Success Stories

Over the years, we have had hundreds of people join us for our public programs. Below are just a few of those stories of success and a handful of the many ways we can work with you and your organization.

Taking Things to the Next Level!

With SoL NA’s help, a new executive director of a successful education-related nonprofit worked to engage with the board and staff to develop and implement an ambitious strategic plan that led to internal culture changes, increased staff capacity, and most importantly, a focus on greatly increasing the organization’s impact on teachers and students.

A SoL NA consultant worked on several levels simultaneously to lead to this transformative change. He facilitated a strategic planning process that led to a revamped vision, mission, and plan that were updated to align with both the current opportunities and past successes of the organization. The process recognized the importance for staff ownership of the new plans and was designed and implemented to generate increased collaboration and ownership. Concurrently, he engaged in direct capacity building with staff, especially in terms of systemic thinking, but also in the areas of personal mastery and managing difficult conversations (teaching how to use tools like the “ladder of inference”). And, alongside this work, the consultant coached members of leadership team.

The ability of SoL NA to “see the system” and work with individuals and teams in multiple ways concurrently led this organization to move from “good to great.”

Building – from the Inside Out

After reading the Fifth Discipline, a small core team of leaders from a “traditional” credit union in the mid-Atlantic made a long-term commitment to shift their company’s culture. They reached out to SoL to help them make this journey on their own.

Two forward-thinking leaders initially attended the SoL NA Executive Champions’ Workshop. This was an eye-opening and transformative event for them. So much so, that they returned to their offices energized and dedicated to moving down the path of a learning organization but at their own pace and in their own way. Their next step was to widen their circle and immerse other colleagues in organizational learning through SoL’s Foundations for Leadership workshop. A multi-year collaboration with SoL NA then followed. A SoL consultant provided guidance to the team on how they might best proceed on their change journey and also delivered virtual coaching, e-learning and on-site learning/reflection sessions to both deepen as well as broaden their organizational learning capacity. To ground this work, small action learning teams were formed to allow application of the tools and frameworks to pressing organizational issues. Significant improvements in difficult issues were attributed to this effort. Over time, as learning deepened, more staff attended the Executive Champions’ Workshop, a learning organization book club was started, and additional cohorts of employees signed up to join the grass root effort to shift the organization’s culture.

Utilizing SoL NA workshops alongside long-term in-house capacity building and coaching enabled this credit union to shift its culture and become a practicing learning organization.

Transforming Diapers to Dollars

A large healthcare system was able to identify savings of over $200k within the first hour of a workshop by employing an organizational learning tool called the “iceberg.” The iceberg allows people to solve chronic issues by exposing the deeper structural causes.

For this issue, nurses from different departments were literally “stealing” diapers from the other’s supply closets. This started as borrowing which led to greater stealth and hoarding. Ultimately, this escalated led to lost money, lost time, and ill will. With the facilitation of our consultant this team within a group of 500 used the iceberg to clarify the structural cause of the problem. It became clear that the order frequency and quantity of diapers set at a central office was simply incorrect.

Nurses had attributed an “evil” intent to each other which wasn’t actually there. So, this understanding of the underlying system depersonalized the issue and led to a structural change that abides to this day resulting in significant savings and collaboration between the departments that extends well beyond the original issue.

Everyone Has Something to Learn

A national research laboratory utilized the expertise of SoL NA consultants to increase the capacity for systems thinking of an already well-trained group of professionals.

Two SoL NA consultants designed and delivered a one-day Systems Thinking program for 100 Six Sigma professionals. A key objective of the program was for participants to increase their ability to effect change at multiple levels: self, teams, organizations, networks and systems. In addition, participants learned systems thinking tools, processes and frameworks to analyze complex problems, anticipate consequences of proposed actions and design more effective solutions. The full-day program was a combination of lecture, small group activities, full-group debriefs and participant presentations of their application of the tools to their important organization challenges and problems.

Even seasoned, well-trained individuals were able to gain new insights integrating systems thinking into their “tool belts.”

Following a Path to Deep and Lasting Change

A hundred year-old national technical school knew it needed to adapt to environmental conditions that required greater collaboration, agility and big picture thinking. New leadership at the top asked themselves, “How do we become a learning organization?”

The first step was to send teams of school leaders to SoL NA’s public programs: 24 people over a 2-year period. To accelerate and deepen learning SoL NA consultants were engaged to provide 1:1 coaching to those individuals. The next step was the design and delivery of a 3-day in-house program to an additional cohort of school leaders. Plans for additional coaching and continued program delivery are currently underway.

Increased partnering with SoL NA through both public programs and customized, in-house support has started to have an institutional impact including greater awareness of how collaboration can produce higher quality results than the “old ways” of interacting.