What's New

Weiss Consulting has exciting endeavors to report!

 

HOW TO DESIGN MEETINGS
Presentations include APA Annual Conference

Lonnie Weiss and Nancy Aronson presented principles for designing meetings that elicit collaboration to MAFN, the MidAtlantic Facilitators Network in Washington, D.C. This workshop draws from Nancy Aronson and Gil Steil, Jr.’s “The Collaboration Imperative” master class. Facilitators generally do careful meeting design before facilitating a group. We make the case for even more exquisite attention to the designer role in facilitation.
Lonnie presented some of the same design for collaboration principles in Boston at the American Planning Association 2011 Annual Conference. Her presentation garnered multiple expressions of appreciation. Many planners said they were gratified that things they sense instinctively were articulated and validated by a professional facilitator.

 

POLARITY MAPPING METHODS
Guest lecturer at Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania

Polarity Management teaches that some problems cannot be solved by selecting one option over another. In fact, some recurring or intractable problems are polarities, interdependent elements that are both necessary for success. Making a polarity map can reveal how to benefit from the upsides of each pole, minimize the downsides of each, and shift nimbly to maintain a healthy balance.

Lonnie Weiss has taught the tool of Polarity Mapping to her colleagues at Praxis Consulting Group and as a guest lecturer at Nancie Zane’s NonProfit Leadership course at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Recently she taught and applied Polarity Mapping in a strategy session at a Coalition Leadership Forum for the US Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women.

Weiss Consulting creates customized learning programs in Polarity Mapping and in Appreciative Inquiry, and for basic and advanced facilitation skills including individualized coaching and mentoring. We design short sessions and extended programs in the principles, competencies and methods to design and facilitate working groups, and in practical tools to resolve persistent problems.


STRATEGIC PLANNING INITIATIVES
Recent consulting projects focus on collaborative strategic planning events in groups representing distinct and diverse interests.

  • North Penn Community Health Foundation
    A local foundation wanted to leverage the strengths of four separate not-for-profit agencies with overlapping service areas and clients. The foundation sponsored a study of potential collaboration and co-location. Weiss Consulting designed and facilitated several planning meetings with the four Executive Directors and Board Chairs, who documented their collective assets and the benefits of collaborating. We then designed and facilitated a Four Board Summit where the four boards decided to continue the exploration, which remains in progress.
  • Drexel University
    The new President introduced a challenge: strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship at this institution with deep roots in practical and applied research. Weiss Consulting designed and facilitated a two day planning summit of cross-departmental leaders. They explored current elements of innovation policy and practice and created a shared vision of a more seamlessly integrated approach and action plan. Two leaders of that summit have been tapped to chair a next step initiative.
  • Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance
    This multi-disciplinary group of developers, government agency representatives, planners, architects, environmental advocates and others are dedicated to promoting thoughtful development patterns in the region. Weiss Consulting designed and facilitated a planning retreat where these local leaders refined the organization’s strategic priorities.
  • Dovetail
    Weiss Consulting collaborated with Dovetail, a St. Louis based strategic design firm, to design a way to engage health care leaders in a serious and open conversation about health care reform. Our design invited board members in a large health care system to forge a new path honoring both their business needs and their community-oriented values, and to define a reasoned stance on health care reform. Our goal was to frame a difficult discussion in the most positive terms possible and to move mindsets.
  • Vision of Hope
    The Board of this child abuse prevention project took a full day to develop a strategic vision that will carry them from early action to more thoughtfully developed strategy. Weiss Consulting designed and led this retreat for this Pennsylvania-based national initiative.
  • Office on Violence Against Women, US Department of Justice
    How do sister organizations that have long competed for funding and attention return to their shared roots? Weiss Consulting designed and led a summit to reframe and refocus state coalition leaders on their shared goals and ways to communicate the strengths of their uniqueness as well as their unity.

 

CAREER COACHING WITH APPRECIATIVE INQUIRY

When confronted with the opportunity to make a career change, why not build upon what you love to do and are good at, articulate your desires, and craft a plan on these foundations? Lonnie Weiss co-developed Appreciative Career Coaching, a variation on Appreciative Inquiry, and offers individual and group consulting for professionals choosing or challenged to change their work.


COLLABORATION CASE BOOK
Deep Lessons on Collaboration: How Collaboration Really Works

This case book, edited by Patrick Sanaghan and Nancy Aronson, includes the story of our innovative public engagement work on the Penns Neck Area Environmental Impact Statement in Princeton, NJ. The Penns Neck project, described briefly on this site, forged alliances and overcame animosity among many community groups who shared a congested roadway. This casebook has been distributed to local chamber of commerce members. Please contact us for more information, or order from Orders@Xlibris.com.

 

PARTICIPATORY VALUES AT WORK

Sam Kaner and colleagues at Community At Work, a San Francisco-based consulting firm, teach facilitation skills and other courses in putting participatory values into practice. Lonnie is learning their approach and highly recommends their programs and their book, Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, 2007, Jossey-Bass.

 

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