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A Holistic Approach to Building A Healthier District

A Nebraska Health Department Demonstrates Transparency, Collaboration, and Commitment

Is there a way to do strategic planning that is transparent, demonstrates commitment to communities served, and builds relationships with the various community partners and leaders that are critical collaborators with a health department? Is there a way to tap into all the great data already collected by served communities to create a picture of current opportunities and establish a framework that increases community health? Working with S&G Endeavors, Two Rivers Public Health Department used a collaborative planning process that increased community ownership and commitment to creating a healthier district.

The background

Two Rivers Public Health Department serves a seven-county district, which represents a population of 96,000. The Health Department manages a number of programs that are designed to improve overall community health as well as ensure the district is prepared to respond to unanticipated emergencies.

The dynamics of the district are challenging from place to place, requiring different approaches in differing locations; for example, an approach that works in the largest city of Kearney (33,500 people with little diversity in race and a higher median income) needs reconfigured when applied to a rural community or the city of Lexington (10,000 people with lower median income and a diverse racial makeup). “We knew that using a collaborative planning process that built on existing data, didn’t reinvent the wheel, engaged our partners, and allowed us to respond to the varying dynamics of our district was something we needed. The collaborative Engaged Change™process, facilitated by S&G Endeavors, helped us do just that,” says Laura Steele, Assistant Director for the health department.

The Approach—Planning Collaborative Action and Increasing Ownership

S&G Endeavors utilizes Engaged Change™ to guide each of our clients in strategic or community planning. By Mapping the process, engaging a design team, accelerating the change, and transitioning to action, clients are able to use a process that grows the organization’s capacity, develops leaders, and creates collaborative-driven action that is owned and supported more effectively by the communities served.

For Two Rivers Public Health Department, the process kicked off in March, with two consecutive meetings of the design team (board and staff that provided representation from various counties, professions, and perspectives). The design team crafted the planning approach, identified questions of interest (for surveys, interviews, and focus groups), and ways to include various communities in the process. “Fortunately, we identified early in the process that we had a significant accumulation of relevant data that our communities had already collected over the past years,” remarked Jeremy Eschliman, Director of the Health Department. “We were able to tap into this data to build a collective picture of needs and opportunities across the district as well as develop a clearer picture of desires from the surveys and 40 direct interviews with various stakeholders.”

Building on this fully developed picture, the board and staff invited various members of the community to join them in a strategy session (held in June 2018), where they reviewed the data, coalesced around a strategic framework to guide the health department, and created draft action plans to help the Health Department and communities succeed in achieving their defined vision.

Based on gathered perspectives and feedback from the meeting in June, the strategy for the health department has now been drafted and staff is seeking a final round of feedback by directly visiting various events around the district. This approach ensures that the community will own the plans created and that partnerships are built to help make the strategy for a healthier district a success.

“Working with S&G and the engaging process they use with their clients,” says Eschliman, “allowed us to directly and efficiently tap into the wisdom and desires of the district, helping us create a more holistic strategy to guide us for the coming years. The S&G professionalism, excitement, and personal commitment to meet us where we are was a catalyst to ensuring that we knew what our communities needed and we knew how to position the health department to best serve the diverse people of our district.”

Click here to check out Two Rivers Public Health Department’s Strategy and leave your comments for their review.

For more on the process used or if you’re considering a similar process to help your health department create a healthier district, contact S&G Endeavors for a consultation.

S&G Endeavors Services: New Structure & Graphics

Using collaboration and coaching to help today’s leaders and facilitators transform their work and create the change they want to see.

Since 2002 we have been helping organizations and people with taking action by creating customized plans using our four phase Engaged Change TM process.  As a review of our web presence and marketing approach for our company, we took a good look at the services that we provide and organized them into a structure that we feel truly reflects what we do with our clients.  We sat down as a team, looked at our existing list of services, sorted them into groups of similar offerings, added some detail to each section, and then named them: Growing Organizations, Developing People, Customizing Experiences.

We had our friends at The Master Collective in Cleveland Ohio work on creating some great images to help convey the message for each category.  Here is our newly represented list of services for S&G Endeavors.  Let us know what you think of the structure and design in the comments section of the platform where you came across this post.

Growing Organizations

Helping Organizations Create Change and Take Action

Meetings– Host a project launch meeting between a variety of agencies or partners that creates a unified and grow ord servcollaborative action plan.
Retreats– Conduct a department, staff, or board retreat that results in increased teaming and cohesive action.
Stakeholder-Engaged Strategic or Long-Range Planning: Use a collaborative process to engage your system of stakeholders, gather data and perspective, and create an actionable and measurable strategy to best position your organization or community.
Performance Audits – Engage our consultants to conduct a comprehensive audit to evaluate your organization or company and establish clear steps to improve your operations and services. This audit is geared to help nonprofits or small-to-medium sized businesses evaluate how they are doing internally and what they can be doing better to reach their goals.

