These are some of the tools, theories, concepts and techniques I combine when customizing my services for you. I use the term "team" as a generic reference to any type of organized set of people. It is interchangeable with terms like group, Board, Commission, coalition, etc.

Frame the Span of Concern

Deep Listening Data Gathering Planning for Change
Pareto's 20/80 Rule Document Review Visible Systems
Needs Analysis Surveys PERT
Appreciative Inquiry Interviews Critical Path Method
Focus Group Moderation Gantt Charts

Deep Listening

Pareto's 20/80 Rule — Vilfredo Pareto (born 1848) observed that sometimes a few items within a class account for a large part of the result. For example, 16% of the market for instant cake mixes account for 70% of the total sales. Actual example: A client thought it had to inventory its whole (100%) plant collection in an arboretum before renovating the site. I pointed out that their true concern was locating and protecting the rare, expensive, difficult to procure plants, a distinct minority of the total. The client immediately grasped that with this limited focus on the vital few the task could be completed with a handful of volunteers in one morning.

Needs Analysis — Determining if the available resources can satisfy the expected demand (or need) for a particular service. This is often a feature of grant proposals.

Appreciative Inquiry — David Cooperrider and Suresh Srivastva's name for a new academic "discipline of positive change." The prime insight of AI pivots on raising up for appreciation the many successes, small experiments, exceptions and surprises that constantly occur in organizations alongside the carping, complaining, and frustrations. Once these positive changes are known and celebrated what led to their success can be shared and amplified around an organization.

Data Gathering

Document Review — This is just as it sound—a look at relevant documents to gather basic background information. Typically, this may include

  • Purpose, mission, vision, and value statements
  • A sampling of meeting agendas, minutes and notes
  • Current strategic plans
  • Web sites, brochures,
  • Written descriptions for job roles & programs
  • Union agreements

Surveys — I can help design surveys from overall design, question testing to analysis of results. Good design will yield very rich data for further research using qualitative tools such as focus groups or interviews.

Focus Group Moderation — I am a certified as a focus group moderator by Executive Solutions. With the right recruitment and questions that bring panel members' imagination and deep reflection into play, a focus group can yield surprising results unattainable by any other means.

Planning for Change

Visible Systems — Meetings that I facilitate make spoken comments visible. Chaotic plans become various types of charts, schedules and grids. Time unfolds along a wall-length time for ease of scheduling.

PERT — Performance Evaluation Review Technique. Developed in 1958 for the Polaris missile program. PERT creates a visual map of a complex project with estimates of predicted times to complete each link.

Critical Path Method (CPM)— Developed in 1957 by Du Pont, CPM literally highlights the "critical path" in a lengthy project (such as constructing a new plant). Any delay on the steps identified as the critical path will delay the whole project while delays in other areas will not affect production schedules.

Gantt Charts — Named after their inventor, Henry Laurence Gantt (1861-1919), Gantt Charts can be constructed using common spreadsheet software to represent a list of activities (first column) and time (first row). Each activity or step can then be estimated and shown as a span of checked boxes indicating when they will be begin and end.

Discern the Crux of the Dilemma

Implementing Together Igniting Participation Clarifying Ambiguities
Strategic Planning Open Space Technology 7 Types of Ambiguities
Retreats Team Spirit™ Synergy by Design™
Meeting Facilitation Masterful Meetings Counter Charts™
Retrospectives Negotiation
Top, Tough & Tender™

Implementing Together

Strategic Planning — Keep the Change assists in the draft-t0-approval process for strategic plans that organizations implement. The plan must flow through an inescapable river of constraints. As a tool straddling both our imagination and our abilities to act it must address both well. The imaginative vision of how something will be changed when the plan is fully implemented provides the novelty and sense of discovery that animates collective attention and action. Yet, everyone involved must accomplish their part of the plan despite limits to their time, budgets, space, staff, equipment, etc.

Retreats — Retreats help leaders, teams, Boards and/or staff take deep or long views of their operations. The agenda can cover anything there is normally not enough time or opportunity to address. Keep the Change facilitates retreats that offer reflection and renewal both individually and for the group or team.

Meeting Facilitation — Research by the Amherst Wilder Foundation reveals that skilled facilitation is a key factor to the success of any collaborative effort. My commitment to being among the best in my field engages me in continual professional development. To every meeting I facilitate I bring: an active desire to have everyone participate, a fluid attention to the shifting dynamics in the room and a flexible repertoire of skills to use as the situation requires.

Retrospectives — that is, looking back, serves to hold up for reflection moments of surprising ease or discovery in a collective effort. It can be useful mid-way through a project to untangle confused actions and overlapping, absent or delegated assignments.

Igniting Participation

Open Space Technology (OST) — a simple yet profound method for facilitating meetings and conferences—runs entirely on he passions and interests of the people who attend. The program emerges out of the group itself.

Team Spirit™ (Trademarked by Barry Herrmann) — A model for visualizing and organizing six distinct functioning areas for interaction in a team. Service, to co-team members and to clients and customers, forms the core. The other five functions include: initiating, visioning, claiming, celebrating and mending rifts. As a certified Team Spirit facilitator, I am qualified to support a team's exploration of these important elements of its success.

Synergy by Design™ — A proprietary procedure developed by Keep the Change to create a fair share of work for each member in a team or committee. It dissolves the unwitting emergence of the 20/80 rule in groups. Every members leaves the process with a personal, specific commitment to the collective success. Every member is also aware that every other member has an approximately equal commitment.

