Connect People • Strengthen Leaders • Embrace the Future

Clients

Clients

We work with resourceful, committed leaders who:

  • Care, but may not have the answers
  • Have the courage to make systemic change, but aren’t sure where to begin or how to include others in the process
  • Understand the importance of people and relationships in bringing their visions to fruition

We support emerging and seasoned leaders and their teams in education, health care, nonprofit, government and corporate organizations.

Sample of Recent Clients:

  • USDA: Agricultural Research Service
  • USDA: Forest Service
  • Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development, City of Somerville
  • Boston University School of Social Work
  • Boston University School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology 
  • Boston Main Streets Coalition
  • American Seed Trade Association
  • Springfield Symphony Orchestra
  • Trustees of Reservations, MA

Sample of Past Clients

  • Stop and Shop
  • FDA: Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
  • Springfield Massachusetts Public Schools, LEAD Program
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Commerce
  • Small Business Administration
  • National Institutes of Science and Technology
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  • Association of Community Cancer Centers
  • U.S. Pharmacopoeia

Workshops & Presentations:

  • Fenway Alliance TEDx Conference
  • National Coalition for State Boards of Nursing
  • Women Presidents Organization
  • Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement
  • Pegasus Communication
  • Society for Information Management, Cleveland Chapter
  • TechServe Alliance
  • FM Global
  • NASA
  • Holyoke Community College
  • Elms College
     

GSA Contracts

GLI is currently a contractor on the General Services Administration (GSA) schedule. This contract can be accessed by any federal agency. 

Federal Contracting Information:

  • DUNS: 967303983
  • CAGE: 3T2B4
  • TIN: 203974785
  • GSA: 47QRAA18D0022

 

Download GLI GSA Catalogue

Diversity, Inclusion & Power

Authentic inclusion means taking an honest look at priviledge and power

For many years GLI’s focus has been to support our clients in taking a more inclusive and open stance with their stakeholders (especially employees) in an effort to solve the perplexing, complex, systemic problems facing their organizations.  Issues arising from resource deficiencies, knowledge loss, mission alignment, and workplace culture, for example, are best solved by the people with the problem—those who need to live with and adapt to the solutions.

It is increasingly clear to us that for an approach to be genuinely inclusive it must be informed by a deep exploration of the systemic realities of power inequities in our culture, especially in the realm of race, culture, and ethnicity.  Officially every organization we work with claims to follow equal opportunity hiring and promotion practices, and has extensive diversity programs aimed at creating more equity in the number of people in their organizations who identify with a certain race or ethnicity.  Though the numbers may be closer to our societal demographic, what is often missing is the recognition of where power and influence resides and where it doesn’t.

Exploration of where power resides in an organization in relation to race, ethnicity, gender, and many other dimensions is a complex and loaded topic.  Most people and, by extension, most organizations often choose to avoid or deny this topic because the content is painful to every group involved for different reasons and in different ways.  Or, more likely, when an issue with the slightest whiff of racial (or power inequity) content shows up, the tendency is to compartmentalize this issue as something that requires a separate, special approach (e.g. diversity training, EEO process, etc.).  However, in our experience, these kinds of “issues” are continuing to show up in a subtle and ubiquitous way.  The special approach to handling the issue is not addressing the issue.  So any “inclusive effort” that does not intentionally account for the realities of power inequities misses the mark for a large minority of people.

If an organization wants to maximize its alignment and impact around its mission and create systemic change that is effective and sustainable, how can it begin to do this without a deeper and more thorough understanding of the nature of power and influence and where it resides within their organization?  GLI is driven by a deep belief in the power of collective wisdom—the group’s ability to solve its own tough challenges. We are striving to foster ever more inclusive processes.  To do this well, we need to find ways to have the conversation about where power and influence resides.  And as four white people who have been raised in a society that hides and denies our own privilege, we know that  we have our own blind spots and assumtions, which may prevent us from effectively venturing into these topics with our clients.

But we do not want to stay where we are. As change catalysts, we are seeking to improve our understanding of these issues; to understand our own entitlement and illuminate our “blindness” to issues of power; and to develop a deeper understanding of what other groups and individuals are experiencing.  We are engaging in professional development to find ways to effectively venture into the dynamic and potentially volatile landscape of race, power, and priviledge. We are developing collaborative relationships with practitioners of color with a goal of diversifying our own ranks. And we are striving to bring a more robust definition and enactment of inclusion to the workplaces we serve and the communities we live in.  We see no other way through the challenges facing us.

If you are aware of these realities in your organization or community, and are seeking inroads to addressing them, we are poised to support that exploration and learning, with candor and compassion.  Again, we believe the path to lasting systemic solutions often winds through somewhat daunting terrain. We want to support leaders and catalysts in courageously facing and addressing the forces that prevent genuine inclusion of all the voices and perspectives needed to create meaningful change.

Changing Mindset

Upstream of changed behavior that lasts, is a changed mind.