Developing People

Guiding People to Create Change and Take Action

One-on-one Executive Coaching– Work with our seasoned professional consultants who have more than thirty yearsdev peop serv nonprofit operations and executive management experience to create personal change in you that will impact long-term change for your organization.

Leadership and Management Training– Our Team provides training for your entire management team or other leaders in your organization. Workshops may include: working as a team, creating clear objectives and outcomes for employees, holding great meetings, and others. Training Overviews

Facilitation and Change Agent Training– This dynamic and intensive training will prepare participants to facilitate groups as small as ten to as large as a couple hundred by using small groups that maximize participation and build leaders.

Customizing Experiences

Using Proven Collaborative Processes to Create Customized and Engaged Change™

S&G Endeavors facilitation and collaborative planning approaches, our services, extends from collaborative change methods, techniques, and meeting designs that have been developed since the 1950’s & 60’s.  The way that we blend these approaches together to serve our clients and meet their needs is what makes S&G Endeavors unique.   cust

Some examples of how we can further customize Engaged Change™ to meet your unique needs include, but not limited to:
Critical Conversation Facilitation- Critical conversations, whether in-person or virtual, are the springboard to increasing productivity, solving problems, or imagining what’s next for your firm. S&G will work with your team to design and facilitate the collaborative and interactive dialog on a topic of your choosing, bringing people from across the globe into a dialog that is productive, actionable, and critical to your growth.

Social Broadcasting – Live Broadcasting of customized conversations using Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, G1NBC, & Steem giving our clients an added promotional benefit for their work.

Conference Design – Designing in-person or virtual conferences & interactive conversations that engage participants and create action for growth.

Contact us for a today for a consult on creating a customized experience toward taking individual or collaborative action.

Scaling for Change: Using an Effective Process to Bring Walking/Biking Initiatives to Communities Large and Small

Starting in 2015, WalkNE implemented a multi-stage format to help organize and implement walking/biking initiatives and improvements in Nebraska on a statewide level. This same process was applied to 13 different municipalities within the state. The communities ranged from small town of Hebron with a population of 2,500 to one of the largest cities in the state, Grand Island. By introducing a flexible, effective process, S&G Endeavors and its partners in WalkNE found that they were able to facilitate meaningful change on both the large and small scale.

A Big Plan For A Small Community

In a town like Hebron, the process began with identifying stakeholders. As it happened, two city council members were interested and invested in the success of a walk/bike initiative. “By working with the town decisionmakers from the outset, we knew we would be heard and any goals set by the collaborative process would see action,” said Jennifer Hansen, of Public Health Solutions.

In Hebron, a grassroots effort had already been underway to promote walking/biking in the community. The WalkNE efforts integrated with the existing movement with great success. In 2015, S&G Endeavors facilitated a walk/bike summit out of which came a coalition and an action plan. The coalition took a leadership role in implementing the action plan because the presence of two officials on the coalition constituted the necessary authority.

A coalition structure kept the stakeholders involved and invested, so that progress felt inclusive of the many interests impacted by a walk/bike initiative. This was particularly important in the creation and connection of walk/bike paths in the community. The coalition took into account priorities like health, tourism, safety and community connection to decide where to build additional paths. Then, they obtained grants and implemented the construction. In the past two years, the coalition has been able to install bike/walk paths that connect downtown, the city park, the public pool, the community wellness center, the assisted living facility and an RV park serving visitors to the community.

Issues of representation and implementation were simpler in a small community. The careful integration of key stakeholders at each step of coalition building and action created a positive, constructive environment for WalkNE to succeed in Hebron.

Breaking Goals Down to Manageable Action in the City

Would the process work in a larger community? Grand Island is the fourth largest city in Nebraska. With over 51,000 residents, city operations are complex and seated in multiple bodies. The challenge for WalkNE was to bring together the governmental, private, and citizen constituencies to effect positive change. Using the model established on a statewide level, Jeremy Grandstaff of S&G Endeavors worked with Health Educators, Amy Roberts and Jennifer Hubl, of Central District Health Department to integrate key stakeholders from the outset so that the process could unfold successfully.

In November 2015, a summit was held with 65 attendees. Among those present were representatives of City Public Works, the Planning Department, the local community college, representatives from the disability advocates community, the School Superintendent, and community members. The outcomes since then have shown that a thoughtful, inclusive process can adapt to the complex needs of a large city.

At the summit, the attendees identified three key initiatives and divided into action teams to take them on. “By creating separate action teams, we leveraged the enthusiasm and creativity of the summit into long term success,” said Grandstaff. The action teams each undertook different initiatives, and each had different administrative bodies with which to coordinate their efforts. “Given the complexity of the city and area governance, a single team would have been spread too thin to accomplish the teams goals. The action team approach allowed us to achieve success,” said Amy Roberts.