Masterful Meetings™ — Meetings: mush, meaningless or masterful? Masterful Meetings workshops and coaching services help clients bring their meeting performance up to current "best in class" standards. Results: less repetitions of the same comments, faster meetings, congruent decisions and successful follow-through. People enjoy the participative atmosphere and satisfaction with meetings increases.

Clarifying Ambiguities

7 Types of Ambiguities — This workshop presents the main types of ambiguities that occur within both the arts and organizations. One participant felt this workshop should be taken by everyone who has ever lived.

Counter Charts™ — Building on the genius of Polarity Maps™ (trademarked by Barry Johnson), this tool highlights the rhythms of systems and organizations that swing from one side of a dilemma to the other.

Metaphors @ Work™ — What does your workplace remind you of? Using that metaphoric insight can inspire new ways of sustaining important cultural patterns while altering others.

Negotiation — People in a work environment re-negotiate its rules, roles and relationships every day in every interaction. Based on the work of the Harvard Negotiations Project, negotiation skills can be blended into a longer day of retreat or facilitation.

Mediation — I have over thirty years of experience with mediation and facilitation. I will stay impartial (neutral) while helping parties find a stable and voluntary agreement.

Top, Tough & Tender™ — Keep the Change's proprietary tools for productive and integrative dialogue about one of the modern world's most taboo topics: power! Someone takes initiative to propose an idea, vision, direction or policy to a team, Board or group. To bring the group along and discover where agreements can be found takes "top" skills. To heal the frictions and frustrations endured by a group trying to act in concert people have to use their "tender" skills—such as keeping ones word, apologies, and basic courtesies. Holding the conversations about the relationship in the group between assertion and connection becomes the "tough" part.

Craft Solutions that Stick!

Starting Right Sustaining Momentum Finishing Strong
Visible Systems Visible Systems Visible Systems
Commitments After Meeting Review Retrospectives
Synergy by Design™ Masterful Meetings™ Pinch Theory
Benchmarking Small Wins
Consensus Keep Track—Track Back ™

Starting Right

Visible Systems — Though "the map is not the territory" it shows important details. A visual representation of the journey a team or group is about to embark upon hold everyone's attention to a shared object. This object could be a flowchart, a literal map, an organization chart, a Gantt Diagram, a timeline or a list of tasks, assignments and due dates.

Commitments —When success is on the line, translating the assumed commitment levels into share and stated commitment levels can make all the difference. Keep the Change employs various methods for helping teams get solid and honest commitments from team members.

Synergy by Design™ — A proprietary procedure developed by Keep the Change to create a fair share of work for each member in a team or committee. It dissolves the unwitting emergence of the 20/80 rule in groups. Every members leaves the process with a personal, specific commitment to the collective success. Every member is also aware that every other member has an approximately equal commitment.

Benchmarking — Pioneered by Xerox, benchmarking means finding the best (not the "best practices"), studying their method and philosophy, and deliberately incorporating what is learned into one's own organization.

Consensus — a group decision reached after a participatory process where all members recognize one another's legitimate authority to participate, participants self-modulate their behaviors so as to be neither too overbearing nor withdrawn, and no person objects enough to prevent the decision from going forward. Keep the Change has a basic guide to consensus for use in conjunction with workshops and consensus facilitation.

Sustaining Momentum

Visible Systems — if you have read this far, you probably notice that many tools appear in multiple section. That is because that consistent use of sound tools reaps benefits. Again, visible systems contributes to sustaining momentum by having a means for individual members to "catch-up" or track the progress of other members without having to trouble with a face-to-face meetings. Good visible systems provide the means for confident mid-course corrections and serve as a subtle form of positive feedback as milestones are noted.

After Meeting Review — This tool is standard procedure for airline flight crews, air traffic controllers and fire jumpers. The medical profession is beginning to incorporate it into their care teams. What is it? Five to ten minutes at the end of a meeting where team members volunteer how they aided or interfered with the success of the meeting or team's work. This is the Continuous Quality Improvement moment for how the team (Board, group, etc.) runs its own meetings.

Masterful Meetings™ — Getting Masterful Meetings into the "muscle memory" of team members makes coming together more interesting, engaging (and even fun).

Small wins — Small wins become the building blocks of implementation. They are just enough out of easy reach to feel challenging, but small enough to feel work the effort.

Keep Track-Track Back™ — What did we decide? Who is doing what? When? With what resources? Are they encountering success or problems? Have we neglected something? Avoid these and other confusing problems by keeping track and regularly tracking back on decisions about how, who, when, what, where, how much and how many.

Finishing Strong

Visible Systems — Our loyal tool sticks with the process through the finish.

Pinch Theory — This is a protocol established within a team for regular times to remake agreements about roles and expectations. Getting work done under the pressures that teams face can generate about who does what when. When using Pinch Theory, these concerns have a regular time and place where they can be raised and re-negotiated. Without Pinch Theory members are unsure when or how to voice their issues and when they do the other involved member or members may dismiss or belittle their concerns.

Retrospectives — Make this part of the celebration as a team toasts its successes and mourns times when it drifted off-course. If a team is disbanding, a retrospective provides a context for members to mutually acknowledge one another and say good-bye to the team effort.