There’s a reason so many diets and New Year’s resolutions fail to stick. It’s easy to set goals; it’s another thing altogether to meet our goals when doing so requires us literally to rewire our brains.  Our default “wiring” is what we call mindset; and it can affect our capacity to adapt, problem-solve and collaborate — even how we perceive the challenges in front of us.

Organizational cultures are deeply impacted by the prevailing collective mindset. Mindset determines the actions of and expectations for leaders, followers and stakeholders. Self-reinforcing by definition, mindsets tend to maintain the status quo, even when change is needed or desired. For example, if we see ourselves as authorities, experts or solution-providers, we may find it difficult to listen to divergent viewpoints, respond creatively to changing conditions, or truly collaborate with others. Changing how things are done, how we view our work, or how we measure success requires changing our mindset.

Working with mindset means meeting people where they’re starting from, acknowledging the mindset currently at play by making it visible to all. When individuals and groups take time to illuminate and define the mindsets behind their current thinking and behavior, they are better able to determine whether these mindsets are serving a mutual purpose or goal, what limitations they may present, and what shifts will be required.

GLI understands how to shift mindsets. The learning and discovery that occurs as a result of our approach can broaden both individual and collective perspectives, altering how participants see themselves and each other in relation to the purpose at hand. Our process helps participants draw from the collective wisdom in the room — to which they have contributed —in order to see the greater whole of what is, and what’s needed, what’s holding us back, and what’s possible going forward.

 

Services that Support Changing Mindset

GLI offers several high-leverage, targeted services that support leaders, teams, organizations and communities in identifying the collective mindsets that underpin their current reality, and what they can do to get more of the results they want. Explore the links below to learn more about the different ways we can help. 

Workshops & Events

Workshops & Events

Interactive presentations that accelerate collective learning

In addition to our many services, GLI designs, facilitates and provides Graphic Recording for a variety of workshops, meetings, conferences and events. Our interactive, collaborative programs promote inclusive conversation, invite diverse perspectives, build relationships, draw upon the collective knowledge of the participants, and generate shared learning about the topics and skills that matter most.

In addition to custom programming, GLI facilitators are accomplished practitioners of The World Café and Open Space Technology methodologies.

In partnership with you, GLI will assess your needs and goals and how to best meet them; then design an experience—as brief as a few hours to a full day or more—that participants will remember and apply.

  

Innovation Networks

Innovation Networks

When we need to innovate, networks are the answer

The demands of our rapidly changing and increasingly interdependent workplaces require innovative, adaptive approaches for assessing what’s needed to accomplish our work. How we organize can make a difference in the quality—and timeliness—of the output.

Traditional hierarchical and bureaucratic organizational forms have been useful for maintaining stability and optimizing institutionalized practices and approaches, but they lack the agility to respond quickly in the face of complex challenges, tending by their nature to be slow, even resistant, to change.

Networks, on the other hand, are organizational structures that can form and reform quickly in response to a clear collective purpose. Networks can connect diverse individuals and groups within and between organizations, and are excellent for building relationships, spurring innovation, piloting ideas and getting work done quickly.

Leaders can not only prioritize the issues or goals their organization addresses, but, depending on their level of influence, may be able to choose how people will organize to get the work done. Building network-like structures within the workforce can compliment existing hierarchies. By engaging diverse groups to explore, experiment, and testing ideas and assumptions regarding emerging challenges, leaders can increase operational and organizational flexibility.

GLI helps leaders know when and how to create and use productive networks in their organizations.

While networks can be flexible, they require members to recognize or identify a shared purpose that unites their actions, even if only for a particular project or initiative.

Innovation networks can:

  • Tap knowledge from the field to quickly assess what’s needed, what’s working and where high-leverage opportunities might exist
  • Increase communication flow up, down and across hierarchical structures and boundaries
  • Enable diverse teams to work together to collect and make meaning of data, trends and patterns in service to organizational challenges and goals
  • Respond quickly to challenges that require innovative solutions
  • Design and implement experiments to test assumptions and pilot ideas before institutionalizing changes within organizations

Coaching Leaders

Coaching Leaders

Leaders deserve high-quality support.

In today’s organizations few leaders can afford merely to master their own personal leadership style. Increasing diversity in the workforce, speed of change, and demand for more inclusive and collaborative decisions and work—all require more flexibility and strength from today’s leaders. On the one hand, in order to draw out the best from your people and to successfully navigate these challenging times, you must have the flexibility to adapt. On the other hand, to garner trust and credibility you must know what you stand for and remain true to yourself.

Under pressure, it is hard to manage this balance.  Without support it is even more difficult.

Star athletes have personal coaches, often several, helping them hone each aspect of their game. We think leaders deserve the same.

GLI’s master leader coaches can help you develop both your flexibility and your strength.  If you need to stretch—to try new behaviors, create new habits, adapt and evolve as a leader—we can help.  If you need to tap your strengths—your sense of purpose, your deep values, your vision or your passion—we can help there, too.

