What I Do
Why is it some groups struggle to achieve their goals and reach their potential? Most often, it’s because something has occurred that damaged their context—those tacit understandings that groups, communities and organizations hold about how people are supposed to think and act—in short,"the way we do things around here.” When these unspoken rules break down, organizations and communities become fragmented. People can find themselves working at cross purposes, becoming less efficient or effective. In an environment such as this, miscommunication frequently occurs. Even mistrust and conflict.
When these issues are persistent, similar problems keep showing up—sometimes in different ways. You feel like you're playing whack-a-mole as you keep trying to correct each instance of the problem. If these symptoms are allowed to persist, the behaviors they create will slowly become the default “way we do things around here.” Trust becomes eroded. Poor communication and siloing replace targeted, unified efforts for getting things done in organizations. In communities, a fragmented social fabric disrupts people's commitment to the good of the whole. The good of the group.
Changing these patterns—restoring that fabric—can be a tough challenge. Even tougher is the challenge of making new “ways of doing things” that replace those old understood agreements for how a group gets things done. As an organization development consultant, I work with groups to meet those challenges—and solve the really tough issues they face. The process that I implement is inclusive and facilitates working together efficiently and effectively.
Community restoration and development
Communities are organizations, groups of people with common interests who are connected to provide mutual support. Sometimes the fabric of communities – the structures that support and sustain members’ sense of belonging and make communities effective –– may become frayed and need to be restored. Communicating becomes taken for granted. Traditions and practices fall into disuse. Culture ceases to be taught and honored. My work with communities emphasizes strengthening relationships, helping community members learn to re-empower themselves and take responsibility for achieving the possibilities they envision.
Culture and Brand
A brand is more than a just a logo or a tagline. It is a promise that you make to your clients, customers, employees, and stakeholders about the experience they will have whenever they touch the organization or the organization touches them. It is a promise that their experience will be consistent, no matter what. This means that everybody in the organization has to understand that promise and what it entails. It needs to be part of each group's DNA, an integral part of their culture. When properly and fully implemented, you will find this work affecting every aspect of your operations and your balance sheet.
Getting away for planning, thinking about mission and vision, or other times when the group needs uninterrupted time to get a fresh perspective is essential to the flow and well-being of an organization. The retreats I design are consistently engaging and renewing.
Building relationships in the face of conflict
Conflict, especially in organizations, is a fact of life and not always a bad thing. However, when that conflict goes on too long and becomes entrenched, it can poison the entire team or organization and permanently damage the relationships that make your group functional and alive. This approach can get you back to that place where it was
fun when you came into work.
Leading at any level or in any type of
group is not easy. Sometimes we need help, advice, or an experienced ear for support. Inflow offers one-on-one coaching for valuable employees at any level. Additionally, we run leadership circles for peers from different types of organizations, where the conversation is safe and confidential. Circles have limited lifespans according to the needs of the participants, and new ones are formed several
times during the year.
Meeting Facilitation and Group Problem Solving
When you have to work through thorny problems with your staff or with multiple stakeholders from within and without your organization, if you want to achieve sustainable agreements, this is an excellent approach.