The Education and Awareness Action Team was created to both promote walking and biking and provide information about the opportunities available in Grand Island. The team held their own events, attended events, and used media resources to promote and educate community members. With the help of grant money, the team also installed seven trail wayfinding signs on the hike and bike trails of Grand Island.

The Complete Streets Action Team set out to get Grand Island to pass a Complete Streets policy. Complete Streets is an approach to transportation planning that directs all street development to be inclusive of all modes of transportation (cars, pedestrians, transit riders, wheelchair users, and cyclists) and all ages and abilities. This action team saw success when in July 2018 Grand Island passed a Complete Streets policy.

The MPO Planning Action Team focused its energies on the Grand Island Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), a body with oversight of transit that includes both Grand Island and the adjacent areas. The goal for this action team was to convince the MPO to include biking and walking in its master plan for regional transportation. Without direct participation of the MPO in WalkNE, the action team needed to determine effective ways to bring its message to the MPO for implementation.

Representatives of the Planning Action Team interfaced directly with MPO members. In addition, understanding that the MPO would be swayed by representation and testimony at its public hearings, the planning team spearheaded active representation of the bike/walk community at MPO meetings. Speakers from the Grand Island City Planning Department, the local community college and citizen advocacy groups all spoke at public hearings with a unified, coherent message. As a result of the efforts of the Planning Action Team, the MPO created the MPO Regional Masterplan and subsequently, worked with the group and community representatives to create a Grand Island Bike and Pedestrian Plan. 

A Good, Scalable Process Will Bring About Meaningful Outcomes

 

“When you compare the way that WalkNE works in Hebron and Grand Island, you can see that the bike/walk goals need very different plans based on the size and complexity of the municipality,” said Grandstaff. The key to positive outcomes lay in building from stakeholders, and assuring that representation of key constituencies was part of each step. As a result, two very different paths, shaped by a similar process, advanced the walking/biking in these communities.

Engaged Change™-What Is It? Why Does It Work?

We Design Collaborative Change that Drives Client Action

Can a company build on the passions of its partners, meet its clients’ needs, and still be true to its values along the way? S&G Endeavors has existed for over 15 years, and just as our clients challenge themselves to take their work to the next level, we recently challenged ourselves to examine our work, build on our strengths, and unveil a better way of helping our clients understand, embrace, and use our expertise to help them gain competitive advantage.

Just want to better understand the model, check out the July episode of S&G Connections where we further explored the process, why it works, and the positive impact it has on the work of our clients.

The S&G Journey – We Evolved Just Like You

Organization Development comes in a variety of flavors: Change Management, strategic planning, teambuilding, Executive Coaching, skills improvement, Leadership Development, HR/Systems Consulting, and so many other ways that companies streamline and manage the work environment. Whether you are a small business executive, a nonprofit director, or the head of a government agency, you have used theories of change, facilitation methods, and techniques for process improvement. The goal is to gain a competitive advantage by increasing the effectiveness, efficiency, and overall positioning of your organization.

When John Spalding and Jeremy grandstaff formed S&G Endeavors (over 15 years ago), we were driven by a commitment to embrace collaborative processes in both our work with clients and on ourselves. At the time, we were still developing our own process and identifying what made us unique.

Our consulting process, the way we work with our clients, was originally influenced by Whole Systems Transformation, derived by process consulting guru Kathie Dannemiller & Dr. Steven H. Cady. Over the years, our own process has grown and became more whole, incorporating an approach today that blends the best collaborative change methods together into a customizable process that uniquely meets our clients’ needs, demographics, and ambitions.

One way that you might directly see the evolution of our process is to look at how S&G’s mission has evolved over time.

2002 S&G Mission 2018 S&G Mission
S & G Endeavors desires to bring about world change by maintaining unparalleled consulting relationships, creating lasting strategic alliances, having fun, and instilling an awareness of organizational development in the public. At S & G Endeavors, we use collaboration to help our clients strengthen their overall success. Through our in-person and virtual approaches to consulting and training , our clients gain strategic advantage, achieving more together collectively and creatively.

The mission is a good indicator, as it helps you understand the overall purpose that we aim to accomplish with our work. Just as we ask our clients to make time to think about strategic focus of their company, S&G does the same thing every five years. This helps us stay focused on our clients and allows us to make sure we’re targeting client needs and embracing opportunities. Like our clients, S&G has learned what we were good at along the way and works to ensure our strategy reflects that. Our own clients can also see how that original value of collaboration, by which our partners are so driven, has become the core of our work and what makes our process unique and successful. 

Engaged Change™-How S&G Helps You

The way we talk about and implement our approach toward helping organizations achieve their full potential became clearer over the past fifteen years, just like our mission.  If you’ve ever been to one of our training courses, workshops, conferences, or planning summits, you will have learned that S&G Endeavors designs engaging conversations and that we help steer clients toward collaboratively creating change and taking action.  Rather than being a subject matter expert or write you a cookie cutter strategic document, we instead create a customized process to get your “whole” organization on the same page and moving in the “right” direction. Our process, called Engaged Change™, empowers leaders to listen and understand the big picture in order to increase focus on action.  It engages staff and other stakeholders directly in the “right” conversations, ensuring a better understanding of and commitment to change at all levels (or areas) of the company. The process also helps to create a clearer understanding of what is necessary to successfully implement change and action items that have been defined.

