How We Do Consultation
Every client and every assignment is different, so we design every engagement to achieve specific outcomes in the context of unique needs, constraints, opportunities, and dynamics.
Because our clients are just as capable and professional as we are, we expect to work together as full partners, relying on one another’s strengths and capabilities. They are the experts in their disciplines and ultimately the source of creative solutions. We are proud of the catalytic skills we add to the mix.
We are open about how we work, sensitive to timelines and budgets, and committed to keeping people connected. We assign to each project a team uniquely suited to its requirements, drawing from our own staff and, when appropriate, adding trusted colleagues.
Four principles underlie our approach to consultation:
- Our work is active, interactive, and collaborative
- Our approach is efficient and transparent
- Our aim is to help people work together more effectively, with a spirit of discovery
- Our commitment is to be flexible
How We Do Authentic Engagement
People have something to say. It’s all too easy to talk about public engagement but do little to actually engage the public. The purpose of asking for community opinions is not to check a box; it’s to benefit from the inclusion of multiple ideas and diverse perspectives.
People become jaded very quickly when it’s clear that public involvement is a mandate and not a commitment. Or worse: People take time to offer input, only to have it become clear that a decision has already been made.
How We Do Facilitation
Good facilitation allows people to communicate, collaborate, and commit in ways they otherwise could not.
Our staff has decades of experience supporting people in having the conversations they need to have and ensuring all voices are included. While every assignment is unique, we have found that a few principles have helped us work with diverse groups addressing challenging problems:
- Focus on process and allow the group to focus on content
- Encourage everyone to talk openly, listen actively, and search for common ground
- Respect cultural differences in the group
- Be comfortable with conflict, volatility, ambiguity, and awkward silence
- Be flexible in responding to emerging challenges and opportunities
How We Do Training
Our training emphasizes practical skills that can be used on the job. We use highly participative formats, interspersing brief lectures with large and small group discussion, experiential activities, case studies, and lots of practice. We employ organization-specific examples and activities and timely, constructive feedback – always customized to meet client goals.
Our training services include needs assessments, curriculum design, workshop presentations, and development of learning teams / cohorts, resource referrals, training evaluations, and coaching / support.
We accomplish this by following some simple guidelines:
- Being fully present
- Cooperating and communicating
- Communicating the essentials nonverbally
- Consensus decision-making
- Interactive facilitation
- Authentic engagement
We offer participants the opportunity to learn new behaviors, analyze situations, solve problems, and modify attitudes in ways that will increase both their job satisfaction and success.