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Method

Here is a brief overview of our unique approach, based on years of work in a variety of public sector and non-profit agencies, including homeless services, mental health, child welfare and public education:

Stage One: The LTG Needs Assessment Begins With Client Buy-In

As with all consultations and training requests, LTG begins with an assessment based on how best to meet our clients' needs. We also believe that such an assessment is the foundation for the staff "buy-in" process. In this initial assessment, we use training and consultation examples to address the concerns that have led clients to seek us out -- perhaps a program's particular resistance to innovation or the removal of significant members of the team due to poor performance.

Only LTG staff and consultants with vast managerial and training experience are employed in these initial needs assessments. In this environment, your senior personnel get to express their own needs while we provide an executive-level framing of issues so that staff buy-in starts immediately. From the very beginning, even the most resistant personnel will increase their willingness to engage in the customized intervention to come.

Stage Two: From Building Individual Skills to Realigning a Targeted Team

In the next phase, LTG custom-designs a training curriculum or facilitated consultation that meets the specific skill needs of targeted staff. These needs may include enhanced communications skills for better motivation, team-building techniques, or improving outcomes and performance through continuous quality improvement tools.

However, while necessary for your desired change, we have found that being trained in these skills is insufficient to align staff with your wider objectives for organizational transformation.

Such skills, no matter how expertly delivered, do not guarantee a difficult division's realignment by supervisors or deepened buy-in from front-line managers toward lasting change.

Here is where LTG is significantly different: We recognize and accept this as part of our intervention's design if a deeper and broader transformation is to occur. This means:

  1. We expect resistance to the long-term objectives of our intervention and therefore do not confront it head-on. Instead, we begin to undermine team member resistance to change by asking participants to create their own "Conditions of Workability" for our trainings and long-term consultations. These "Conditions," based in part on their complaints and partly on how they imagine their own "good" behavior, serves as their - and our—guide for how they want to act as a team. Through this process, a foundation for excellence is built by the very people who need it.
  2. Every training or consultation has a "lifework" component, which is based on the skill set of that session. As "lifework" is usually not completed for the first few sessions, its incompleteness becomes the basis for serious reflection on and personal awareness of the difficulty of change, even when desired, by key personnel. This allows participants to affirm the integrity of the process while still seeking change.
  3. LTG's commitment to workplace diversity means that we work in multi-cultural teams as much as possible so that participants see this mix as normal and helpful to internal team-building and external work. We raise issues of diversity and culture within appropriate skill sets (such as communication) as one of many dimensions for trainees to consider. In these ways, diversity comes to be seen as an added resource rather than a threat.
  4. Trainings and consultations are evaluated at the beginning and end of an intervention to assess overall improvement of staff in the targeted areas for skill development. In addition, each session is evaluated for participant satisfaction and highlighted skill/performance issues to allow "fine-tuning" that may be required. In this way we recognize our own commitment to improvement based on participant feedback.

Stage Three: From Individual Resistance to Team Transformation

Finally, all LTG interventions incorporate both management skills and leadership dimensions throughout each session or meeting. LTG trainers and consultants focus on concrete tools for effective management and "Leadership From Within," which helps each participant develop an approach to individual change. In this way, participants begin to see how personal mastery is directly connected to the agency's success.

By the end of an LTG training intervention, a participant's new communications skills help improve their own management ability and build cross-divisional collaboration. Self-development and team development occur together so that commitment to the larger mission is seen as integral to personal and organizational transformation.




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