Favorite Books

The following listed books are always handy by my workspace. I refer to these books more often than any others when designing customized facilitation plans and when testing my thinking when creating training materials.

“The Art of Focused Conversations” The Canadian Institute of Cultural Affairs

The most dog- eared book I own. This book saves me time by allowing me to quickly and pointedly prepare for a conversation. I have used this for a conversation with one individual and for facilitated sessions with large groups. I love the structure that the ORID methodology offers and the book contains 100 conversations that can be used as is or modified to fit a specific situation.

“The Secrets of Facilitation” Michael Wilkinson

My admiration for Michael is tall and friendship special. Without a doubt Chapter 2 of this book, The Secrets of Questioning, is the most used chapter of any resource book close to my desk. Think about it; ask better questions and you get better answers. Asking questions is an art and Michael transforms the art into a process. I love process, and this book has it. This book is an all around good guide for facilitating work sessions from preparing for a session to closing and documenting.

“Facilitation at a Glance!” Ingrid Bens

Your Pocket Guide to Facilitation. I carry this book in my briefcase. Really, I never leave home without it. I use this for work session preparation as well as during the course of a session, when the facilitation plan needs adjusting. This pocket guide explains tools and techniques. For example; you can find a step-by-step process for brainstorming and it also answers questions like, “What is anonymous brainstorming?”, “How does anonymous brainstorming work?”, as well as gives examples of meeting diagnostic surveys and systematic problem solving worksheets. When I coached internal facilitation teams, I used to put one of these pocket guides in the new facilitator’s tool kits.

“Facilitating Uphill” Ingrid Bens

Although not always easy, as a facilitator we know disruptive or dysfunctional behavior in a work session cannot and should not be ignored. Another of Ingrid’s easy to use books, this one addresses how and when to intervene and gives some easy to understand examples of disruptive behavior, along with an explanation of why the behavior could be happening, how to intervene and common facilitator pitfalls. I use this book when preparing for a session. I may uncover some issues from the sponsor interview and the pre-session participant interviews that lead me to try to design out dysfunctional behavior. Also, inevitably from time to time I run into situations in a session that I reflect upon and wish I would have handled differently. This book helps me think through how to avoid repeat situations.

“Quick Team-Building Activities for Busy Managers” Brian Cole Miller

This book contains 50 exercises that get results in just 15 minutes. This is a handy reference with step by step instructions for selecting, preparing for, and leading an activity.

“SWITCH” Chip Heath & Dan Heath

How to Change things when change is hard. Time and time again, I use this process and some of the compelling stories of change to assist leadership teams with their approach to change.

“The FIVE Dysfunctions of a Team” Patrick Lencioni

A Leadership Fable. If you are and have been new to a leadership team, leading it or one among it, this is a good guide book. I found it an easy read, easy to identify with the situations and understand the solutions recommended. I use this as a quick reference for how to move towards high performance teams.

“The Certified Quality Manager Handbook, Second Addition” Okes & Westcott

This book includes the body of knowledge that one must demonstrate to become a Certified Quality Manager. I find that this body of knowledge serves me well when working on customized facilitation plans and facilitating work sessions. The range of information is vast, including developing key performance metrics, linkage of strategic initiatives and critical success factors, to process flows, process improvement, value analysis, cost of quality, and much more.

“Designing Organizations for High Performance” David P. Hanna

The second most dog- eared book I own, and probably the oldest reference book I use on a regular basis. I was introduced and studied extensively High Performance Organization Design back in the 1980s when self-directed work teams were an emerging practice. In the 1990s I fought the “teams don’t work” mantra, knowing that most companies were not willing to make the long term investment, they were really looking for the quick fix. I still use this book as a handy reference for designing organizational assessments, assessing process capabilities and root cause analysis, and annual planning renewal of vision, values, and core competencies.

“Problem Solving and Decision Making” Kepner Tregoe

It’s true; I carry the pocket guides with me wherever I go. Working with groups, we know that issues can become emotional situations. I prefer to use data to focus a group and drive decision making. KT offers structure, step-by-step process and questions to focus a group. To the degree that a decision is very complicated like selecting a multi-million dollar solution; equipment, technology, vendor contract, etc., KT offers process where multiple individuals can have a voice and the group can still quickly move to consensus,

“Criteria for Performance Excellence” Baldrige National Quality Program

Having been a Georgia Oglethorpe (state level quality award) senior examiner and customer process advocate, I know the criteria for performance excellence inside and out. I always use it as a frame of reference for designing strategic planning and chartering new teams and businesses sessions.

Peryam and Associates is on a mission to improve the effectiveness of leaders and teams through the use of facilitation practices. Founder, Susan Peryam is a Certified Professional Facilitator with the International Association of Facilitators. Working with an IAF Certified Professional Facilitator provides assurance that the facilitator has met the internationally recognized standard for effective facilitation of group processes. The facilitator has demonstrated Core Competencies, representing a fundamental set of skills, knowledge, and behaviors that support effective facilitation in a wide variety of contexts. She is one of only 48 IAF CPF assessors world-wide, and one of a handful of assessment process managers.

Peryam and Associates network includes a select cadre of Certified Professional Facilitators (CPF) from around the globe. Our facilitators work in all sectors with businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies – large and small.

In 2017, Peryam and Associates celebrated 10 years providing facilitation services.

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