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There is no way we can adequately say "thank you" for all the help, guidance, consultation, advice, consolation, and old fashioned hard work you've done for us! We've come a long way these past ten months. You have been our guide.

--Organization CEO

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 analysis paralysis.

The benefit: Increase in effectiveness, less time/money spent on analysis, negligible cost in errors, positive feedback and results from subordinates.

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 improve performance.

The benefit: More effective leadership, reduced staff fears resulting in greater productivity.

3. The situation: Create a cross-discipline team for industry-wide problem solving.

The work: Orient members to team work, create agreements about working together, develop and get leadership approval for evaluation metrics to assess effectiveness and success.

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 plan.

The benefit: Strategic plan held the department together with a new strategy implemented each year. Agency leadership regarded their work as exemplary.

5. The situation: An annual staff planning retreat

The work: Move people who saw little in common and rarely offered opinions to interacting around shared values, ideas and purpose.

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 new director.

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 fit.

The work: Make sure leadership does want people who think and work differently, demonstrate differences among all staff, and clarify focus of work group.

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 benefit: 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 unique situation.

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 leadership.

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 exhaustion.

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 accountability.

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 buy/sell agreement.

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.

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