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How would it feel if each act of your organization reflected what you hope to create in the world?

The groundwork for most social sector efforts is good and inclusive governance along with a culture and practice of organizational learning. When done well, governance can be an expression of means as ends. And the work of learning is unending as a tool to shape culture, and a tangible manifestation of commitment to inclusion. The processes, practices, and norms of governance in most efforts are the pre-conditions of success or failure for organizations and initiatives, and a culture of learning with the reliable practices to underpin it, create the operational conditions to hear and be shaped by the stories and information that matter most. 

In our view, good and inclusive governance has to do with: who gets to decide, when and how; what gets shared, with whom and when. We often think in terms of decision-making structured for inclusion that can harness collective intelligence, and communication loops and flows that ensure the right people have the right information at the right time. A culture of learning has to do with how the organization fosters both psychological safety and personal accountability through reliable and repeatable structures that ensure the organizational has channels to lift up the breadth of perspectives necessary to grow and adapt.

Groundwork is an organizational development partner tightly focused on working with:

  • Nonprofit boards of directors by providing training, facilitation, and board management.

  • Collective impact initiatives by providing initiative design and backbone facilitation.

  • Organizations and agencies that want to build a culture and process of collaborative learning.

  • Youth and young adult power building and leadership development groups by providing training, infrastructure, and coaching.

While the above are our current core services, we also have uniquely robust experience working with nonprofits and government agencies focused on high school completion and postsecondary transition by providing design services very specifically focused on developing and improving personalized guidance, support, and coaching that incorporate the Core Science of Adolescents and the latest research on youth and young adult development in support of high school completion and successful postsecondary transition.

We are looking to have fun doing important work with kind people. Curious? Let's talk. Click the button below to schedule an introductory conversation, or just email us directly. 

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What We're Into

In service of the above, we think that getting a few basics right opens the door to high impact work. In our view, this generally has to do with data, design, and doing. 

  • Operational Data - Do the right people have the right information at the right time? 

  • Inclusive Design - Have solutions or processes been designed with the right data at hand and the right stakeholders at the table? Are there cycles and methods to continually refresh and refine designs?

  • Capacity for Doing - Do you have the human bandwidth necessary to execute?

Finally, we take a values based approach to our work, and, in general, we think about the collective capacities of teams, not individual leaders. To that end, we aim to work with organizations and initiatives that share these priorities: 

  1. Governance that is inclusive and structured to share power

  2. Management that provides equitable support across all levels and within groups

  3. Organizational learning capacity that is continuous, generative, and not extractive

  4. Culture that is inclusive, strengths-based, and fosters belonging

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