Case Studies and Results
1. The situation: A 24-member
leadership group was unable to make
decisions about future action and direction.
The work: Assessments showed a
bias toward time spent on getting more
information instead of decision-making.
Once the group understood this members
learned strategies to decide when there
was enough research and move beyond
The benefit: Increase in
effectiveness, less time/money spent on
analysis, negligible cost in errors,
positive feedback and results from
2. The situation: An agency leader
was angry and argumentative about feedback
on a 360-degree assessment.
The work: Help director hear
and understand feedback, identify
problem behavior, not retaliate, and
The benefit: More effective
leadership, reduced staff fears
resulting in greater productivity.
3. The situation: Create a
cross-discipline team for industry-wide
The work: Orient members to
team work, create agreements about
working together, develop and get
leadership approval for evaluation
metrics to assess effectiveness and
The benefit: The group moved
quickly through group development stages
(forming, storming, norming) and into
performing. Able to stay focused because
of success metrics.
4. The situation: A group of agency
employees angry at the promotion of the
"wrong" staff to supervisor.
The work: Structure interviews
to allow for venting and suggestions by
all involved, prepare the manager for
the repercussion, help her understand
the feelings and opinions, meet with
entire staff and manager to "air the
situation" and focus on a strategic
The benefit: Strategic plan
held the department together with a new
strategy implemented each year. Agency
leadership regarded their work as
5. The situation: An annual staff planning
The work: Move people who saw little in
common and rarely offered opinions to
interacting around shared values, ideas and
The benefit: Mutual understanding resulted
in liking each other, ease in difficult
conversations and sharing to improve
decision-making and implementation.
6. The situation: Staff complaints about a
The work: Ensure leadership
support, work with staff to engage in
needed changes for the organization.
The benefit: Change to the
organization to allow for staff
reductions, increase intrinsic
motivation of staff, and focus on work,
not the director.
7. The situation:
A new staff member doesn't
The work: Make sure leadership
does want people who think and work
differently, demonstrate differences
among all staff, and clarify focus of
The benefit: Align
staff to direct efforts towards goals,
agree on how to handle differences.
8. The situation: A community is outraged by
plans for a large project.
The work: Interview various agency and
community members, plan and facilitate a
public meeting to ensure everyone involved
experiences a fair, respectful process
The community is brought
together; understands various perspectives
and agrees to work on new public projects.
9. The situation:
Chief Executive Officers
(CEOs) have few peers to talk to about their
The work: Belong to the Business Owner's Group, with a monthly consultation and
meeting; member-driven presentations by
experts, as well as studies in
The benefit: Overcome the
isolation in CEO decision-making, learn
from other CEOs in non-competing
businesses, advance skills by learning
from recognized experts about issues of
current concern, test decisions and get
a variety of perspectives.
10. The situation: The new Supervisor is
difficult for the staff to work with.
The work: Determine if the problem is about
culture or competence; put the issues on the
table to be addressed openly and safely.
The benefit: Clarity helps solve the right
problem. In this case the supervisor left
for a better job.
11. The situation:
The second generation of a
family business wanted to retire and turn
the operation over to the third. Some of the
children wanted to stay, some didn't, issues
of divorce, unequal compensation and
unresolved feelings made it more complex.
The work: Through individual sessions and
family meetings, and working with the family
attorney, CPA and banker, understanding, a
sense of fairness, and a decision of how to
deal with the business evolved.
The benefit: The family can separate business
and family, and enjoy both.
12. The situation:
A company is growing
faster than its ability to organize, and
serve customers and keep the owner from
The work: Create a plan with company
leadership/family to systematically
organize, problem solve, and implement a
plan to share leadership.
The benefit: Make order out of chaos, reduce
stress with the assurance that things won't
slip through the cracks.
13. The situation:
CEO of a non-profit is
challenged to engage the Board.
The work: Meet with key board members and,
based on their assessment and interests,
develop a work session to plan and create
The benefit: A sense of accomplishment and
engagement as well as practical steps to
improve the organization and board.
14. The situation: Angry business owners want
to divide the company and they don't have a
The work: Meet with each to identify
interests and hopes, for both the finances
and friendship. Bring them together for a
frank discussion about the division. Work
with legal, appraisal, and accounting
experts to evaluate the finances.
The benefit: A division of the business with
a sense of fairness, as well as minimal
impact on employees and customers.
15. The situation: Leadership needs a boost -
a sense of overwhelm and
wheel-spinning frustrates everyone concerned
making change imperative.
The work: Clarify values and purpose, rank
actions based on importance and ease of
accomplishment. Address cynicism and morale.
The benefit: Staff morale improves, all
acknowledge the challenge of "walking the
talk" in making changes to the organization.