Rooted in a number of collaborative theories and approaches (including  action research and Lewin’s theory of change), Engaged Change™ includes four phases, which are customized to best meet clients’ needs right off the bat:

Engaged Change Graphic

Click on image to view larger version.

S&G doesn’t describe it as the “MEAT of Change process”, but it is an interesting coincidence. We call it Engaged Change because it reflects what we are doing when we work with your organization. For every organization’s unique situation, needs, and opportunities, we set out to give you our best designed approach that taps into the power of each phase to Engage your stakeholders and create that long-term change you seek.

The Engaged Change Process Roadmap further defines each phase, providing our clients with some insight into the S&G client experience:

  1. Map the Process – S & G works with the client to identify the broad community or system for the organization. This helps to get the process started off on the right foot and identify the larger picture for where the organization wants to go.
  2. Engage the Design Team – Identify a diverse mix of leaders that are a part of the organization and invite them to be on the design team. This cross-functional group will drive the planning process and create conditions to have a larger stakeholder meeting.
  3. Accelerate the Change – S&G works with the client to design a stakeholder summit or accelerator meeting(s). This deepens the conversation & commitment toward the intended outcomes and action plan.
  4. Transition into Action – The organization identifies potential leadership team members throughout the process. These folks help drive the action plan forward and work with S&G on transition planning. Implementing actual strategies and actions to take are often neglected in other change efforts. We leave you with an action plan that is ready to implement and we make sure you have the backing you need to implement it.

The process—Why It Helps? How You Can Tap In?

The process looks simple, but it is S&G’s ability to tap into the power of the customizable process and design unique, blended, collaborative experiences that will help you create those stories of client successes that we showcase on our blog.
The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, once said, “the only thing constant is change.” The best way to navigate your company or organization through the constant of change is to stay ahead of it. The only way to stay ahead of change (whether internal or external) is to plan for it.

There are several ways you can choose to plan for change.

  • You can shift your human resources to cover these necessary actions.
  • You can manage them internally, as we do, by using this process on a consistent basis.
  • You can set the changes and actions from the top of the organization and hire change managers to help incorporate them into the departments and functional areas of the organization (Note: You must overcome lack of buy-in here)).

Or, you could just call or email S&G Endeavors and let us help you navigate the constant of change, helping your company gain competitive advantage and, more importantly, helping you sleep better at night knowing that you have an ally to help you create your successful journey of change.

Building A Walk/Bike Movement One Community At A Time.

Can a standard, customizable process be used to help diverse communities achieve the same goal?

A partnership between Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and a local health department, Public Health Solutions, set out to do what it could to improve walking and biking in three communities with different needs and different concerns. Facilitated by S&G Endeavors, as a part of the Nebraska Walkable Communities Initiative (WalkNE), the results in Hebron, Fairbury and Beatrice have been surprising, and successful; and, each community used the standard, customizable process.

A Coalition For Every Community

Each community established a walk/bike coalition using a similar methodology, but the outcomes and the relationships between the coalition and the community have varied. “The point of a coalition is to be adaptable to the needs of its community. We intentionally didn’t come in with preconceived notions about what those needs were or how we could help meet the needs,” says Jeremy Grandstaff of S&G Endeavors. Instead, by engaging key stakeholders, each coalition has developed unique goals and taken steps towards achieving the outcomes that best suit the needs of the community.

How did the coalition come into being? By using a deliberate process. First, Grandstaff, Brian Coyle of DHHS and Jennifer Hansen of Public Health Solutions identified a champion for walking/biking in the community and engaged that person to help identify and form a core group of 4 or 5 individuals who would be committed to seeing the project through. The Core Group then formed a design team to design a summit for the community. The summit then drew on the entire community to identify challenges, establish goals, and ultimately form the walk/bike “coalition” for the community.

“Each of the steps towards building the coalition was essential to its success,” says Jennifer Hansen. “We needed to deliberately grow and build with key stakeholders getting identified and invited to participate in every step of the process.” With these building blocks, the coalition in each community has a very different look and role, but each is succeeding in its own right.

Hebron

In this small town of 2,500, WalkNE went right to the source, with two town council members serving on the coalition. “With our plan to improve health and wellness, we were able to apply for grant funds to build paths that make strategic points in the city walkable,” said Hansen. As a result, the coalition has taken a leadership role, and it has implemented the goal to connect key locations in the community via pathways. In the past two years, the coalition has been able to install bike/walk paths that connect downtown, the city park, the public pool, the community wellness center, the assisted living facility and an RV park serving visitors to the community.

