First Things First

Groundwork is the result of nearly two decades on-the-ground leading programs, organizations, and networks, as well as supporting boards and non-traditional governance groups. These experiences led to a recognition that good ideas grow because the basics have been well tended. To grow more good Groundwork takes a first things first approach. 


Through years of trial and error, we have crafted an framework for tackling organizational issues at the root. Because, if your team is not confident in what they bring to the table or unsure how best engage one another’s talents and skills; if the right information fails to reliably reach the right place, or can’t even be described; and/or if the leaders and trustees are unable to define the practical processes of the work in plain and common language…then little else is worth doing. We begin with relationships, because the people who do the work have plenty of wisdom and illuminating wonders. Next, we listen to the data and appreciate complexity while searching for signal, because we’ve got to anchor in shared understanding, and, well, we are smart enough to know how little we know. When ready, we begin to focus on solutions through generative and interactive process, always remaining respectful of capabilities and capacities. Finally, with clarity of purpose, we collaborate to get things done, because we are better together.

We believe:


  1. Your people are your most important resource and their skills are their ability to apply their skills are the only tools you have. Great organizations invest in strengths-based processes of self-awareness help teams become more than the sumo their parts. Groundwork training ensures individuals and teams know their strengths and how to play to them, and how to put them together for a healthy, enduring team environment;

  2. Those with the most to gain or lose by an organization's success possess profound insight. Great organizations need systems to reliably hear and lift up that insight. Groundwork conducts deep listening initiatives to meaningfully engage and bring to bare the perspectives of "clients" in a manner that lifts up their unique insight; and

  3. At the governance level, common language and healthy process make all other efforts possible. Great organizations need to build routines and structures that create clarity and rhythm. Groundwork helps organizations' Board of Directors, and groups fulfilling network governance functions, build processes and norms that can be reliably and repeatedly deployed through turnover and change.