"We were honored with the skillful leadership, focus, insight, finesse and elegance with which you facilitated the conference.  Collaboration is a difficult topic and the willingness of the participants to enter into open dialogue with each other brought us to a new level of understanding for working together."

Merry Hofford
Former Director
Family Violence Department
National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Greenbook Advisory Committee

SITUATION

When domestic violence and child abuse happen in the same family, the child protection system, family courts and domestic violence advocates all come into play.  Often they conflict vigorously over what's best for the family.  How can they provide safety, stability and well being for victims of family violence?  The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges' Family Violence Department convened 34 leaders from three professions to develop policy and practice recommendations.  Weiss Consulting was engaged to facilitate the group drafting these recommendations.

RESULTS

By creating an environment of open-mindedness and creativity we helped the Greenbook Advisory Committee succeed in developing policy and practice recommendations, which were adopted by the National Council in 1999.  The impact of the Greenbook's ground-breaking recommendations includes:

  1. Significantly expanding options for family violence victims and for system professionals.
  2. Distributing policy and practice guidelines to thousands of communities across the country, where law enforcement, judicial, human service and advocacy professionals now work together to keep families safe.
  3. Helping traditionally adversarial professionals unite for the benefit of those they serve.

WEISS CONSULTING APPROACH

We designed and led a series of three-day meetings in 1998.  Working with co-authors, committee co-chairs and senior staff, we crafted and led a process to find common ground and invent new standard operating procedures.  We brought to this challenge skills honed in over two decades of professional experience, and built trust that bridged entrenched differences in the committee.

This project required equal attention to concepts and emotions.  From the start we acknowledged each discipline's contributions and encouraged committee members to break through barriers of perception.  We created a climate of trust among leaders of professions that traditionally harbored criticism and animosity.  We remained calm and always expressed the belief that this group was capable of radically rethinking their assumptions.  They advocated for their views, disclosed their feelings, and engaged their hearts and intellect for the benefit of the women and children they all served.