Our coaching clients develop simple yet powerful practices that leverage their natural strengths or ease them into new territory and skills. Our one-on-one coaching sessions are completely confidential and tailored to our clients’ specific needs and goals.

Developing Leaders

Developing Leaders

Developing Leaders for a Changing World

  • What is the current leadership culture in your organization and how effective is it?
  • What are the skills and attributes that underlie effective leadership? Are they part of your culture?
  • What styles of leadership are being called for at this time?

We believe these are vital questions. We know effective leadership is happening when organizations are aligned from top to bottom with their values and purpose—with that clarity comes a sense of what is needed (skills and attributes) by leaders and decision makers at every level.

GLI knows how to help organizations discover and create collective understanding of their leadership needs. Our partnership with you continues as we co-create the training, ongoing support, reinforcement practices, and metrics that will elevate performance and evaluate leadership success.

We are experts in creating high-trust, accelerated adult learning environments. We understand the core elements to developing adept leadership habits. We help participants collectively highlight the wisdom, expertise and strategies needed to be successful. They are guided to understand their own strengths, limitations, style preferences and biases that can support or interfere with their leadership.  Our cost effective programs always include either group or individual follow up to help participants cement learning, identify challenges, and make needed adjustments.

Below are examples of leadership development programs we have co-created with organizations.


Leader-as-Convener Workshops:

Leader-as-Convener

This practical, hands-on, three-day workshop is designed for leaders and influencers who want to learn collaborative leadership tools that engage and activate diverse stakeholders—both internal and external.

The nature of the interdependent challenges in so many workplace environments requires that leaders—present and future, from all levels and backgrounds—generate shared commitment byemployees and stakeholders to address critical issues in sustainable, inclusive ways.Convening tools enable more fulfilling, concerted and resilient performance. Bringing their ‘live’ issues into the workshop, participants experience and practice adaptable methodologies for facilitating group cohesion, accessing knowledge from the field, and easing conflict and overwhelm—all ultimately leading to wiser decision-making in service of the whole.

Participants explore a new leadership mode well suited to addressing the adaptive challenges facing many organizations today, and begin to lay the strategic steppingstones for a more satisfying and enduring way of working together in the future.

Learn more about this program.

Leader-as-Convener 2: The Convener's Experience

This training program is designed for leaders and influencers who have participated in the Leader-as-Convener Workshop (LCW) and who want to deepen their understanding of and skill in using convening approaches and practices. The LCW 2: The Convener’s Experience (LCW 2)  offers a deeper exploration of both the fundamental architecture that undergirds convening methodologies, and the self-awareness and self-management skills needed to work in emergent learning environments.

 The LCW 2 training program will encourage participants to expand and strengthen their convening design and facilitation skills, think strategically about a convening project or event, connect with a cohort of practitioner peers in the Forest Service, and learn about the “inner game” of convening by deepening awareness of personal biases, beliefs and default responses to stress.

Learn more about this program.


Leadership Laboratory

This program is designed to help senior and mid-level managers elevate and refine their leadership practices. The Leadership Lab helps leaders to:

  • Increase their competence, confidence and courage in these challenging and complex times
  • Amplify personal strengths, peer networking, and team collaboration opportunities to tackle difficult and imminent organizational challenges
  • Promote sustainable leadership through self-care and personal mastery
  • Cultivate higher levels of thinking and wiser decision-making at every level of the organization

Path to Leadership Lab

This program is for emerging leaders within the organization. In addition to learning about their own strenghts and limitations, participants have the opportunity as a cohort to share, reflect upon, and internalize what they are learning about leadership in their organization or industry, from various assignments, projects, experiences, executive interviews, and/or mentor relationships.

Designed to address pre-identified needs and desired outcomes, the Path to Leadership Lab can become an essential component in an organization's succession plan.


Leadership Development

Leadership Development

Reflective and Resilient Leaders Foster Resilient and Innovative Teams

We believe the most effective leaders walk their talk.  If you want your organization or team to be adaptive, self-correcting, communicative, open to feedback, and innovative, your personal modeling of these traits is likely the most influence you can have over that outcome. The single reason most change efforts fail to take hold is that leaders absent themselves from the process. Investing in your own learning and growth sends a powerful message to others that you count yourself in the equation when it comes to managing change.

We offer development programs and executive coaching that help veteran and emerging leaders and influencers to be successful in our changing, complex workplaces.

Developing Leaders

  • To learn more about GLI's programs for leaders and influencers

Coaching Leaders

  • To learn more about executive coaching and leadership support

Works In Progress

Life Cycle of Systems

GT 2018 Workbook

MTNF Resource Book

Graphic Recording

Graphic Recording

A visual record makes a lasting impact

GLI’s methodologies tap into both the left and right hemispheres of our brains. We believe that the important work we help our clients to do warrants them putting their whole brain into the effort!

