developing leaders, teams and organizations

Our organizational development services focus in three key areas of success:  building strong leaders, building strong teams, and designing programs, projects, and services that use the most modern research and innovative techniques to achieve goals that surpass the usual outcomes in your field of focus.  Lasting change happens when people change both their beliefs and their actions.  We focus on the development of solid and shared principles, help groups design and implement innovative strategies, and then help them organize all their resources for success.  

We offer the following services: Download all as PDF

HOPE AT WORK: Building Positive, Resilient Organizations

Teams can get temporarily stronger during team-building retreats, but teams stay strong through the use of… tell me more…

OUR DOOR IS OPEN: Creating Welcoming Cultures in Helping Organizations

Creating a welcoming culture in any group requires a focus in four distinct areas… tell me more…

ONE-DAY LID-LIFTERS

This high-energy, focused, and outcome-based session is designed to “lift the lid” off an organizational problem or program development issue, look inside… tell me more…

RECOVERY-ORIENTED LEADERSHIP

The principles of “recovery” are used by a wide variety of mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence organizations as the primary tool for helping their customers become empowered and regain a healthy life in their community. This intensive and paradigm-shifting seminar asks a fundamental question… tell me more…

LEADERSHIP COACHING AND STRATEGIZING

Oftentimes thought of as the “ones who are supposed to know,” strong leaders recognize the need for reflective time to think things through. Successful leaders also know that building a collaborative organization, contrary to popular practices, does not… tell me more…

OPEN SPACE FORUMS

We provide planning and facilitation for Open Space Forums, a simple but elegant format for “issue-oriented” medium- to large-size group meetings and conferences… tell me more…

INNOVATION AND PILOT MODEL DEVELOPMENT

We work with leaders and teams to develop pilot projects that are designed to both inform and transform larger organizations and systems. Wise leaders know that it’s often prudent to… tell me more…


HOPE AT WORK: Building Positive, Resilient Organizations
Teams can get temporarily stronger during team-building retreats, but teams stay strong through the use of carefully designed activities integrated into the ongoing work life of the group. These “ritualized” activities form a foundation of resilience that keeps the work team hopeful, inspired, productive, and communicating in ways that build a positive helping environment. Research shows that helping professionals spend very little time in activities which maintain the health of the team—most work time is spent on serving the customer. Research also clearly demonstrates that unless the individual employee has access to activities which build internal resilience, co-worker relationships, continuing clarification of tasks, and opportunity for mutual problem solving, there will be decreased productivity and quality of service, burnout, and high rates of turnover. This training will focus on the three critical areas for building a hopeful and resilient work culture: 1) Understanding the sources of both individual and organizational toxicity that undermine hope and resilience, 2) Understanding the theory of hope and resilience and how they relate to each other, and 3) Building a systemic group of activities within the workgroup that build hope and resilience. Within each of these areas, we will offer assessment tools, structures for culture change, and samples of activities which will build hope and resilience.

For: Any size group who wants to create a more hopeful, positive workplace.

Suggested Time: One Day

Core Competencies:
1. Identify definitions and differences between hope and optimism.
2. Identify differences between individual and group resilience.
3. Identify the organizational conditions for hope and hopelessness.
4. Identify the four domains for organizational resilience.
5. Assess current activities in each domain.
6. Identify typical resistance to healthy rituals and strategies to overcome.
7. Assess their group’s current developmental needs in each domain.
8. Identify typical activities used to strengthen hope in each domain.


OUR DOOR IS OPEN: Creating Welcoming Cultures in Helping Organizations
Creating a welcoming culture in any group requires a focus in four distinct areas. First, continuing to learn how to help people find places in the community where they are valued. Second, carefully evaluating how well we welcome and create a positive experience for people when they show up on our doorsteps asking for help. Third, our connections and collaboration with other civic, faith, and social service organizations. And fourth, how well we work together and welcome the unique contributions of each of our employees. Research shows that employees will not be more welcoming to customers than they feel welcome within their own organization, so this area is critical to making substantial improvements in overall welcoming capacity in an organization. During this training, we will describe in detail how to build a welcoming culture in any social service program. Part One includes an overview of welcoming philosophy and it’s ties to social services, cultural competence, and community development. Part Two includes an opportunity for employees and advocates to evaluate the current condition of the organization in the four welcoming focus areas described above. Part Three provides the time and structure to create a specific action plan which will be put into motion when participants walk out the door.

For: Any group who wants to create a more welcoming culture for customers and employees.

Suggested Time: 1 day

Core Competencies:
1. Can describe the four primary links between welcoming, community development and social-service practices.
2. Define the word welcoming. 3. Understands how concepts of initiation and exiles relates to creating welcoming culture.
4. Understand the four focus areas for developing a welcoming organization.
5. Complete Creating Welcoming Places Inventory for their group or organization.
6. Can identify at least four individual and group improvements in welcoming capacity.


