We make it easy for you to think through and act upon necessary strategic directions and plans to get you moving forward. We strengthen and build the needed capacity to successfully act on your strategies and collaborations.
STRATEGIC THINKING & ACTING is all about moving from the current state, as good or challenging as it is, through a transition state to a desired organizational state.
ORGANIZATIONAL WISDOM is the synergistic melding of data, assets, information, knowledge, intelligence, values and experience, fueled by learning.
Effective MEASUREMENT is critical to all improvement, "change in direction", and transformation strategies. Measurement shows progress and improvement. Without measurement there is no certainty that goals are being met.
& INNOVATION is all about taking a reflective stance to develop one-self, one's organization and one's community and then acting on it to maintain relevance.
Leadership is always about leaning into the future emerging story. It is only future-oriented. You never lead into the past.
Leading from the Emerging Story: Traveling the "U"
We offer a relational and “Theory U”-based leadership coaching practice that serves as a trusted partner with leaders within and across sectors to address—coaching authentic leadership, creating new strategy, shifting culture, building collective impact coalitions, creating a future that is distinct from the past while honoring it. The hallmark of our work is in creating the conditions for the right answers to emerge from within, supported by research and practice, rather than imposing externally generated solutions.
Our leadership coaching is particularly suited to Reflective Practitioners – team leaders, executives, pastors, managers, government officials, and community organizers who are committed to practical results and not satisfied with current capabilities to rest on past habits; “pragmatic, engaged people who are open to challenging their own assumptions and listening to their deepest inner voice.” (Peter Senge, Forward to Theory U)
We travel the “U” with you for the entire journey capitalizing on personal experience, readings from multiple sectors and sources, journaling, and personal and group circles of conversation. It is a process that becomes a foundational platform for transformational personal and team leadership.
Leadership is a unique personal journey – it must be meaningful and authentic for those of us with leadership responsibility. At the same time, it is not a solo, heroic role – today’s leaders need strong skills in listening, reflection and collaboration. This leadership framework provides for the adoption of a range of multi-disciplinary perspectives in new ways, to encourage fresh insights, renew energy and sharpen skills for practical action. It assumes that sustainable, healthy leadership stems from ordinary people who have the courage and resilience to tap deep into themselves and harness the strengths of others in extraordinary ways.
For in a good, a moral, a lasting society, the public good must always rest on private virtue. Every leading group must be able to claim that the public good determines its own interest. This assertion is the only legitimate basis for leadership; to make it a reality is the first duty of leaders.
- Peter Drucker (The Daily Drucker, 23 January)
From a conversation between David Cooperrider (the father of Appreciative Inquiry) and Peter Drucker (the father of modern management):
“Peter, you have written more on management thought and change leadership than anyone in history. Is there one lesson you can share, something everyone should know?”
“Yes, and it is ageless in its essence: the task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths in ways that make a system’s weaknesses irrelevant.”
The success of a desired change depends on the interior condition of the leader facilitating the change.
Said another way: “The success of our actions as change-makers does not depend on what we do or how we do it, but on the inner place from which we operate” (Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer). The quality of results produced by any system depends on the quality of awareness from which people in the system operate. The formula for a successful change process is not “form follows function,” but “form follows consciousness.” We cannot transform the behavior of systems unless we are willing to be transformed, both individually and collectively.
STRATEGIC THINKING and ACTING
Living into the Future
(The Journeys of Systematic Change)
We facilitate the key capability of strategic thinking and acting by accompanying you systematically on a journey of transformation – moving your organization from its current state to a future desired state.
To journey from the current state into the Transition State we begin with organizational specific assessments normally followed by an event of several days.
Moving into and through the Transition State we help determine what the transition process or processes will be.
Traveling on to the desired state we help create a platform to support and strengthen the organizational transformation.
Systematic transformation occurs through the integration and facilitation of an organizational assessment, a focused inquiry event or events, capacity building through transition processes, and the creation of a platform for continuous and generative organizational capacity building.
Six Important Questions
The initial event or events focus on exploring questions such as:
Starting with strengths engenders confidence.
Aspirations add hopefulness.
Does the mission provide sufficient focus for clear articulation of desired results?
Who must be primarily satisfied to achieve results? Secondarily?
How will they be changed?
Do our strengths and aspirations align with who we serve?
What do we believe those we serve value?
How do we know?
Is what we think we know valid?
How do we define results?
Do they reflect meaningful, whole-system, mission based outcomes?
How should we define results?
What are we trying to create?
Are we truly open to learning and change?
Is there sufficient scope and urgency or excitement?
The culmination of the event(s) leads to a desired strategic process being implemented to move the organization in its desired direction.
