At Common Ground Consulting LLC™, we embrace a set of principles-values-that guide our consulting method, approach, and strategies. We are a progressive firm that celebrates human differences and we work to bridge human potential and social responsibility (see Infinity Training Model™). We believe in social justice and we will only work with clients who are striving to work in community to improve the public good.
"Craig is especially skilled at getting groups to find common ground, build consensus and enhance their teamwork-natural extensions of his ability to relate well with others and bring a positive approach to difficult work. He excels at consulting tasks because of his ability to connect his knowledge and passion to the concerns, values, and needs of his clients."
Michael Garringer, Resource Advisor, National Mentoring Center, Oregon
The following ideas embody our organizational values and will begin to help you understand our consulting philosophy. We know that most of our clients have limited resources and many choices when it comes to consultants. We believe that you need as much information as possible about who we are (and who we are not) as you select consulting partners. Sixteen years of experience tells us our approach works, but if after our initial consultation it becomes clear that we may not be the best fit for each other, we will be happy to help you identify another consultant who can better assist you.
You can expect that your relationship with Common Ground will remain private and confidential to the degree you specify. We believe that people must feel safe speaking about personal and professional experiences and this can only happen without the fear of unintended listeners. This trust is sacred.
Use 'I' Statements
We also believe that it is important that we all take responsibility for what we say (own our own issues). This helps to cut down on broad generalizations and stereotyping by encouraging ownership in all aspects of the consulting experience.
Honor Silence & Engage in Difficult Conversations
Silence serves many purposes. It enables us to center and to sort our thoughts. It also allows us a chance to retreat inside ourselves to listen to what our heart and mind are saying to us. Depending on the work, we use silence to uncover problems, reflect on systems, process difficult issues, and build trust and community. We also believe that a great deal of our consulting practice involves helping our clients to manage conflict. We embrace opportunities to assist in having tough conversations and hard dialogue. We work to create safe spaces that allow all participants in the process to feel valued and heard.
Listen to What Others Are Saying
Listening is an art. Listening means being fully present in hearing a speaker and making every effort not to spend time formulating your comments while others are speaking. This creates many opportunities for misunderstandings and may cause any of us to miss something very important. We will make a commitment to hearing all of the issues raised through the consulting experience-those that are explicit as well as those that are more subtle or implicit; and then work with you to achieve high-impact results.
Keep an Open Mind
Throughout all of our consulting engagements, we will be honest with you concerning our opinions and reactions to the work. We ask the same from our clients. At times, we may use unorthodox methods when we believe that they will enable us to make progress toward our agreed upon goals. It is essential that we create environments where everyone has the freedom to express opinions that may be "outside the box."
Challenge Ourselves to Think From Different Perspectives
We make every effort to put ourselves in other's shoes. It helps us ensure a quality process (or product) when we can think about how and why someone is feeling or acting in a particular way.
Always Treat Everyone With Respect
An essential element of any productive work environment is respect. Like many values, the word respect has a variety of meanings and particular cultural nuances. It is a part of our approach to work hard at demonstrating respect for our clients; and assisting you to respect one another.
Encourage Risk Taking & Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
It is central to our beliefs at Common Ground, that it is our responsibility to create opportunities for our clients to "step outside their comfort zones;" challenge the status quo; embrace innovation; and take risks that move the organization (and sometimes individuals) closer to achieving strategic goals.
Though most organizational development work is quite difficult, there is no reason that it must be painful or approached with dread. We will work hard; but at Common Ground we strive to bring an element of playfulness and fun to almost every project. Our experience has shown that folks are more willing to get involved and remain engaged when the project is practical and approached with appropriate levels of humor and sensitivity.
Speak Honestly, Be Brief & Listen From the Heart