|Publisher:||Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company|
What People are Saying About This
This book was written for those of us who find ourselves in situations where superior performance and "getting the best from people" is a minimum requirement for success. It provides its reader a systemically productive "pathway" in, around, and through the task and issues of leadership as it relates to the expert facilitation of Creative Problem Solving (CPS).
A unique book that brings a transdisciplinary view (a view in which each discipline changes due to its interaction with other disciplines) of facilitation, leadership, creativity, and problem solving. It is a book of "knowledge" if you will of the "processes" of facilitative leadership (not to be confused with a facilitative style of leadership, although, one is subsumed within the other).
Folks, this book just kept getting better and better to the point I was overwhelmed! In the first three chapters, the authors deal with some of the foundational issues relating to effective CPS facilitation, including: linking creativity and problem solving; a developmental history of CPS; the insightful PricewaterhouseCoopers Innovation Survey 1998; a model for CPS facilitation; and a developmental skill base associated with effective CPS facilitators. If the book was to stop there, it would already be worth its price, but it gets better.
Chapter 4, Setting the Stage for CPS, begins the transition from "foundational and developmental information" (learning) into CPS application. In this chapter, Ken McCluskey provides some wonderfully "implicit" issues and insights all of us should be reflecting on before we apply CPS (e.g., issue of self serving bias, groupthink, etc.). To help us do that, Ken has provided us with numerousexercises that can be used for personal or group experiences.
In Chapter 5, Managing Clients and Resource Groups, and Chapter 6, Encouraging Teamwork in CPS Groups, Scott Isaksen digs deeper into the interactive social roles of client and resource group members presented in the "Model for CPS Facilitation" in Chapter 3. He presents that having a powerful process and a clearly defined problem is not enough for a successful output; success also depends on having an "effective client;" and success is also affected by certain characteristics of the resource group (if needed). A model for how groups develop and the stages that they move through is also provided. Reviewers note: Want to improve your "facilitative leadership" skills? Learn, understand, and use this model.
In Chapter 6, Scott continues to provide the reader with useful knowledge concerning characteristics that promote teamwork, "trip wires" to watch for when managing groups, and insights for developing goal structures.
In Chapter 7, Exploring Group Dynamics, some of the core factors which effect group performance that need to be managed by a facilitator during a meeting are presented. Not only are factors described, but a set of questions that will provide the facilitative leader insights about group effectiveness are also provided. In the latter part of the chapter, nine dimensions (based on the current version of the Situational Outlook Questionnaire), found to effect individual, team, and organizational productivity, are described individually and in the context of a CPS session.
Planning for the Unexpected is the title for Chapter 8. This chapter provides the reader with insights learned in the field dealing with many of the challenges and curves professional facilitators experience when conducting CPS sessions. Suggestions, introspective questions and different levels of intervention which facilitators can use to identify and overcome challenges are described. Some guidelines around professional practice, using assessments, and providing services to others are also presented.
Chapter 9, Guiding the Experiential Learning of CPS is dedicated to the use of experiential learning. A four stage model for facilitating an experiential learning activity is presented and followed by a description and actions that one can take in each of the four stages when engaging people in a "learning-by-doing" experience. An iterative model for learning and applying CPS along with an appendix which includes examples of "debriefing" and "developing" formats and questions are also provided. If you have ever wondered how certain trainers get so much out of an exercise, this chapter will give you another great reason to buy this book.
Well I told you it just kept getting better and Chapter 10, Making a Difference with CPS: A Summary of the Evidence by Scott Isaksen and Luc De Schryver has well exceeded my greatest expectation for a conclusion to this "book of knowledge." Folks, this chapter is what we (and anyone who has had to try and justify "creativity" or CPS in their organization) all have been waiting for in the creativity literature. In this chapter, the authors have compiled nearly 700 citations and resources (books, journals, journal articles, research articles, courses offered, networking information, etc.) which help to provide overwhelming evidence "...that training, teaching, learning, and applying CPS is worthwhile." This does not include the nearly 500 references located at the end of each of the chapters!
In conclusion, Facilitative Leadership: Making a difference with creative problem solving is an absolute must buy for anyone who has, does, or will facilitate a problem-solving session. I believe this book will have a profound effect on even the most professional and experienced facilitators. The reason? The entire book comes from the hearts and the heads of its writers. Few authors would share "their knowledge from the field." This book will "make a difference" in, around and through the concept and activity of facilitative leadership. Lastly, I will step well over the line here and thank in advance, for those of us who read this book, all of the authors who have contributed to this book. I personally (and publicly) want to thank Scott Isaksen, the consummate educator, for having the passion, the wisdom, and the vision, to lay it all out on the line, without hesitation nor reserve, to put together a book of "knowledge," that can help all of us help others make this a better world in which to live! (Glenn Wilson, President of CEO Consultants)