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We ask tough questions. And expect honest answers.

It seems simple enough but in a world of competing budgets and deadlines, not to mention internal and external politics, the simple gets complicated pretty quickly.

People get uncomfortable when assumptions are challenged and long held practices are re-examined.

That's why it can help to bring in some fresh eyes.

And though we've been told we're diplomatic, we won't soft pedal when it comes to what we've observed. Because we're not worried about our next promotion, we'll follow up with recommendations drawn from current research and best practices around the world. Not just those that your board or leadership team hoped to hear.

Now this doesn't mean we crash around like the proverbial bull in the china shop. We want to meaningfully involve as many parts and pieces of your organization as fits your project. We firmly believe that a diversity of voices and opinions makes for a stronger (although not always easier) result.

Our role is to ask the difficult questions that help you facilitate meaningful and lasting change – whether in your communications or your organization’s overall strategy. And to do that, we'll need you and your team to be willing to tell it like it is.

Our clients tell us that's actually the best part. Finally getting to talk about the real issues and not just the ones that were pre-determined to be solvable or most affordable.

It doesn't mean we can make all of your dreams come true. But we will help you focus on those that are most important. And get you started in the right direction so that you can.

Branding – what you want the world to look like

What's the essence of who you are? And perhaps more importantly, why?

This isn't a conversation about the size of your logo or the look and feel of your latest ad campaign. It's about what you want the world to look like. And whether your organization is living in a way so that one day, it will.

Communications – messaging and media workshops, materials review and strategy

Once you've clarified your brand – the reason you're out there fighting the good fight to begin with, it's as simple and as hard as making sure that all of your communications are headed in the same direction.

From half day workshops to multi-year relationships, we'll act as a compass to guide you through.

More importantly, you and your team will learn how to orient yourselves. Because in the end, the goal is to enable you to create messages and materials that point the way forward for everyone else.

Our projects vary as much as your goals and needs but they frequently include:

Strategic Planning – why what everyone does matters

This is where the rubber hits the road. How do you turn your mission into a working document that can guide your organization over the next several years? And how will your leadership and team members know what role they play in success or failure?

It starts back with the question of what you want the world to look like. But from there, we click down into the satellite map and see how the streets are laid out and maybe even which car is blocking your driveway.

Through interactive conversations, a healthy respect for debate and maybe even some time for provocative reading and reflection, we'll engage everyone from your janitorial staff to your senior leadership. To find out what they know that can help you be more innovative and responsive. And turn that knowledge into measurable goals and ideas to keep you moving forward.

The final product should be compact and easy to use. One or two pages if you’ll let us. And if the pleasure and ease of the journey is one of the measurements of success, it should feel much more like an in-car navigation system that can react to real time data than a bulky bound document destined for the recycling bin.

Executive Coaching – an honest, unbiased kick in the butt (or shoulder to cry, depending on the day)

As a leader, you frequently have very few places to turn for unbiased advice. Political constraints may keep you from sharing what you know or what you’re worried about with those inside your organization or community.

We've been there and we know how isolating and frustrating this can be. Our team members have spent time in the trenches, serving as executive directors and leaders in their fields. We know what it's like to juggle so many projects (some of them on fire!) while worrying about how to make payroll.

So occasionally, a client asks us to just weigh in. On whatever they're facing that day.

Some elect to set up recurrent phone meetings. They value knowing that they have a regular dose of outside observations and questions to keep them honest and challenged.

Others choose to hire us by the hour or project.

However you decide to interact with us, know that we take this role very seriously. We'll keep your concerns confidential and we'll guide you with all of the resources at our disposal. When you’re leading an organization that’s trying to change the world, you need all of the help you can get. We'd be honored and privileged to be a part of that.

Leadership Transitions – strategic recruiting and interview design

Sometimes the best decision is not to make one.

Whether due to accident or poor planning, organizations can find themselves without a leader during difficult and challenging times. And they might feel pressed to conduct an abbreviated search to get someone in place as soon as possible.

But leadership transitions offer an organization a (hopefully) rare opportunity to think about the future. Where do they want to be in 10 years? What (and who) do they need to get them there?

Depending on your circumstances, we can assist with strategic recruiting and interview design that will align your organizational and hiring goals. Your leadership team is one of the most public embodiments of your organization and, too often, hiring the next executive gets relegated to a team of busy staff and volunteers who are already taking on more than they can handle.

We're not an executive search firm and we think they can serve an important role should you choose to engage one.

We're here to help facilitate some critical conversations that need to take place before you even choose a search firm. So that whether or not you rely on others to help you find the best recruits, you know what "best" means for you before you start that conversation.

Very rarely, a member of our team will agree to serve as or help you find an interim leader during your search. This decision is made on a case by case basis and is dependent on many variables including length of service and relocation requirements.

Some Work Samples

See our work