Fairbury

Serving a larger community, the WalkNE coalition in Fairbury has taken on a partnership role with the city. A city planner attends the coalition meetings and advises the coalition on the feasibility of the projects. In the past year and half, the Fairbury coalition has helped pass a city resolution for biking and walking and worked with other stakeholders in the community like the Jefferson Community Health and Life hospital and local homeowners to build sidewalks to create a more walkable community. The partnership model has allowed the city, the hospital and the coalition to work together to take significant steps to improve walkability in Fairbury.

Beatrice

The WalkNE coalition in Beatrice is only recently formed, but already it has taken on an important advisory role with the city. The coalition is giving input into naming trails, conducting trailhead accessibility assessments and suggesting the best way to spend available funds to connect existing trails to increase walkability and usage. “It has been really exciting to see the city take advantage of the passion and knowledge that the Beatrice Walking coalition brings to the table,” says Hansen.

From leadership, to partnership to advisory roles, the WalkNE coalitions formed in each of these communities has been instrumental in increasing walking/biking. With deliberate and strategic building, each community wound up with a coalition that meets the specific needs of the community. “We have been pleased to see how the deliberate coalition-building process has led to different, successful outcomes in each community,” says Brian Coyle. “And, now we’re excited to watch each community as it builds on its own success and thinks about how to meet its own unique needs in a sustainable fashion.

Stay tuned to our next Nebraska installment, where we will explore how the S&G customizable process has been used to meet the needs of various sized communities

A big thanks to guest blogger: Manuella Hancock

10 Resources and Mini-Grant Opportunities to Help Your Community Increase Walking and Biking (Nebraska Specific)

On June 19, The Nebraska Walkable Communities Initiative (#WalkNE) hosted a virtual session to highlight newly developed, Nebraska-specific resources to help communities and local businesses increase the number of people walking and biking. In addition, mini-grant opportunities were unveiled, which are due July 5 and offer a small pot of funding to help you as you begin to implement work relating to the guides.

This post provides links to the mini-grant application as well as to download all of the resources highlighted in our virtual conversation.

Mini-grant opportunities available (must submit by July 5)

the #WalkNe Initiative has limited funding to provide some mini-grant opportunities to help health departments or other organizations working in this space, as they work to use and implement strategies outlined in the below guides. Organizations that apply must be located in Nebraska, must complete their work by September 30, and must apply for this opportunity by July 5, 2018.

Download the WalkNE Mini Grant Application

Resources to Help Your Community or Local Businesses to Increase Walking and Biking

This virtual conversation, held June 19,  highlighted several new resources that were specifically designed by Nebraskans for Nebraskans. A brief panel highlighted the guides and provided examples of how the guides have been used in different Nebraskan communities. Click the play button below to review the virtual conversation and learn more about the guides.

Click on the link to download each guide below:

  1. Walk it Guide: helps organizations and educational institutions by giving them tools and resources needed to build physical activity into the lives of their employees.
  2. The Walk and Talk Toolkit: A specific resource that focuses on engaging community health workers in building more walkable communities.
  3. Signage Guide: Provides direction on how to implement signage in your community that gets people biking and walking.
  4. Social Support (One-Pager): Highlights the general process for starting a walking group in your community.
  5. Social Support (Churches): strategies for working directly with churches to establish walking groups.
  6. Social Support (Colleges and Universities): A specific focus on building relationships that engage colleges and universities to prioritize and get more students, faculty, and administration walking.
  7. Social Support (Community Centers): Specifically focuses on tapping into community centers to create walking groups.
  8. Social Support (Hospitals and Clinics): Taps into the networks that hospitals and clinics have to get more people walking.
  9. Social Support (Parks and rec centers): Highlights how to engage with parks and recreation centers to get more people walking.
  10. Social Support (Work Sites): Another great resource for those looking to impower worksites to help employees prioritize walking

A big thanks to the leaders of the #walkNE steering committee and other key partners that helped to design the above guides and share their experiences of how these guides can help you transform your work.

S&G is excited to serve as the process architect for the #WalkNE Initiatives and is excited to unveil these resources and opportunities to help you. Have questions, just contact Jeremy directly.

 

Design Teams: Tapping into Client Wisdom and Planning for the Change

Design Teams

What are they?

Design teams is a phrase that we use a lot at S&G, but how many people really understand what we mean by using that terminology? The term “design team’ means different things to different organizations. For example: in advertising, firms might have a design team that has more of a creative purpose. Usually set with several well-known designers and artists as well as a creative director and copyright editors to make sure they are creating a great advertising campaign to reach their customers and create successful advertising campaigns. (“What is a Creative Team in Advertising” by Rick Suttle).

architecture design team

Another type of design team could be an architectural design team, which typically consists of an architect, urban designers, environmental architect just to name a few. Their position or task might be to ”design a sustainable building, with as little impact on environment as possible all while blending into local architecture, while tying the interior and exterior designs together.” That organization or group will have to assemble a design team that has the technical know how to achieve that goal. In short, they are a group of experts in their field brought together for the success of that project.