Much of what is done in the workplace—scheduling, organization, analysis, technical communication, and serial processing—leverages the left-brain.  Many organizations find it difficult to consistently tap their people’s right brain. This can mean missing out on such right-hemisphere strengths such as creativity, metaphor, imagination, synthesis and quickly making meaning from complex information. Apparently, the two sides of our brain also process differently when it comes to emotions; scientists studying the two hemispheres believe that fear and anxiety originate from the left-brain, with joy and peace originating in the right-brain.

 We have found that creating a visual “map” or artifact of a team activity as it unfolds can be profoundly useful in organizing information, as it engages both hemispheres of the brain. After working with a group, instead of sending them several pages of notes, we provide a visually stimulating graphic record. In a quick glance, participants recall the important conversations, key themes and outcomes, and are instantly reminded of the impact of the experience.

How Do I Build Trust and Engage Others?

What we are observing about Trust:

In our experience, in many organizations the overall level of trust among employees and between them and their leaders is very low.  When trust is low, it becomes increasingly difficult for people to engage, collaborate and work together effectively, which in turn erodes the long-term productivity and viability of the organization.

Contributing factors:

Leaders who want to build trust among their people can start by acknowledging several contributing factors:

  1. The gap in “truths.” Frequently, there is a gap between what leaders/organizations declare to be their policies and practices—“the official truth”—and what people actually experience at work—“the ground truth.” For example, in one organization, work-life balance is broadly promoted as a value of the company, but employees who seek flexible hours are told that their careers may suffer. In another organization leadership behavior is formally encouraged and developed programmatically, but peer leaders are evaluated and rewarded only for their technical performance versus leadership accomplishments. In short, when organizations do not honor what they claim to do for their employees, people notice and trust erodes.
  2. Bad actors. Public perception of leaders in all sectors is extremely poor due to the proliferation of high profile, executive-level scandals, scams, politial intrigue and corporate crime. Today’s leader inherits this perception, deserved or not, and must earn the trust of others to overcome it.
  3. No dedicated time. The high-tech, 24/7, competitive nature of the American workplace has created a culture in which there is little time, opportunity, or obvious incentive for people to build healthy interpersonal relationships. Such trust and engagement enhancing activities are often viewed by management as a waste of time because workers aren’t ’producing.’

What is needed:

Employee engagement is predicated on trust, and trust doesn’t just happen. It is built, earned, demonstrated and reciprocated. We see trust as comprised of three key elements, each of which can be applied at the interpersonal and organizational level:

  • Keeping Agreements/Accountability
  • Self-disclosure/Transparency
  • Common values/Mission

The greatest levels of trust are experienced where these three elements overlap.

When trust is high, people are more willing to work together to find solutions to commonly felt problems. They have greater capacity to weather and overcome the inevitable disagreements and obstacles they will face. They can build dynamic networks, amplify their influence, and collaborate across boundaries to address larger-scale issues. Effective collaboration generates better ideas and more inclusive and sustainable outcomes. And organizations that enjoy robust collaboration become more resilient, adaptive, and better poised to thrive in unpredictable times.

Examples of actions leaders and teams can take that build trust and engagement include:

  • Creating agreements that clarify roles, responsibilities and how people will hold each other accountable
  • Telling the truth and making it OK for others to do so
  • Intentionally seeking out ways to close the gap between the “official truth” and the “ground truth” within one’s organization
  • Making important information and decision-making processes transparent to all
  • Inviting participation and feedback from employees on key policy initiatives and decisions that will impact them
  • Exploring what values and goals are shared by people within the organization, and uniting around and planning for shared gain
  • Aligning organizational mission to reflect the shared values and goals of the people in the organization

What we offer:

GLI is adept at working with people—individuals, teams of any size, large organizations, and stakeholder groups. We know how to create replicable processes and programs that build relational capacity and are aligned with the objectives of our clients. 

The outcomes of our work include:

  • Clients experience working together in ways that elevate trust and interpersonal skills
  • They collectively understand and commit to the roles, responsibilities and processes that will help them grow capacity and produce high-quality work
  • Employee engagement increases as trust rises
  • Clients have clear, realistic actions they can employ right away to increase interpersonal skills and improve performance
  • The work culture starts to support the visions and goals of the organization when trust, engagement and inclusion become the bedrock for how action plans are developed and executed

Learn more about GLI service offerings.

How Do We Get Better At Collaborating?

What we are observing about Collaboration:

Collaboration is a sophisticated skill that asks people who work together to look beyond personal interests towards outcomes benefiting the whole. Collaboration is a great way to address complex, adaptive challenges, since it has the potential to tap communal creativity and unleash true innovation and earn genuine buy-in.

