Principles in Action

Collaboration-the partnership between consultant and client is paramount in addressing complex change needs. Tailored solutions emerge from the combination of the client's expertise and knowledge of the organization and the consultant's knowledge of design and dynamics of human and organizational systems. We work with clients to clarify aspirations and implement plans by asking tough questions, proposing options for action, sharing the pros and cons of any approaches, and engaging in creative design.

Goals aligned with purposeful action--Be the change you wish to see in the world said Ghandi. Rather than wait for change to come after the consultation, we identify actions to demonstrate immediate and ultimate goals here and now. We approach projects as opportunities for people to test and hone new practices and embed new behaviors as part of the change process.

Commitment to social justice-our clients work for justice and equity and we achieve our justice goals by contributing to their improved functioning. We strengthen them by building authentic participation, and critical thinking into the process of change.

Informed action-action and ideas inform each other. Drawing on the principles of participatory action research, we support clients to implement ideas and practices and critically analyze the results. We introduce theory to guide action and use action to build knowledge about what works, why, and how, and thereby support learning for the client and the larger community.

Practical and creative-We always ask, does it work in this case? If an established approach will work, we use it. If not, we invent to fit specific needs. We are accountable and we have fun.

Learning and capacity building-more than addressing an immediate challenge or opportunity, we believe in individual and group learning and strengthened capacity. By building learning and documentation of learning into the process, by engaging in regular cycles of planning, acting, and reflecting, and by supporting clients in defining their issues and solutions themselves, people "learn how to fish" and can teach others.

Systems thinking-we understand that organizations and communities are webs of relationships and functions and we approach all projects with appreciation for the potential ripple effects of any single change.

Generosity-we believe in abundance created by sharing resources, whether ideas, time, or materials. There is enough to go around if we don't hoard what we have access to. We strive to connect people and organizations to each other and the ideas and resources that will support the changes they seek.

Client Testimonial

  • Bread for the World

    Heather has been an invaluable resource for Bread for the World as we have wrestled with organizational change.  Over the last several years, she's worked with us on separate occasions to address various opportunities and challenges.  She led our management team through a process of organizational assessment and transformation.  She helped us deal with issues of diversity in the work place.  She provided one-on-one coaching for some of the managers to help them work through difficult issues.  She designed and facilitated a consultation with a group of our organizational partners to develop a common policy agenda.  We keep engaging her because each time we do, we become a better organization!

    Heather's background and experience made it easy for her to understand the issues we were dealing with and ask the kinds of questions that helped us move forward.  Her great facilitation skills and personal creativity encouraged our management team to talk with each other in new ways and envision fresh options for action. She combines a sense of humor and personal engagement with keen intellectual and conceptual clarity.  She is focused and flexible, adept and adaptable.  She doesn't come with cookie cutter packages of solutions.  She comes with an open mind, a listening ear, and a willingness to engage, encourage and challenge.

    Rev. James L. McDonald
    Vice President for Policy and Program
    Bread for the World