(graphic from Srujan Foundation)

How does S&G work with the Design Team

At S&G however, we are a little different, we don’t have a room full of experts. We look at the organization or company with the leadership and create a team that represents all positions or departments in order to ensure that as many voices get in the room early to help plan the change effort. We value all ideas and use the design team to help facilitate the design of the overall action planning and the accelerator event activities. Doing this helps the organization have people involved in the process and continuing the conversation of taking action. Engaged design team members, who are excited about the process and believe in the direction of the organization naturally helps to create buy in for the planning process and greater commitment to the success of that plan.

Using the S&G Endeavors “Engaged Change” Process Roadmap, we use design teams to help:

  • Collecting System-wide data to wholistically inform the team
  • Build common ground for the initiative
  • Plan the accelerator change activities

alt text design team image sgeHaving an well connected design team that represents the organization as a whole is key to going into the planning process on the right foot. Looking a little further into the “Engaged Change” process, here are some of the activities that design teams can accomplish during the planning work:

  • Engage in conversations that build a common framework for aspirations and opportunities for the org./company.
  • Create a common picture of what is working and what needs to change.
  • Collect stakeholder perspectives and analyze relevant data
  • Design the larger engagement experience (planning, logistics, and activities)

Companies are filled with projects, plans, and initiatives. Many use teams and/or groups to divide up the workload, align tasks, and manage the work. Our design team process engages people early and often into the planning process ensuring increased support for future planning and implementing actions. The wisdom of the organization is turned into organizational learning and development when the right people are tapped to lead the change process. The better the organization can assemble this team, the likely they increase the success of their change/action planning process.

To hear some stories from leaders who have used design teams, Check out our upcoming broadcast:

S&G Connections
Design Teams: Tapping into Client Wisdom and Planning for the Change

w/Elliot Caldwell – Georgia Bikes, Dan Favre – Bike Easy, Jacob Vansickle – Bike Cleveland
Wednesday June 27th
2:00pm EST

LIVE TBD – on Either the S&G Endeavors Facebook Page S&G You Tube Page, or John’s DLive Account. You decide! Let us know.

Here is the actual S&G Connections episode in it’s entirety.

S&G Meeting design Creates Dialog that Helps Chapters Implement New Initiative

Collaboration That Drove change and Increased Ownership

S&G believes that giving back to the community through in-kind donation of our services is important to changing the landscape, increasing dialog, and creating opportunities for all people, no matter their situation. It is always a win win situation when we help such organizations create the dialog and action they need to transform their work. This blog highlights a couple of these interactions and shows how S&G could be working more directly with your organization to create
similar, actionable, dialog.

The National Federation of the blind (NFB) has always carried an importance for us as a company, as this organization at local, state, and national levels, is helping blind people live the lives they want, specifically, addressing opportunities to overcome some of the challenges faced as a blind person.

Recently, Jeremy had the opportunity to help facilitate a session for the NFB of Virginia Project Rise program, giving students the ability to tap into their own wisdom, collaborate with each
other, and learn from leaders in the community in a way that inspired them and put them on a course for success. Read more about what we did and how they were successful in the April Issue of their newsletter.

Jeremy also recently worked with Brian Miller, the President of the NFBV Greater Alexandria Chapter, to help him design and facilitate a dialog for chapter members around the new Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct, recently approved and rolled out by the National Federation of the Blind, (NFB), aims to help carry out the Federation’s vital mission by implementing this Code of Conduct which sets forth policies and standards that all members, especially Federation leaders, are expected to adopt and follow.

S&G worked with Mr. Miller to help him think about his design of the conversation, specifically helping him identify how he would present the new policy to the group, and how he might design a collaborative dialog that gave people the opportunity to process the new code and think about how they would choose to realize or implement the code within their chapter.

After presenting the Code of Conduct to the group and walking through the document, Mr. Miller
then broke people into small groups to discuss the following questions:
1. What does this code of conduct mean to each of us in this small group?
2. What are two things we can do as a chapter to ensure we are living this code of conduct?

Following the small group dialog, Mr. Miller then encouraged each small group to share out the
highlights of their discussion, giving all participants the ability to tap into the wisdom and
feedback in the room.

The Chapter is still deciding specific actions they plan to take and plan to have the board address as part of their strategic planning this summer. However, just a couple of the ideas shared around how to best implement the new code in the chapter included:
A. Ensuring that the code of conduct is prominently posted as part of chapter and affiliate documents, that it isn’t being tucked in a corner where no one would see it. It should be honored like a checklist that reminds doctors and nurses to rigorously wash their hands;
and,
B. Establishing clear lines of informal and formal reporting of violations of the code and processes for redress. Chapter members and guests should know to whom to take their concerns or report problems, and know that action will be taken in a context of respect, support, and fairness.