Despite an increasing desire for collaboration in the workplace and the prolific use of this buzzword, effective collaboration is a challenge in many work environments. Often, people are:

  • Working independently, isolated in their silos of expertise
  • In units or teams where competitive behavior is the norm
  • Hoarding knowledge and resources - fearful of losing their jobs or their relevance, and thus suspicious of others
  • Excluding those who are ‘different,’ be those differences cultural, racial, generational or gender based
  • Hostile (overt or passive-aggressive) to perceived competitors: using argument, needless debate, gossip, character attacks, power plays and ultimatums to meet their own needs while ignoring or devaluing the needs of others
  • Cynical and skeptical of new leadership initiatives and thus focusing on protecting self-interests versus investing in organizational goals

Contributing factors to these behaviors:

The most elemental contributor to the behaviors listed above is the human brain and its instinctual responses to emotional stimuli. Our growing understanding of brain science has revealed that in prolonged, high-stress environments, humans tend to experience a reduced capacity for creative, strategic thought and collaborative action.

  • “Redline Behavior” -  Responses to Stress: Research has revealed that prolonged, low level feelings of anxiety, stress and powerlessness (gradients of fear and anger) can force the human psyche to respond with primitive survival behaviors similar to those of reptiles. Insidious and contagious, these feelings and corresponding “fight/flight” behaviors can infect a workplace and the people in it. These “redline behaviors” (as we call them) are the antithesis of collaboration. They limit our capacity for collective, creative problem solving as they increase distrust of others and draw forth our most primitive survival responses. In a modern day workplace, these responses show up as behaviors that include: avoiding emails and phone calls, knowledge hoarding, making ultimatums, competing internally for resources and status, callous gossiping, suspicion and distrust of others, etc.
  • Growing need for Interpersonal Skills: In addition to our behavioral responses to stress, our workplaces are changing, becoming ever more diverse and interconnected, calling for leaders and employees to become more skillful in building relationships, discovering compatibilities within difference, and promoting inclusive work environments. Proficiency in these skills requires time, attention, practice and reinforcement to take hold.  For many organizations there is too little focus on the relational aspects of working together, particularly in those with predominantly “redline” work environments.

What is needed:

Motivated leaders with limited time/resources can have the greatest leverage for change by focusing on the underlying systemic conditions rather than the surface symptoms. In our experience, teaching people to collaborate in a classroom or online will have limited results if the emotional tenor of their workplace is not addressed.  Despite good intentions, people generally revert to old behaviors when they return to an unchanged work environment. Again, the ways a leader might change a “redline” environment and increase cooperative outcomes can be found in modern brain research and behavioral modification methodologies.

  • “Greenline Behavior” - Responses to Bonding: Unlike reptiles, human beings also have the ability to bond through shared feelings of joy and grief (and gradients of these emotions: camaraderie, compassion, etc.).  Historically, this survival skill has allowed people to cooperate when confronting challenges that affect the whole community (group, organization, industry). What is less known is that this instinctual bonding occurs not because of the event itself, but through the shared emotions we experience in response to it (shared grief/pain, joy/gain, fear/anger). It is in this state of felt connection that humans bond; when feelings are shared, trust increases, fear subsides, hope emerges, and true collaboration can occur. Thus, “greenline” experiences become the gateway to optimizing our executive brain function, the neocortex—the seat of creative, strategic, and innovative thought. “Greenline” experiences are interactive, communal, compassionate and supportive. They tend to occur in groups that set aside time for: meaningful dialog about values; sharing interests and passions; naming the ground truth; honoring losses; and celebrating successes.

    When leaders invest in routine “greenline” experiences, there is often an increase in collaborative-supporting behaviors, like:
    • Displays of camaraderie and willingness to help others
    • Open expressions of diverse ideas and perspectives
    • Spontaneous examples of cooperation & creativity to address immediate issues
    • Improved aptitude for listening to the viewpoints of others
    • Willingness to share knowledge and generate ideas for mutual gain/success
    • Clarity and rigor around strategic, long-term planning efforts
    • Laughter, honest conversation and greater acceptance of differences in others

 

  • Developing New Behaviors—practice, practice, practice: New behaviors will only become habits if they are practiced and reinforced regularly. Our conduct tends to be automatic and routine, so establishing new habits and behaviors takes discipline and focus (e.g. health related exercise routines). Basic skills can be taught, but the real value comes from opportunities to practice and reflect upon those experiences with others—the failures and successes. Leaders who want to see greater collaboration in their teams/organizations must make time for people to identify and deliberately practice desired behaviors and activities to make collaboration a regular part of the job. Since collaboration implies working with others, many of the needed behaviors are relational, and require improved capacity to include and interact effectively with diverse groups of people.

What we offer:

GLI facilitators are expert in human dynamics, and understand how to access and leverage our innate human capacity to bond with others in order to reach for something greater than ourselves. We facilitate participatory, highly interactive experiences with our clients that yield:

  • An engaged and connected workforce
  • Clear, common understanding of the challenges and opportunities being faced by the organization
  • Powerful, collective, strategic thinking about ways to mitigate the challenges and maximize the opportunities
  • Concerted action in service of important goals
  • Long term culture change aligned with client desires

Learn more about our service offerings.

Also see our listing of Resources & Publications for more information.

