Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy wanted their staff retreat to do big things: deeply connect 80 staff from a half dozen offices around the country to each other and to the mission… and also take the time to look at big picture challenges and think creatively about what’s next – all in the course of a day and a half. Ella Andrews and Deborah Salas designed an agenda that used storytelling to do just that. The result was an imaginative and efficient retreat that helped Ocean Conservancy staff get to know each other, get re-energized for the work and apply their collective talent to the big questions that face the organization and our world’s oceans.

King County Office of Performance Strategy and Budget

King County PSB found a significant disparity between men and women’s responses to their annual employee engagement survey. Creative Ground was asked to asses the workplace culture and develop a long-term intervention to support change within the Office. The process was designed to expand trust, safety and inclusion as essential elements to a healthy culture. Staff were invited to join small group learning cohorts focused on building trust and social capital among the individuals and developing skills in non-violent communications and health conflict. These cohorts launched with an all-staff retreat, met every two weeks for several months, and wrapped up with a closing retreat that demonstrated quite palpably to all attendees that the PSB culture had shifted dramatically towards openness, stronger relationships and much higher comfort with healthy conflict, a foundation for innovation and greater organizational effectiveness.

Seattle Center’s
McCaw Hall

Over the last ten years since the opening of McCaw Hall, staff for the building have achieved remarkable financial goals and a stable operating structure. The cultural health of the staff, however, was fractured after years of neglect by management to equity considerations and other unmet staff needs. There were almost no opportunities for a more empowering, distributed leadership model…
Creative Ground was asked to facilitate a process to support a new dynamic among staff with new organizing principles. Over a year’s time, every member of the group has embraced new leadership capacities and asked for a new management structure to better support a shared leadership paradigm moving forward.