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Client Success Stories

(Photo above is from a strategic planning session with a South African township leadership team)

Click an image to learn more about each project.


Community Engagement & AI Summit:


Creating a Community Action Employment Plan for Adults with Developmental Disabilities.

Community Living British Columbia

Our team of experienced management consultants  worked for more than eight months with the Advisory and Planning Teams to conduct a community engagement that led to the development of a Provincial Community Action Employment Plan.  More than 30 people, including self-advocates, were trained to conduct more than 700 interviews in 30 communities across British Columbia.  In addition more than 100 employers were interviewed to gather their input into how BC communities could create Community Action Employment Plans for adults with developmental disabilities.  Upon the completion of the wide spread community engagements, 160 stakeholders including self-advocates, parents, employers, funders and agency staff came together to create what became the CBLC Community-Action-Employment-Plan.

To access the final report: click on:  CLBC Community-Action-Employment-Plan-FINAL – learn about the plan that was created as a result of this initiative to achieve the vision: “B.C. having the highest rate of participation in employment among people with developmental disabilities in North America.”  The first three years have been very successful and they are now working on the next three years.

Click to access: Getting Down to Work on Employment go to page 14 to read about the 160 person two-day summit that took place after more than 700 interviews (including 100 with employers) were conducted in 30 communities across BC.  A number of self-advocates facilitated the interviews.

Graphic facilitation by Aaron Johannes.

Journey to Create Service Excellence Qualities

Upper Canada District School Board 

We consulted with the Service Excellence team to create, design and implement a system-wide Service Excellence Initiative.  Over 160 students were engaged, and almost 300 (10%) of the staff were interviewed. In addition, the process invited many administrators, parents, community agencies and other stakeholders to provide input into what became their six qualities of Service Excellence.

After conducting the interviews and focus groups, a two-day strategic convening, appreciative inquiry summit was held with almost 100 of the stakeholders.  Working with the stakeholder interviews and focus group data, along with the outputs from the two-day summit, the core planning team created these six qualities of Service Excellence.

The school board created online training on these qualities and 100% of staff completed the sessions within six months of the program being launched. Six years later the board continues to build upon the original Service Excellence program, working to provide students with a great school experience.

The wonder of working with clients who truly want to learn and embed their learning into their work and lives. After working for almost a year with Upper Canada District School Board to develop their Six Qualities of Service Excellence, staff wanted to learn more about Appreciative Inquiry. Over the next two years,  more than 300 leaders and staff attended a 2-day workshop.


Stories of success:  Small changes can yield a big impact.

Student Success Teacher Story:  

“Yesterday I was involved in a crucial meeting for a female student in crisis at one of our high schools. A large group was present, the student, her Mom, her Grandma, a Special Services counselor, a behaviorist, administration and myself. Usually, at a meeting such as this, I try to address the academic piece. Often discussing how we can better program for a student, to meet their needs. However, I tried something out of my comfort zone yesterday and incorporated the A.I. model into the meeting. When it was my turn to contribute I turned to the student and asked her questions….

  • What was her favourite thing about school, What was her favourite book? ( A James Patterson novel for those interested) Who were her favourite staff?
  • Who was her favourite teacher in elementary school?
  • If she had three wishes to make school better what would they be?

In my opinion, the nature of the meeting began to shift at that point. The student who had been very quiet came to life. By listening to her story we were able to create a number of action items which will vastly improve her school life.  Often a meeting of this nature can be very stressful for all, but I certainly noticed how everyone became more engaged, more willing to contribute and left feeling confident we had made a difference and the family felt supported.”

A story from a UCDSB Human Resource manager:

“The Payroll and HR department also took process mapping training.  Using our learnings from process mapping along with the AI training has really helped us frame our process improvement meetings from focusing on what has gone wrong in the past which can lead to hurt feelings and people getting their backs up to what our current state is and how we want to see our future.  Just simple changes in phrasing such as how might we or what have we learned from this has made really positive impacts on our intradepartmental relationships.”

Comments from participants of the Appreciative Inquiry Training:

“I appreciated the entire AI course (and the background I have working with the Service Excellence team), has certainly changed the way I think on a day-to-day basis. It has helped me reframe my thoughts, feelings, and ideas to look at all sides of the coin. When I am in a situation, I make sure to question alternate solutions and challenge my own preconceived notions. Plus, AI can be used throughout your entire life. It allows for a complete shift in outlook – focusing on the positives, what works, and how things can be improved.”

“In my notes I had written, ‘how easily a dialogue can start by asking a few questions’ – absolutely!   For me it was fine-tuning the way in which I ask questions to more readily get the information/story I am looking for – to create more meaningful conversations.”

“Approaching people/circumstances/ideas/challenges etc. from a positive angle.  Instead of focusing on what doesn’t work or what we don’t like, focus on what does work and what we do like and build from there.

“This one is my favourite!!!  It only takes 1 follower to start a movement.  I loved this video.  It was extremely moving and empowering to believe that all things really are possible.  It starts with you and all you need is 1 follower to start something great.  This principle can be applied to all facets of our lives.”

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