GLI Fees - How We Charge Our Clients

We believe that this work is both challenging and necessary and we work with you to establish customized program offerings that are highly relevant, appropriate for the outcomes you desire, and meet your budget realities.

For that reason we will strive to fully understand what you want and what resources you have to work with before we quote a price.

Our prices are fair, highly competitive, and based on the work that needs doing prior to, during and after a program or service offering.  Once a scope and price is established, we will commit to whatever is necessary to complete the work to your satisfaction —whether that means assigning more staff resources, or initiating additional engagements or interactions with you.

The first step is a conversation, which is free.  Contact us!

Creating Collaborative Cultures

Creating Collaborative Cultures

Collaborative cultures foster durable solutions

Our capacity to collaborate productively with others—employees, peers, stakeholders, customers, even competitors—is swiftly becoming a keystone skill for thriving in our increasingly interdependent and diverse workplaces we’ve created. 

Despite the buzzwords, most organizational cultures lean heavily toward competition as the norm. These cultures are often fueled by a belief that a competitive environment will adrenalize us to strive harder for success. But this approach has limitations, especially in times of rapid change and great uncertainty – we need the engagement and cooperation of diverse stakeholders in order to generate adaptive, enduring solutions. The times call for our human capacity to be greater than the sum of its parts.

GLI can help leaders foster collaborative cultures. Collaboration is a sophisticated mindset, allowing people who work together to attend not only to personal interests, but also to outcomes benefiting the whole. Collaboration is also a set of behaviors, requiring practice and reinforcement in order to be performed skillfully on a regular basis. GLI can jump start a shift in mindset by helping groups explore collectively, in structured, inclusive, and self-directed learning environments: the nature of the challenges they face; the potential benefit of and possible obstacles to greater cooperation; and opportunities to experiment and practice — all while experiencing collaborative behaviors that foster strong relational interactions and adaptive problem-solving skills.

We work with leaders to identify targeted, high-leverage, and cost effective opportunities to embed and reinforce a more engaged, collaborative culture, leading to benefits that include:

  • Greater clarity for all involved about what is needed for the organization (and its people) to thrive over the next 20 years
  • Strategic, comprehensive planning that supports systemic success in the long-term
  • Inclusive, wise decision-making that benefits the whole
  • Fresh thinking and innovative solutions for vexing challenges that impact the system
  • Efficient, concerted actions in service of shared, measurable goals
  • Effective time management
  • Increased autonomy and personal accountability among staff
  • Stronger relationships and a heightened sense of collective purpose.

 

Our Family Story

We are often asked, “How is it that three siblings came to work together in this business?”  The short answer is that we each joined our father’s consulting business in our own fashion after pursuing varied careers where each of us tended towards leadership, facilitation and problem solving opportunities.  As the family business became a viable option, we each joined, bringing that diverse background and experience base to the table.

There is a longer, deeper answer to this question that stems from our family history.  We were mostly raised by our father, Alan Gilburg, whose life’s work has always been (and still is) to heal the world.  As a youth worker, a pastor, an international educator, and an organizational consultant, Alan has always demonstrated a deep commitment to his vocation.

As children we coped with the challenges we faced, sometimes alone and often together as a team.  We learned some strategies for how to be safe and make the most of hard and sometimes, painful situations.  Our childhood strategies for dealing with complexity worked well enough into our adulthood.  But, as siblings and co-workers we had to find ways to bring our best to the work we do without getting side tracked by our old childhood “stories”.  This was and is a process of speaking truthfully to one another about how we are “showing up”.  The inner and interpersonal work we have done with one another has been both challenging and liberating.  This effort has strengthened our adult relationships and allowed us to be more fully present and bring the gifts we possess individually and collectively to our vocations.

We are all highly attuned to people—what they are doing and saying, how they might feel, and what they most need from themselves and others.  Our own experience of creating a strong family team has enabled us to effectively guide groups of people in their efforts at creating a stronger professional team. The candor, apprehension, and personal risk-taking that can accompany Team Alignment are places of comfort, ease, and personal experience for us.

Ultimately, we hold a strong belief, borne of our own childhood experience, that as a people, we possess the capacity to better ourselves and our situations.  We can discover the answers. We see our life’s work as being guides to those willing to seek the answers to complex challenges, answers that can be found within themselves and the people who surround them.  We are experts at working with people, and as consultants we help leaders and teams foster the trust and communication skill, or “relational capacity,” and the commitment to specific practices, that enable them to act on the knowledge they possess to do the work that desperately needs doing.

So our story brings us to your story. We imagine, like many people, you might be experiencing tricky challenges with your current work environment.  Perhaps you can see that the only route to sustained success lies in the tensile strength and capacity of your team, unit, department, division, and/or organization  to effectively collaborate together.  But despite knowing this, you might be left with the question, “How do I accomplish that?” Regardless of why you are reading this and what you are facing, we believe that the path to your desired future is best walked with a guide who is familiar with the terrain.  We are experts in the rocky, murky landscape that accompany human relationships, and we have experienced the remarkable power that surfaces when compassion and purpose are brought to those relationships. It has been the bedrock of our sustained success. It is a dominant theme to our story. 

