Case Study

Transforming polarized politics in the Minnesota state legislature

When state legislators, lobbyists, and advocates began working together with a facilitator from the Center for Efficient Collaboration, a gridlocked political debate gave way to a remarkable shared win. The Minnesota Child Custody Dialogue Group transcended deeply entrenched positions and a history of personal mistrust to resolve an issue that had seemed intractable for years. The one new factor was Convergent Facilitation, the CEC’s three-step framework for collaborative decision-making.

At our company, we pride ourselves on having a collaborative culture. But when we tried to move to a more decentralized management structure, people had concerns about how decisions were being made. The tensions on my team were starting to interfere with collaboration.

I brought in a facilitator from the Center for Efficient Collaboration, and in one day she was able to intercede and help put us on the path toward renewed trust. She helped everyone raise their issues in a non-confrontational and safe setting, and the team took a proactive look at our decision-making system to find solutions.

Thanks in great part to the CEC’s insight and tools, we are now back on track. I would recommend them highly to leaders interested in fostering collaborative teamwork.”

Stuart ThornPresident and CEO, Southwire Company, LLC

“In my 20 years of working in healthcare for executives, you are one of the few consultants for this kind of training and facilitation where I’ve seen positive results. For me, attending the meetings you facilitate has changed how I view my job and commitment to the organization. For the first time in several years, I feel there’s hope for positive change.”

Robert HamnerExecutive Assistant to the Chief Medical Officer, Center for Elders’ Independence

“You were immensely helpful in facilitating clear and supportive communication among my staff. More than anything, with your help, we empowered those who were afraid of speaking up to be recognized, valued, and heard. You also taught us to listen more clearly, actually understanding, clarifying, and responding in an appropriate manner to invite further understanding. We all looked to you for answers, including me, and now I realize the answers could only come from our own actions and continued practice of what you taught us.”

Peter Szutuformer CEO, Center for Elders’ Independence

“My experience at your trainings was life changing. I learned how to conduct meetings more effectively and to understand what my team wanted from me.

I also found this work most helpful in communicating what was needed to our offshore teams. Before the training my communications with the Indian team left me frustrated and not sure whether my requests were heard. After participating in the workshop, my messages were clearer, and the teams began to produce what we agreed upon.”

Martin Epstein senior manager, Charles Schwab & Co

“We’re only one day into our meetings, and I’m seeing a significant improvement. I’m seeing movement where there wasn’t movement, and listening where there wasn’t listening. It doesn’t make everything easy, but at least we’re seeing each other as human beings, and not just representatives of ideas and positions. I really appreciate the stretching everyone has done.”

Robert KarpCo-Executive Director, Biodynamic Association

“Working with you was a powerful experience for all involved. Our meeting brought together two sister organizations who have a long history together, and our facilitator created a really safe environment for people to share with each other, move past old issues that were impeding our progress, and create a foundation for the future. She was expert at channeling the conversation so that each person had an opportunity to contribute – and even more importantly, to really feel heard. The end result is going to be two organizations that can collaborate more effectively, have clearer lines of communication, and really look forward to the work they share going forward.”

Elizabeth CandelarioCo-Executive Director, Demeter USA

“The benefits of working with you have been far reaching. The executive leadership team continues to practice clear communication, there is a greater sense of teamwork, the staff has come to trust the management, and the results have helped us to realize our goals as an organization.”

Monica Walshdevelopment and training coordinator, SYDA Foundation

“As the founding executive director of a large non-profit focused on community transformation powered by youth leadership, I face the complex realities of intergenerational violence, poverty and trauma. After four years of planning and two years of operating, I began questioning my impact, commitment to the work, and capacity to effect meaningful change.

To support me in clarifying my personal and professional goals, I began executive coaching with a CEC consultant. Our work was pivotal. My coach assisted me in reconnecting to my passion and vision by guiding me to deeper understandings of my life experiences in my current context. She also helped me expand my communication skills and deepen my compassion for myself and others. Without question, this work has increased my capacity to lead both my organization and a more purposeful life.”

Olis SimmonsExecutive director, Youth Uprising

“After three mediation sessions, the group has completely changed. We are now able to listen to one another with much more empathy and respect. We have reorganized our structure and manage our time more efficiently. We also seem to enjoy one another more and feel safer. The consultant we worked with was able to facilitate many intense situations in ways that made anything feel possible.”

Lis WorcesterBay Area Midwifery Peer Consultation

Miki Kashtan, and the Center for Efficient Collaboration, were awarded the IAF Facilitation Impact Awards 2016 for “Improving Child Custody Laws and Reducing Conflict between Parents”.