Connect People • Strengthen Leaders • Embrace the Future

Client Success Stories

Below are some examples of the different kinds of work we've done with clients

Graphic Harvest

February 9, 2017 by Deborah Gilburg

Graphic Harvest

We use the word "harvest" to denote "output" or "the fruits of our labor," when working with groups. Harvest is a synthesis of what has been learned, what rises to the top in the conversations, the insights, themes, patterns people are noticing, and any next steps. Not everyone likes the term, and we've had clients modify it to suit their own situations, which I think is great. There are all kinds of ways to "harvest" the output from a working group, but one I'm learning to do more of myself, is graphic harvesting (aka: graphic recording, visual recording, visual note-taking, graphic organizing, etc.). 

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Embrace Discomfort and Encourage Diversity

October 24, 2016 by Amy Gilburg

Embrace Discomfort and Encourage Diversity

I recently attended an event at my son’s school: a talk by the school psychologist about how to help our kids navigate the complex social environment of elementary school. The big take away for me was the importance of letting my son feel uncomfortable—to struggle even—because swooping in to fix a possible challenging situation isn’t helpful or advised. This guidance is contrary to my first instinct as a mom, to keep my son safe from experiencing pain—physical or emotional!  But it is the very discomfort that enables him to mature and expand his capacity.

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The What and the How

September 23, 2016 by Joseph DiCenso

The What and the How

Imagine yourself in a meeting. (Sorry, should I have provided a trigger warning?) Imagine you’re one of the “less-vocal” members of the group and you’re having a hard time getting a word in. You may have expertise to share regarding the agenda topic; you may have strong concerns, vital interests or basic questions regarding the issue. So it’s frustrating not being heard. All the more because it’s not your first experience of this and the ones sucking up the air in the room are the usual suspects.

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Bridging the Gaps, Where do we start?

July 18, 2016 by Jonathan Gilburg

Bridging the Gaps, Where do we start?

I am incredibly saddened about recent events in Dallas, Nice, France, Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, Orlando and too many other places to mention.  As I hear people talk about these events, it is clear that there are many wide, seemingly un-bridgeable gaps in perspectives, understanding, current realities, and sense of empowerment/entitlement in our dominant systems.  Perhaps the greatest gap I’ve witnessed is our individual and collective capacities to even have a conversation with one another about these gaps.  The rhetoric quickly devolves into firm stances and beliefs about the root of the problems and the solutions needed—further widening the gaps and defining the various “camps.”  And we are left facing the same systemic problems, relatively untouched, perhaps even further exacerbated by much of the collective responses.  It is heart breaking to watch people whose hearts have been irrevocably broken witness the damaging after–effects of an already tragic situation.

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Who Gets to Breathe?

August 13, 2015 by Joseph DiCenso

Who Gets to Breathe?

We're surrounded by mountains. At some point it occurs to me that that's how this state, Montana, got its name. We're a circle of about fifty. It's the morning of our second day with a group from the US Forest Service. I'm part of a team that's facilitating a program called "Leader as Convener," a three-day workshop designed to help leaders shift their mindset about collaborative leadership and adopt new approaches and skills for working with stakeholders

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Three Convening Stories

May 15, 2015 by Deborah Gilburg

Three Convening Stories

Its been a personal goal of mine to start collecting stories from our clients, program participants and friends about how they are convening others to have the kinds conversations that matter, be it about shared interests, passions, work challenges or community concerns.

I have three stories to share today, two told to me by the conveners themselves, and one that was relayed to me by some of the participants. In all three cases there were no professional facilitators involved, just committed conveners who care about their topics and the practices of convening, and were willing to take a risk by using a convening methodology and inviting others to participate. 

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Historical Team Narrative Defines its Capacity

September 30, 2014 by Jonathan Gilburg

Historical Team Narrative Defines its Capacity

Teams are like families.  And like families, teams tend to have rich stories: there are plots (the work they do), there are characters (and like families, some characters are no longer “with us”, but influential nonetheless); there is conflict (essential for any story); there are epiphanies, resolutions, failures and successes.  A team narrative is like the cultural air we breathe.  It permeates what we do, how we do it, how we understand and see the world as it relates to that team and its work—whether we are aware of the story or not.

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Town of Reading Community Conversations Part 3: Transparency, Ownership and Heros

December 2, 2011 by Deborah Gilburg

Town of Reading Community Conversations Part 3: Transparency, Ownership and Heros

This is the third and final chapter in a three-part blog series about my community of Reading, MA, and its approach to recent drug-related murders of two former Reading High graduates. The town hosted three consecutive community meetings to address the public outcry against teen substance abuse and violence in our town, and the demand that local authorities be accountable.

If you want to catch up, you can read about the first community meeting held in September using the World Café conversation process, and the second held in early October. 

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Town of Reading Community Conversations Part 2: Blind Spots and X-ray Vision

November 9, 2011 by Deborah Gilburg

Town of Reading Community Conversations Part 2: Blind Spots and X-ray Vision

The Town of Reading recently hosted the 2nd of 3 community meetings planned in response to a public outcry against substance abuse and violence after recent, drug related murders of two young men, former graduates of Reading High. Angry, afraid and critical of police and school administration, residents wanted answers and action.

Town leadership, however, employed a strategy for addressing community concerns that departed from more traditional approaches – rather than hold a public meeting where people come to demand “solutions” from local officials and experts, leaders decided to slow down and take the time to help the community explore together the nature of substance abuse and violence in Reading, before addressing what is being/can be done.  

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Town of Reading Community Conversations Part 1:The Power of Community

September 30, 2011 by Deborah Gilburg

Town of Reading Community Conversations Part 1:The Power of Community

I was asked to facilitate a world café style, community conversation in my town in response to two recent drug-related murders that happened in August. The victims were young men, former Reading High grads. The news was a wake-up call for the community about substance abuse in our town and, more pointedly, in our youth. And, as is often the case when people are afraid, fingers were pointed at the police and the schools.

Reading, MA is a residential town 14 miles outside Boston. We have big houses here, lots of trees, good schools, low crime and high taxes. The people who live here are mostly white, middle class, and fairly conservative (by Massachusetts standards). And many settled down here thinking that they were avoiding issues like teen substance abuse and drug-related murders.

This story is not unique – communities throughout our nation wrestle with issues like this, and the “suburban blight” of teen substance abuse is not news – heck, it wasn’t news when I was in high school. But the way we are starting to talk about it might be. 

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