Monthly Archives: March 2013

We are adding to our team!

We are looking for candidates who will bring diversity to our team…

along with solid professional skills, passion, and a positive outlook.

Consultant – The Consultant plays a key role on the Solid Ground Consulting team, providing organizational development and strategic counsel to clients in all service areas. In addition, the Consultant plays a role in the marketing and business development activities of the firm.

  • At least five years background in organizational development and strategy
  • Strong preference for direct professional experience with nonprofit and public agencies, especially in positions of leadership
  • Consulting experience preferred
  • Demonstrated excellence in communication and writing

Senior Consultant — The senior consultant needs deep experience in organizational development consulting. We are looking for a seasoned consultant with an established client base.

  • Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Development, or related field; Master’s degree preferred
  • Advanced proficiency in organizational development and/or strategic planning
  • Consulting experience

Contact us at Contact for more information.

Lowcountry: Vision without Hallucination

There is a difference between vision and hallucination.

Many groups talk about vision and consider what they’d like to influence in the future. But few groups really make their vision the centerpiece of their work today.

Authentic Conversations

Perhaps you need to meet one of our favorite clients: the Lowcountry Open Land Trust. This group has been working to protect the beauty of the Lowcountry of South Carolina for several decades. And Solid Ground worked with them over the last year as the group took that commitment to a new level.

As part of their strategic planning process, the group engaged community members in an authentic conversation about what they want to see for their Lowcountry home. To do this, the land trust:

  • Held listening sessions with key supporters and community leaders to get their suggestions.
  • Hosted a dedicated Business Leader Breakfast to specifically engage those focused on key business and economic development issues.
  • Converted their annual meeting from a passive program to an active conversation, with more than 100 supporters describing what they want for the future of their community.
  • Invited the community to an open forum at the local library that attracted more than 120 community members who care about the special places of the region but who had not yet had a voice in what should happen. The meeting was distinctive because it brought in a mix of ages and interests, and wasn’t limited to hearing from or speaking to “the choir.”

Hearing Voices

In addition, the land trust sat down with people throughout the community to hear the voices that care about the places the trust is working to protect. A wide variety of caring people – old and young, school children and farmers and business leaders and parents – all shared their vision of the Lowcountry. On tape.

The results of this investment, made over most of a year, are extraordinary. The land trust invested in capturing this vision in both a brochure and a video called the “Soul of the Lowcountry”. These results are wonderful examples of taking an idea and making the most of it.

The land trust used this information to shape their strategic plan, and now have a plan that is both aspirational and realistic. It conveys what the community wants and what the land trust believes it can do. This is planning at its finest.

Lessons Learned

Some of the great lessons that emerged from this project:

  • Make your engagement authentic. If you want people’s opinion, ask them. And then listen. Don’t spend most of your time talking to them.
  • Use the conversations you already have to make the most of them. Annual meetings are notoriously boring. Think about what else you’re already doing that can become opportunities to listen. If we take the time to engage those who show up – whenever or wherever that may be – everybody gets more out of it. Our supporters deserve to have input and to be heard. And our organizations are the richer for it.
  • Reach beyond your base. Every group needs to prove their relevance to the broader community. Take the time to reach out to those who could care if you engage them in a true exchange of ideas and opinions. Don’t be afraid to hear difficult things. Clearer levels of disagreement may appear – and so will greater degrees of respect, even support.

Share your results. Hearing what people have to say is the first step. Sharing what you’ve heard is the next. People want to know that you’ve heard what they’ve said. They also want to know what others have said. And by the way, this can be extremely useful information to support your fundraising efforts.