What is our
Status Quo - No Change Necessary?
Appreciative Inquiry and Capacity Building?
Multi-Organization Capacity Leveraging?
We facilitate systematic, relational and reflective processes to identify, capture and act on organizational wisdom. Organizational wisdom involves the collection, transference and integration of individuals’ wisdom and the use of institutional and social processes (e.g., structure, culture, leadership) for strategic action. The desired result of organizational wisdom is an effective organization, one that has a clear mission, carefully-crafted strategic actions leading to anticipated results, cohesive and engaged teams, good leadership, and ethical, skilled, and motivated organizational members.
Organizational wisdom is the synergistic melding of data, information, knowledge, intelligence, values and expertise, fueled by learning. Such learning is inspired and activated by collective and generative dialogue and reflection. It is about LISTENING.
While intelligence and wisdom are often used synonymously, they are not the same. One may be very intelligent and, yet, not be or act wisely. Intelligence enables us to think, analyze, see patterns and solve problems within specific and known contexts. Wisdom transcends typical problems and known contexts. The wise person and organization can generate useful solutions in novel circumstances, limited not by what he or she has learned through previous study or experience. Previous learning and experience may bias and limit understanding of context (reality in its fullness and things as they are). The wise individual and organization are able to see with clarity into complex situations, understand dynamic relationships concerning cause and effect, and make decisions or take actions that serve the interests of the common good.
Organizational wisdom cannot exist without individual wisdom, and even individual wisdom is dependent upon organizational members being willing and able to acquire, share, and act on each other’s knowledge and experience. It is ultimately a community endeavor.
Good leaders make the mind of the community their mind, and never let their minds indulge in private prejudices. They make the eyes and ears of the community their eyes and ears, and never let their eyes and ears be partial (Zen writings).
The wise organization is not exclusively one led by a minority of wise individuals, but is populated by people expected to be and working toward becoming wise themselves. Leaders might provide the context and role model for wisdom, but it is the responsibility of everyone wishing to be engaged.
There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about. Only when we turn to one another do we discover the wisdom and wealth that is so abundantly present in us, our traditions and our environment. … A community that turns to one another creates a spirit of welcome for all its members. It relies on the fact that people want to be engaged, that they want to learn and contribute to their community. It recognizes that people will step forward as leaders when they discover an issue they care about. It pays attention to the web of relationship, and works to include, not exclude. It keeps inviting in more people for their rich diversity of ideas, heritage, perspectives. As it does all this, a miraculous gift reveals itself. It doesn’t matter if no one is coming to help. We have what we need, right here, right now, among us all.
Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze, Walk Out, Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now. 2011
Effective measurement is critical to all improvement, “change in direction”, and transformation strategies. A measurement system serves many vital purposes, including focusing attention on key issues, clarifying expectations, facilitating decision making, supporting learning and improving, establishing and maintaining accountability, and, most importantly, communicating effectively internally and externally.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” - Peter Drucker
We facilitate measurement capabilities by:
Helping to carefully design or select appropriate performance measures that can be used to focus the organization on the achievement of its strategic goals and actions;
Assisting with baseline assessments and follow-up assessments;
Making sure that they are aligned and integrated with Organizational Wisdom processes and Continuous Innovation and Discernment processes;
Supporting well-defined decision frameworks assuring results are evaluated, communicated, and addressed in a timely manner.
If you really want to go to Mount Olympus make sure every step you make takes you nearer there - Socrates
CONTINUOUS DISCERNMENT & INNOVATION
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Judge each day not by its harvest but by the seeds you sow into it. – African Proverb
Continuous discernment, the flip side of innovation, is all about taking a reflective stance to develop oneself, one’s organization and one’s community. Discernment enables one to consciously link the results one is honestly observing to their causes or inspiration allowing adaptive action.
We coach and facilitate focused reflection and discernment practices to allow regular and insightful observation, co-creative thinking … and patience. Organizations driven by a desire for quick wins often reflect the frantic efforts of a sinking ship. Flourishing organizations take the time for discernment and reflection to maintain relevance.
Innovation is all about staying relevant. - Stephen Shapiro
With change being constant, what helped an organization be successful in the past could potentially be the cause of failure in the future. We facilitate the adaptive and evolving capability of continuous organizational innovation to meet the ever-changing needs of relevance for an organization. And relevance is always determined by those the organization serves or hopes to serve – its stakeholders, members or constituents - never by the internal operations or hopes of the organization.
We focus our facilitation efforts on the deliberate application of imagination and information to performance and services in order for the organizations we work with to stay relevant to those being served. One way we do this is through the creation of comparative strategic measures, creating a systematic innovation process.