What is your story?  What is the theme to your story?  What would you like it to be?  We have helped many individuals and groups write new chapters to their stories; chapters that read the way they want them to read, not the way they have always been. Perhaps we can support you.  Please contact us.

Innovation Thrives in a culture of collaboration

Innovation Thrives in a culture of collaboration

Innovative ideas become real solutions when developed collaboratively

By definition an innovation is something new, original and significant – it helps us solve problems or break into new modes or markets.

Creativity and innovation often emerge amidst the chaos of uncertainty, responding to the tensions created by changes in structure, knowledge, need, perception and meaning. However, these same tensions can trigger fear of change, keeping us hunkered down in habitual thinking, relying on “tried and true” approaches. To think differently about a challenge—creatively, innovatively—we often need our individual perspectives pushed, challenged or altered. Before we can be open to new thinking, we may need to understand the limits of our current thinking.

Thoughtful inquiry with diverse perspectives is key to pushing the boundaries of our understanding. As social beings, working together to identify and test assumptions, and explore limitations and illuminate blind spots, increase our capacity to internalize and integrate what we learn. When shared and shaped with others, new and creative ideas are more easily turned into action. The shaping and implementation of innovative ideas relies upon the collaboration skills of those vested in the outcomes.

Fostering a culture of collaboration requires a shift in how people work, generate solutions and engage stakeholders. A sophisticated skill, collaboration asks people to work across traditional boundaries, moving away from siloed thinking to attend not only to personal interests but to outcomes benefiting the whole. Done well, collaboration has the potential to tap communal creativity and unleash true innovation and concerted action.

Services that Support Innovation and Collaboration

GLI offers several high-leverage, targeted services that support leaders, teams, organizations and communities in discovering innovative solutions through practiced collaboration. Explore the links below to learn more about the different ways we can help. 

Teams Flow when they learn to adapt

Teams Flow when they learn to adapt

Resilient, adaptive teams are high performing teams

The demands on today’s teams in increasingly complex and interdependent workplaces require an enhanced capacity for accurately assessing and rapidly responding to changing conditions, fluctuating priorities, and the day-to-day tensions that result. In this environment, exceptional team communication and collaboration skills are vital.

Adapting to changing and uncertain conditions in a dynamic, cohesive manner can be challenging for teams who struggle with frayed relationships, internal rivalry, limited perspectives, ambiguity about purpose, and/or a lack of collective clarity about roles, responsibilities and decision-making. Progress can feel obstructed and disjointed, escalating existing tensions and compounding pressures to perform. These conditions tend to undermine cooperation and thwart agile and responsive performance.

GLI understands how teams learn to adapt. When leaders and teams take time to strengthen relationships, include diverse perspectives, clarify goals and roles, and consider the best way to accomplish important work together, they can adapt more resiliently to uncertain conditions, and dramatically increase organizational performance and efficiency, keeping information, knowledge, and resources flowing in the right directions.

Services that Support Adaptive Teams

GLI offers several high-leverage, targeted services that support leaders and their teams in developing collaborative systems and relationships needed for high performance, responsiveness and adaptability within changing and uncertain work environments. Explore the links below to learn more about the different ways we can help. 

Leaders Succeed When They Invite Participation

Leaders Succeed When They Invite Participation

By engaging others in defining challenges and exploring solutions leaders generate wiser decisions

Leaders today are overseeing workplace environments often characterized by rapid change, competing priorities, increasing diversity, tight budgets, mounting pressures, and urgent timeframes. Complex challenges such as these call for greater innovation and collaboration.  People need to make collective meaning of what they are experiencing, so they can adapt and respond quickly with wiser decisions that benefit the whole.

To succeed in this environment, leaders will need the participation and shared commitment of the employees and stakeholders who will ultimately be asked to change the way they perceive problems, think about solutions, and how they work. Commitment to change does not occur as a result of leadership edicts, re-orgs, or the imposition of large-scale, top-down change initiatives. It arises when leaders invest precious time to have inclusive, important conversations that strengthen relationships, generate fresh thinking and restore trust among the people who need to be on board.

GLI can help leaders tap into the innate wisdom and motivation of those vested in the organization in order to employ a strategy for long-term success. When leaders invite participation they are better able to:

  • Foster increased collaboration across programs, departments, and stakeholder groups
  • Build greater levels of trust amongst staff, encouraging innovation and creativity
  • Increase capacity for managing uncertainty and adapting to change
  • Promote more communication and interaction internally and externally, across the organization, in order to leverage collective knowledge
  • Cultivate leadership, adaptability and resiliency at all levels of the organization

Services that Support Successful Participation

GLI offers several high-leverage, targeted services that support leaders in their efforts to invite greater internal and external participation for solving the adaptive challenges many organizations face. Explore the links below to learn more about the different ways we can help. 