“I was keen to try this collaborative approach as a way to introduce and achieved buy-in by our chapter to this new, important Code of Conduct. With S&G’s guidance, I not only developed and facilitated a collaborative agenda, but it was an approach that left our members feeling energized and more connected to the new initiative. Now, we have some clear direction from our members on things they want to do to ensure that the new Code of Conduct isn’t just a document that sits on a shelf but instead, is something that our chapter is living in our work.”

The approach to a meeting is so critical to the success of what any organization is trying to
accomplish. It is what results in someone feeling like a meeting was worth their time to attend. By
working with Mr. Miller to include a collaborative dialog, his chapter members increased their
ownership and buy-in to the new initiative, positioning them for the most success and the best
thinking on how they can ensure that the new Code of Conduct is lived in their everyday work.

Why not tap into the expertise of S&G to design your next meeting to be one that transforms your
work? Contact us for a consult.

2018-2019 Topics for S&G Connections

S&G is excited to announce the upcoming topics for our SGE Connections live broadcasts.  If you’re curious about the what “Design Teams” are or what “Open Space” is, I encourage you to checkout our monthly broadcasting on these very topics.  We always welcome an audience during our live events, and would answering any probing questions about the topic of discussion in real time.  To get notification of when we plan to go live you can Subscribe to Our You Tube Channel,  We will share the broadcast link on our networks social media pages and will update this link frequently with show dates and information.

  • June – S & G Design Teams: Tapping into Client Wisdom and Planning for the Change July –  Using Engaged Change to Create Customized, Community-driven Change and Action
    • Just Announced – This will be on Wednesday June 27th at 2pm EST.
  • August – SGE Services – Outlining our services that help organization leaders to collaborate, facilitate discussions, and move people toward taking
    S&G Connections

    Check Out one of our previous episodes.

    action together

  • September – Organization Wide Accelerator Summits – Still the Best Road for Impactful Buy-in.
  • October – Method Spotlight: Open Space in Action
  • November/December – A Vision of What is Possible: Planning Your Best Future
  • Jan 2019 Action Plans/Strategic Plans:  What types of plans do our clients create with our process?
  • Feb 2019 – From Summit to Transition:  Creating the Implementation Plans Early
  • March 2019 – Creating The Implementation Team and Helping Make the Changes Stick
  • April 2019 – Method Spotlight: Whole Scale Change ™ is the Best Action Maker
  • May 2019 – Blending Methods for Better Conversations: Customizing the Design Team and Summit Meetings

For those not able to join us live, you can always go back and watch a recorded version of the event. Visit SGEConnections.tv and click the subscribe button to stay connected with S&G and our  webcast’s. You can also  Follow Us on LinkedIn, and/or Stay Up To Date on Facebook.

Nebraska Walkable Communities Initiative Steering Committee Got It Right From the First Step

Guest Blogger Manuella Hancock (www.mwhcopy.com)

In 2014, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services set out to make increasing physical activity a statewide initiative, with a focus on helping communities prioritize walking, biking, and overall health. With the help of a CDC grant, the Nebraska Walkable Communities Initiative (WalkNE) built on existing in-state expertise to create or enhance existing walking and biking projects in local communities across the state. WalkNE, led by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, partnered with S & G Endeavors (S&G) to launch a steering committee. Four years later, WalkNE has doubled its partnerships with local communities and helped DHHS fulfill its goal to make walkability a state-wide health priority.

Getting the right people to start the journey

The Steering Committee moved towards success from its very first steps. S&G, together with Brian Coyle, the DHHS Physical Activity Coordinator, designed a committee to engage key stakeholders from the bottom-up. Coyle and Jeremy Grandstaff of S&G brainstormed a list of potential Steering Committee members and invited them to participate in a launch meeting. Invited guests included representatives from some initial key partner organizations as well as six local health departments, across the state, who were each simultaneously identifying a local community to target with the initiative.

While walkability, and increased safe access to walking, was the essential theme, the targeted communities themselves were incredibly diverse. They ranged from urban centers to rural, varying in size, demographics and multiple other factors that would make a cookie cutter approach impossible. As an additional challenge, some of the targeted communities had implemented programs to increase walking, biking, and even transit, so the steering committee would need to successfully engage with communities in vastly different phases of their work.

“We knew we would not be effective if we didn’t have the voices of the target communities at the table and, moreover, meaningfully engaged in creating our overall initiative strategy,” said Coyle. “Otherwise, the Steering Committee interactions with local communities would no doubt have met resistance to the cultural change we were trying to create in our state, which would reduce its effectiveness.” Making sure the constituent voices, as well as the wisdom that each brings to such an initiative were heard, became a hallmark of the Steering Committee’s efforts.

