What we do:
PeerSpirit consulting focuses on the power of conversation to release the full potential of working groups.
Basic skills underlie empowered conversation. PeerSpirit consultants understand the essential infrastructure of communication and teach it in engaging and accessible ways.
We work with individuals, leaders, and groups to design sustainable dialogues and collaborative processes that allow people to align their work with organizational strategies and vision. Our consulting work draws on the books, Calling the Circle, the First and Future Culture, Storycatcher, Making Sense of our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story, and a full line of PeerSpirit booklets.
Who comes when you call?
Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea, PeerSpirit company principals, serve as the core consulting team. We work together to model dialogue and collaboration in leadership. Our different backgrounds and training allow us to bring two complete skill sets to our clients. To respond to the broad range of interest in our work, we have colleagues with areas of expertise in change management, organizational development, strategic planning, health care administration, education, religious community issues, and financial planning.
How we work:
We respond to client request, build a suitable team, and introduce or support a culture of conversation that can lead to systemic change.
We seek a multi-session, or long-term commitment from you, and our commitment is to empower all participants and transfer facilitation skills to your leaders.
We coach in-house leaders. We share leadership and offer transparent learning so the group develops insights into their process together.
A Vice-President of Nursing Services says: "I want my staff to step forward with leadership, to get fired up about doing their jobs. I want them to believe their ideas are crucial to the success of our organization. How do I actually transfer that belief to them instead of just saying it in emails and everybody staying busy with the way things are?"
PeerSpirit response: We designed and facilitated a two-day retreat for nurse leaders that raised three questions: 1) What is the leadership role the organization is counting on us to fulfill? 2) What operating agreements need to be active between us to fulfill that leadership role? 3) Where and how do we commit to begin practicing necessary changes?
An association director says, "I have a board that is economically and racially diverse where nobody seems to get along. They act completely at odds with one another and hamstring the staff. Though we blame this dissention on a few people, I think it's a board-wide problem. How do we get clear enough to see our way back to purpose?"
PeerSpirit response: We designed and facilitated a one-day Board retreat that began with a morning session of stories of personal background and experience in which people spoke their heartfelt connection to the association. Understanding exactly how each board member was connected to purpose led to a shift in how they perceived each other. The afternoon session put an agenda and group process in place that required collaboration and creative alliances. They are working the plan they established that day, and they take time each meeting to remind each other of the source of their dedication.
A university dean says: "We combined two departments and now everybody is playing lone ranger—protecting their own turf, or putting their friends forward for positions or funding. How do I get them to consider who's best for the job or what's best for the university?"
PeerSpirit response: We worked with a combined faculty committee to reframe the situation from one of loss to one of gain. Over the course of several months, in a series of facilitated dialogues, the committee began to see that the merging of the departments was a chance to develop a new departmental culture with the potential to become a leading edge model in the university community. They included graduate students in their process who documented and qualified their successful change.
What gets in the way:
Each of these situations results from our common human proclivity to accumulate patterns of miscommunication that eventually trap even the most well-intentioned groups in assumptions about what can and cannot be said or done. Unsuccessful attempts to address sensitive issues or resolve conflicts can narrow the territory of communication and further constrict working relationships. Most often, this is no one's fault. People may be confused about what has happened to the quality of interpersonal dynamics and struggling to establish clear communication.
PeerSpirit's understanding of inter/intra personal and group communication infrastructures helps people design safe social containers and processes where these accumulations can be cleared. This is essential work in the life of every group, but it is difficult, often impossible, to do this clearing alone.Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea bring years of experience and stories of success to groups seeking to realign themselves to purpose and task.
We work with a group to define the conditions that need to be in place for people to speak and listen in ways that can be heard.
We explore the territory of constriction and help a group resume confident communication and participation.
Communication is the spark that ignites teamwork.
Renewed communication leads to successful problem solving.
All consulting is booked through the PeerSpirit office. Please contact us for an initial phone call and evaluation of your needs and interests.