CEDM, Dr. McGuire's method for avoiding and also resolving interpersonal conflict during group decision making meetings, there are basic simple rules and norms which everyone can learn. They protect the quiet, uninterrupted space needed for individuals to access the Creative Edge, the "intuitive feel" of innovative thinking and creative problem solving. They also enable other group members to hear new possibilities for Win/Win solutions. The main rules are:


1.     "No Interruption" during speaking turns.

2.      Indicate wish for a turn by raising a finger.

3.      Maximum of three minutes per speaking turn

4.      Use of Focused Listening  before disagreeing

5.      Prioritized agenda with agreed time limits

6.     Use of "When The Going Gets Rough Procedures" during conflict or confusion, which can include:

a)     Silent Group Focusing followed by Round-Robin (no cross-talk sharing)

b)     Interpersonal Focusing between two people facilitated by a third-person Listener

c)     Break Out Groups for Round-Robin Sharing, Focusing Partnerships, or Interpersonal Focusing

d)     Traditional Brainstorming and other techniques


Leadership, or facilitation of meetings, is divided into several roles which can be rotated among group members, e.g., every group member can learn the skills involved in each role and can take active responsibility during group meetings.


Breaking leadership down into specific tasks also insures that all of these tasks get done, instead of one "leader" trying to keep tabs on everything at once. The "shared leadership" roles are:

  1. Agenda Keeper: keeps track of "content" of the meeting, keeps the group "on task"
  2. Process Monitor: keeps track of the "process" at meetings, how group members are treating each other in terms of turn-taking, not interrupting, LIstening Response. 
  3. Time-Keeper: makes sure that the group sticks to the time schedule for agenda items as well as timing individual speaking turns 
  4. Alternate Process Monitor: takes over if the actual Process Monitor becomes involved as a participant in discussion
  5. Recorder: records minutes of the meeting, especially including specifically asking the group if a decision has been made.

CEDM is especially effective for time-limited meetings among coworkers who meet together frequently, can learn and follow the rules and shared leadership roles, and need to move through an agenda or specific problem solving tasks, reaching decisions.


CEDM, with its Coordinated Collaboration model, adapts the best of collaborative problem solving within hierarchical decision making structures.


At the same time that CEDM looks for maximum collaborative input, Coordinators/Project Managers/Team Leaders/Executives can still take the collaborative information and make decisions as needed within the hierarchical goals of the organization.


Click here for Dr. McGuire's short-form "Collaborative Thinking How To's" which can introduce the model to all group members and here to download Dr. McGuire's full article, Collaborative Edge Decision Making (CEDM),  and, en espanol, both with actual handouts outlining rules and roles to be passed out at meetings.


Dynamic Facilitation  (DF)


Dynamic Facilitation, formulated by Jim Rough, is a method of conflict resolution that seems to be very compatible with the goals of CEDM. It also shares similar means for discovering innovative, win/win solutions: uninterrupted speaking turns with a Third Person Listening Facilitator as moderator. This allows speakers to tap into The Creative Edge, the "intuitive feel" of non-linear creative thinking and other group members to actually listen to what speakers are saying instead of interrupting and arguing.


However, DF is also very dissimilar from the structured CEDM model for efficient, time-limited meetings. DF is specifically designed for those times when rules and roles might get in the way. Because the DF Facilitator takes over the role of Active Listener, group members "do not have to learn any specific skills" and can "let it all hang out." DF can be especially useful in breaking log jams, resolving large, stuck, polarized situations, as well as for every day creative thinking. Here is the description at the Dynamic Facilitation Website, :

"Dynamic Facilitation is the essence of leadership, where one person helps others face difficult issues creatively and collaboratively and achieve unanimous, win/win solutions. It achieves this magic by eliciting a nonlinear, heartfelt, transformational quality of thinking called "choice-creating" - vs. "decision-making" or "problem-solving" or "creative problem-solving."

Dynamic Facilitation doesn't require that participants learn new steps or commit to certain behaviors. People can just be themselves. The dynamic facilitator works with each person's natural inclinations and genius, helping all come together with a better solution in faster time. The process builds trust and new levels of capability in each person. It's different than traditional forms of facilitation.

You can use Dynamic Facilitation in many different areas ... building teams, conflict resolution, transformational leadership, communication, education, personal transformation, community dialogue, innovation, trust-building, coaching, and especially for addressing big impossible-seeming issues. It opens new doors of possibility for large organizations, communities and even democracy through a new whole-system change process known as the "Wisdom Council". The Wisdom Council process is now being used to involve and empower employees, citizens, conference participants, and members of organizations in many parts of the world."

Rosa Zubizarreta, Certified Focusing Professional, at , is combining her knowledge of DF with her knowledge of Focusing and Listening and Gendlin's theoretical model and offering training in DF. Her website is rich with readings and even manuals for using DF in groups.

In a world full of conflict and need for creative problem solving and decision making at the group level, it is wise to welcome as many models as possible for incorporating Intuitive Focusing and Listening into models for collaborative thinking.


Spend your time learning as much as you can about DF at and .

Also study Dr. McGuire's Collaborative Edge Decision Making model from the links above. Click here for Dr. McGuire's short-form "Collaborative Thinking How To's" which can introduce the model to all group members and here to download Dr. McGuire's full article, Collaborative Edge Decision Making (CEDM),  and, en espanol, both with actual handouts outlining rules and roles to be passed out at meetings.

Spend some Focusing time just sitting with your "intuitive sense" of these two models, their similarities and differences, their possibilities of application in different group situations you are involved in.

Take any action steps you can to implement one or both models in groups you are involved in.

Two Yahoo E-Groups, Creative Edge Practice and Creative Edge Collaboration, for Ongoing Support and Learning
Self-Help Package, CDs, DVD, manual English and espanol
Experiential Focusing Therapy manual
Certification Programs: Consultant/Helping Professional : Now with option of Structured Level 1-4 Listening/Focusing Training With Ruth Hirsch followed by 10 supervision sessions with Dr. McGuire. Contact Dr. McGuire for information on this NEW option
About Creative Edge Focusing (TM) 
Mission: bring Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, and The Creative Edge Pyramid of applications from individual to interpersonal to organizational, to all audiences throughout the world.
Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director
Location: Beaver Lake in Rogers, AR
These materials are offered purely as self-help skills. In providing them, Dr. McGuire is not engaged in rendering psychological, financial, legal, or other professional services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.
Creative Edge Focusing (TM)
Dr. Kathy McGuire