Contact Us

We encourage you to ask for what you want. Please contact us with your needs, dilemmas and desires. GLI will design an approach that includes your perspective, talents and resources in combination with our expertise of what works well. We will always let you know what we can and cannot do.

Gilburg Leadership Incorporated:

Holyoke Office
110 Lincoln Street
Holyoke, MA 01040
(413) 534-6934

Reading Office
103 Oak Street
Reading, MA 01867
(781) 944-3474

info@gilburgleadership.com

Or email us individually:

   Deborah Gilburg

   Joseph DiCenso

    Amy Gilburg

   Jonathan Gilburg

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Services

We strive to meet our clients where they are starting from and help them to move toward the goals and outcomes they desire.

While these outcomes may vary depending on the needs of the client, in all our work GLI provides the following fundamental benefits to leaders, teams, organizations and/or communities:

  • Collective clarity about the current reality, the challenges and what may be required to achieve desired outcomes
  • More insightful and innovative thinking
  • Stronger relationships, greater trust and more inclusion
  • Broader perspective and more comprehensive understanding of the issues at hand
  • Heightened awareness of and comfort with the “rules” of change
  • Stronger understanding of the dynamics of people – the underlying systems, motivators and stressors that promote or inhibit change
  • Greater capacity for informed and strategic vs. reactive decision-making
  • More flexibility and resiliency in the face of uncertainty
  • Increased capacity to learn through experimentation, reflection and feedback
  • Greater alignment around what matters most

To that end, we offer a variety of services, workshops and presentations to help your business.

Cultures Shift When People Connect

Cultures Shift When People Connect

GLI understands how to foster change

Many believe that changing organizational culture starts with a new vision, mission or org chart. In fact, culture change is much more systemic and complex, and cannot be successfully accomplished without engaging the people whose behavior, assumptions and perspectives collectively define the existing culture. People need to change in order for their culture to change.

Leaders cannot change organizational culture by directive or command. For groups to undergo genuine culture change, people must feel included, valued, engaged, and connected — connected to a higher purpose, the need for change, and most importantly, to one another in order to take cohesive action. When we align with the bigger purpose and bond as a collective – whether a team, department, organization or community – we are better able to make the changes that benefit the whole.

GLI facilitators are experts in human dynamics, and understand how to access and leverage our innate human capacity to bond with others in order to reach for something greater than ourselves. We facilitate participatory, highly interactive experiences with our clients that yield:

  • An engaged and connected workforce
  • A clear, shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities being faced by the organization
  • Powerful, collective, strategic thinking about ways to mitigate the challenges and maximize the opportunities
  • Concerted action in service to important goals
  • Long-term culture change aligned with client desires

Services that Support Culture Change

GLI offers several high-leverage, targeted services that support leaders, teams and communities in their efforts to create more innovative, collaborative, sustaining cultures. Explore the links below to learn more about the different ways we can help.

Aligning Leaders & Teams

Aligning Leaders & Teams

Adaptive, high-performing teams know how to collaborate

In an increasingly complex and interdependent workplace, the need for exceptional communication and collaboration skills in and among teams is becoming vital. Organizational performance and efficiency can be tied directly to how well project and leadership teams collectively understand the goals, and work together adaptively to keep information and knowledge flowing in the right directions.

What are the behaviors of high functioning teams, and more importantly, how do we begin to routinely foster these behaviors?

In our experience, high functioning teams:

  • Have a collective understanding of their purpose, goals, roles and responsibilities
  • Have understanding, compassion and strategies for each individual team member’s strengths, limitations, and style preferences
  • Have efficient and inclusive meetings
  • Make clear, commonly understood decisions and action plans
  • Practice accountability by recording and disseminating decisions, action plans, etc. and follow up on implementation status
  • Respectfully vocalize the ground truth about their current reality and desired future
  • Attend to the long-term success and viability of their organization (strategy, vision, opportunities, strengthening relationships, and connections to stakeholders)
  • Tackle the pressing adaptive challenges within the team and organization

GLI works with clients and their teams to understand what is needed, and the underlying drivers of their current experience. We facilitate practical, cost-effective meetings and retreats that focus on desired outcomes and create lasting change. We know how to set leaders and their team up for long term success. 

About Us

We are a second generation, family- owned consulting firm dedicated to helping leaders and their teams understand, value and benefit from their greatest resource —their people. We are masters at designing and creating transformative, collaborative learning environments in which people can do their work. We are fluent in emergence—adaptable, comfortable with improvisation, and skilled at responding to the needs that arise in the moment. By engaging people from many levels of the organziation, we help groups define, build and maintain more inclusive and sustainable workplace cultures. 

When asking others to change, we believe personal accountability requires that we must start with ourselves. Our personal histories have equipped us with the knowledge and tools to help others find their true north, and bring excitement and meaning to the vital work that is called for today.

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Gilburg Leadership Incorporated | Connect People. Strengthen Leaders. Embrace the Future.

We believe the future is calling for leaders to think differently about their jobs.

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