ONE-DAY LID-LIFTERS
This high-energy, focused, and outcome-based session is designed to “lift the lid” off an organizational problem or program development issue, look inside to correctly analyze the roots of the issue, develop multiple strategies, make choices, and develop plans that everyone can support and implement. It can be used with a small team or an entire organization for any kind of issue. Our approach begins by advising you about who to invite to maximize your outcomes, and listening carefully to understand the current situation. Then we will manage the diversity of opinions, conflicts, and talents in the room while working towards a creative outcome. During the session, we build participants’ skills by introducing them to three advanced solution-finding techniques they can use in the future, and providing ongoing feedback about problem-solving styles. You will not leave the room without a solid plan.

For: Any group with an issue, authority to make decisions, and the desire to solve it

Suggested Time: 1 day


RECOVERY-ORIENTED LEADERSHIP
The principles of “recovery” are used by a wide variety of mental health, substance abuse, and domestic violence organizations as the primary tool for helping their customers become empowered and regain a healthy life in their community. This intensive and paradigm-shifting seminar asks a fundamental question: What would happen if we applied those very same principles of Recovery to our own organization? Through the use of dialogue, cutting-edge organizational-assessment tools, and action planning, participants evaluate and make plans for bringing their organization into alignment with the Recovery principles of increased hope, community engagement, proper use of authority, and healing. Outcomes for the seminar include increased leadership understanding and commitment to Recovery values and principles, and practical plans for using the principles of Recovery to create hope, commitment, and action in your organization. This seminar was co-created and is delivered jointly by Community Activators and the Village, an award-winning program of the Mental Health Association of Los Angeles.

For: Executives, mid-managers, team leaders, and advocates within helping organizations

Suggested Time: 1.5 days


LEADERSHIP COACHING AND STRATEGIZING
Oftentimes thought of as the “ones who are supposed to know,” strong leaders recognize the need for reflective time to think things through. Successful leaders also know that building a collaborative organization, contrary to popular practices, does not require working everything out with everybody all the time. We provide a structured process in your work environment to help you carefully reflect on and make decisions around critical issues. Topics can range from improving your leadership style, program development strategies for your organization, employee team-building issues, and overall visioning. Leaders may bring up to four different issues to the session. Using Strategic Questioning and advanced solution-finding techniques, we will help you to correctly frame the issue, identify how your current skills and weaknesses are affecting the issue, develop measurable and sustainable outcomes and goals, and clarify decisions about next steps. During the initial orientation, we will help you to frame measurable outcomes for success during the session. When requested, as part of this session, we will conduct a Core Gift interview with the leader to identify his/her primary gift and talents and the way they are affecting this situation. At your discretion, you may include other leaders of your choice for part or all of the session.

For: Executives, mid-managers, and team leaders in any kind of organization

Suggested Time: 1 day


OPEN SPACE FORUMS
We provide planning and facilitation for Open Space Forums, a simple but elegant format for “issue-oriented” medium- to large-size group meetings and conferences. Used by innovators across all different kinds of businesses and civic groups, it was developed by Harrison Owen, a highly respected “out of the box” thinker and organizational development consultant. Open space can be used with groups as small as 25 and as large as 300. The process involves a simple mechanism for groups to develop key questions related to further understanding of a central issue and then organize themselves into time- limited focused discussion groups to develop key points of understanding and solution. One of the distinguishing features of the format is that participants are assured the opportunity to address the specific issues they came to the meeting/conference to learn about. A large-schedule grid is created on the wall, called the “Market Place,” which allows participants to know which topics are being discussed at any given time, so they can roam between groups to collect ideas and keep their interest maximized. Open Space can be used during a 3-hour portion of a meeting, or as the entire content for a 1–3 day conference.

For: Any group desiring focused discussion using a participant-designed and empowered process

Suggested Time: 4 hours to 3 days


INNOVATION AND PILOT MODEL DEVELOPMENT
We work with leaders and teams to develop pilot projects that are designed to both inform and transform larger organizations and systems. Wise leaders know that it’s often prudent to start innovation at a small scale and then expand it after it has proved successful and many of the bugs are worked out. There are four parts to any pilot or model development: 1) principles that will be used to guide the activities, 2) strategies that will be used to reach successful outcomes, 3) the organizational structure (people, space, equipment, money) that will be used, and 4) How success will be measured. We guide groups through all four phases for any size of project, and provide ongoing creative technical assistance as the project gets up and running.

For: Any kind of organization

Suggested Time: Varies according to size of project and assistance requested

rules we live by :
#10: There’s a slow road and toll road. The slow road – INCREMENTAL CHANGE – gets you more of what you’ve got, just slightly better or faster. Leaders should encourage incremental change, but not use it as the fundamental model for organizational direction. The toll road – EXPONENTIAL CHANGE – can quickly result in large shifts in quality, enthusiasm, and hope. It is the wise leader’s model for change. But be prepared to pay the toll – someone, often the person or group you least expect, will eagerly try to punish you for taking that road. Welcome to leadership.
our customers say :
“They challenged our presumptions an jarred our worldview so we could see something fresh and new… there was very honest feedback.”

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