The initial guiding team wanted to tap into expertise that existed outside of the DHHS sphere. According to Coyle, “increasing walking is about more than health. We wanted those voices to meaningfully contribute to the success of the Initiative.” In addition to the local health departments and communities,  the launch meeting invited representatives from the Nebraska Safe Kids Initiative, local hospitals, Nebraska Bicycling Alliance (“NeBA”), Omaha and Lincoln City Planning Departments, and an expert in real estate development who could speak to the impact of increased walkability on the real estate values in a community.

In deciding who else to invite to the meeting, Coyle and Grandstaff had several priorities. “We wanted to make sure that we had Nebraska-based expertise,” recalls Coyle. In-state resources would be more appealing to local communities – reducing the “us versus them” problem. Also, in-state resources were likely to have established relationships in local communities that would add value to the expertise and technical assistance they brought to the table.

“Trust the people; trust the process.”

Among the very first questions put to the participants: “What do we need to accomplish with this initiative to make it worth your time to contribute and lead?” Grandstaff recalls, “We knew from experience that participants who own the process and the project will bring about success. So, we went into the first meeting with a very high level mandate, and turned it over to the participants. We told them, ‘This is our best thinking, but help us take it to the next level and make it yours.’”

“We challenged the invited participants, and the results were so much more than we could have hoped for,” says Coyle. “Engaging in a collaborative driven process has allowed the Steering Committee members to own it and bring some truly innovative ideas to the process.” For example, the initial members challenged themselves to add to the diversity of the committee and suggest additional members. As a result, input has been obtained from other unexpected and useful stakeholders like the AARP Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Tourism, the Nebraska Department of Transportation,  Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, who all now serve as members on the committee.

walkNESCmtg1

In addition to bringing in new members, the launch meeting of the Steering Committee took advantage of the 

collaborative planning dialog to create measurable and specific action plans for WalkNE and the committee itself, a key to the success of the S&G process. “One of the hardest things to do with multiple stakeholders is get the dialog to turn into planning for action unless it is a specific commitment in the process,” says Grandstaff. “From the outset, we wanted to empower the Steering Committee to collaborate and create both its own vision, and accompanying action plans, at its first and subsequent meetings.”

WalkNE is moving forward successfully

The Steering Committee has been an overall success. “We really benefited from having the Steering Committee support as we launched our local initiative,” said Amy Roberts, the previous Health Educator for the Central District Health Department. The community of Grand Island, Nebraska had no walkability initiatives in place at the time that WalkNE began. With the support of the Steering Committee, Grand Island planned and hosted a local summit to engage the community in the initiative.

WalkNE was instrumental in Grand Island bringing in policies and new master plans that prioritize biking and walking in decision-making. Grand Island will also pass a Complete Streets policy in the near future that supports this new prioritization of walking and biking. The Complete Streets approach to urban planning integrates cars, pedestrians and bicyclists to make the streets safer and usable by all. It is a nation-wide movement. Having Nebraska voices advocate for Complete Streets, or increased safety and access for walking and biking in general, proved better than having a national organization come in to try to achieve the same results.

Grand Island has replicated the Steering Committee collaborative-driven process by inviting other stakeholders to participate. The Grand Island advocates, supported by leadership from the local Health Department and other partners, actively engages with the new Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), city planning, public works and parks and recreation departments. These are new partnerships that Houser expects will be useful in other projects going forward as well.

The Steering Committee has been an important place for the local community representatives, from Grand Island and the other 12 communities, to meet and share stories about the successes and challenges in their respective communities. “Hearing about best practices in other communities and talking about ways to replicate that in our community has been invaluable,” says Roberts. The Steering Committee meets 3 to 4 times a year, and local community progress and impediments has been an integral part of every agenda.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has made walkable communities a part of both its strategic and business plans. With walkability as an agency priority, the WalkNE Steering Committee has been a substantive report-back on implementation. The structure of the Steering Committee has been able to increase walkability in Nebraska in a way that boasts a successful intra-governmental cooperative effort, accomplishing both the health priority and the goal of efficient government.

walknejulie

 

Since the  launch of the community-driven engagement process in 2015, participation has gone from 6 to 13 communities by expanding within the participating health departments and adding a new local health department to the membership. “Without the Steering Committee support, we could never have expanded our efforts using just local resources,” says Jennifer Hanson of Public Health Solutions  who has worked with Hebron, Fairbury, and Beatrice over the past 3 years under the WalkNE agenda.

Partnering walkability with cycling has proven particularly fruitful. “Having NeBA involved on the Steering Committee from the outset really opened up some great conversations in our communities,” says Coyle. In 2017, NeBA and WalkNE collaborated on a bike-walk summit attended by a large, enthusiastic group of interested Nebraskans.

As the Steering Committee reaches its final year of its grant funding, the journey is far from over. “We have so much progress to build on,” says Grandstaff. The Steering Committee is seeking additional funding and looking for ways to continue the transfer of its expertise and perspectives to local initiatives. By careful planning with concrete stakeholder input, the Steering Committee has been able to successfully improve walkability in Nebraska.