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Collaborative Conversations

Forget the old cliché of “Stop talking and get to work.” All work is coordinated
by conversations, but not all conversations facilitate work.
Knowing which
conversations get work done and how to hold them is critical to your success.

If you're looking to increase engagement and performance while decreasing workplace friction so that more work gets done in less time, Collaborative Conversations can help.

 

We help individuals cultivate and integrate the many intelligences available to them. We help teams achieve breakthroughs and perform at higher levels. We help organizations have better, smarter, more courageous, and more effective conversations.

 

Whether you are an executive who wants to improve your leadership skills, a new or established team looking for smarter ways of working, or an organization seeking to create a culture where all your employees can flourish, we can tailor a program to meet your needs.

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Creating More Intelligent Teams

How can teams be smarter than the individuals that comprise them?

That’s a question I’ve been exploring for over 25 years. I am continually surprised at how, when they join a team, really smart people end up making collectively stupid decisions. Fortunately, making groups smarter is fairly easy to do. Drawing upon the lessons of appreciative inquiry, positive psychology, and embodied learning, Collaborative Conversations has developed a unique approach to boost your team’s performance.

What clients say

“Working with Ken was a lifesaver! He’s a wonderful thinking partner and a gifted facilitator.”
~ Todd Pierce, CTO Genentech


“Ken facilitated our Board retreat to wide acclaim from Board members. I would warmly recommend Ken to anyone considering the use of his services.”
~ Jeff Keimer, MA, Chair, Board of Trustees, Institute of
   Transpersonal Psychology

Some Satisfied Clients
Genentech
Gracenote
UCSC
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SFDPH
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LLNL
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Zogenix
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Facilitating Collective Intelligence

When Google first opened for business in 1998, they focused on individual intelligence, hiring only the top graduates from the best STEM schools. Fifteen years later they launched Project Oxygen to learn what made for the most successful managers in the company. Their findings shocked them. When people ranked the eight most important qualities of their top performers, STEM expertise came in dead last. Here're the rankings:

1. Being a good coach

2. Empowering the team – not micromanaging

3. Having empathy for and expressing interest in team      
    members’ success and wellbeing

4. Being productive and results-oriented

5. Being a good communicator – listening and sharing

    information

6. Helping the team with career development

7. Having a clear vision and strategy for the team

8. Having key technical skills that help them advise the team

The top seven items in the above list are a subset of the skills needed foster collective intelligence in your organization. Collaborative Conversations can design and facilitate programs to support your people in achieving the kinds of breakthroughs that come from improved collaboration.

What clients say

“Ken did a tremendous job taking our leadership team through a series of workshops on Collaborative Conversations. He is an expert in creating a shared understanding of how to be a great leader in a world in need of authentic leadership. I had the privilege to work side-by-side with Ken and he’s humble, and kind while delivering results. I highly recommend him!”  
Al Diaz, Agile Coach, San Francisco Department of Public Health

Coaching

Coaching for executive, leadership, or personal development

We can talk in-person, by phone, Skype, Teams, or Zoom

Walks in Beauty Coaching

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.”
~Friedrich Nietzsche

It never ceases to amaze me how, when we get outside, our minds seem freer, our cares smaller, and the world of possibilities larger. If you live in the Bay Area and are in or near Marin County, I invite you to come and experience a coaching session with me in the great outdoors.

What clients say

“Ken was my coaching mentor at New Ventures West. He is extremely intelligent and brought great clarity to the course materials and our case studies. He was always able to hone in on the real issue and did so with great compassion and kindness. Ken helped shape the coach that I am today and I highly recommend his coaching services and expertise.”

~ Angela Soito, Clinical & Regulatory Consulting & Coaching

"Ken is one of the best collaborators I’ve ever worked with. His ability to craft meaningful questions make him an asset to any group or team."

~ Mariah Howard, Expressive Arts Therapist & former Graphic
   Recorder

More Satisfied Clients

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Imerys
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SoL NA
SI2
Salesforce
Nike
NASA
Malibu Youth
Kansas Dept for Children Familes
ITP
Biomarion
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Cisco

Our Commitment to You

Most of us will spend at about a third of our life at work. Collaborative Conversations is committed to helping people and organizations flourish and thrive by focusing on individual and collective wellbeing and creating workplace cultures that bring out the best in people. 


We will help you to deepen your listening, ask more powerful and provocative questions, tune into what creates coherence among different perspectives, and produce work of higher quality. We'll provide you with conversational maps, tools, and practices to get your work done more effectively, more efficiently, more humanely, and more enjoyably.

About the Founder

“Ken transforms the spaces he enters, whether they are physical or virtual by helping other occupants of the space hear themselves, feel safe, and find their way to one another. It's an art. He's an artist.” 

Jerry Michalski, founder of Open Global Mind

When I was a kid Linus was my favorite cartoon character. We’re cut from the same philosophical cloth, he and I. No, I don’t believe in The Great Pumpkin, but I do experience the world as a place filled with wonder, beauty, intelligence, and boundless possibility. I love nature, art, music, poetry, philosophy, and people. I’m an avid reader with wide ranging tastes. When I was thirty, I was introduced to Vipassana meditation. I’ve sat several silent retreats of ten days and even 21-days duration. After 17 years of meditation practice, I switched to qi gong and have been taking private lessons with a master teacher for over twenty years.  

 

I grew up on the East Coast and moved to California in 1990. I immersed myself in the New Age/Human Potential Movement when I arrived. But I quickly found that most of what was supposed to lead to enlightenment lacked any kind of rigor or grounding. I soon became disenchanted with all the egotism, hype, and hypocrisy. On the other hand, this period helped me to hone my BS detector!

 

During the ‘90s I worked in an administrative capacity at a management consulting firm, which was my introduction to the field of organizational development. I was then offered a job as the Director of R&D for a small firm focused on sustainability – yes, we were way ahead of our time. Next, I joined the core team that developed The World Café – a scalable dialogue process that allows for large groups to have productive conversations. I spent a decade there, learning how to design and facilitate conversations that matter among people with diverse perspectives. I'm convinced that with goodwill, proper facilitation, and enough time, people can successfully rise to meet nearly any challenge they are facing.

 

in 2000, I obtained my professional certified coach (PCC) credential from New Ventures West and have been coaching and consulting to individuals and organizations ever since. I developed and taught a course for San Francisco State University entitled Coaching Skills for Wellbeing, as part of their Certificate in Positive Psychology Program and I managed the Worldview Literacy Project at The Institute of Noetic Sciences. I was a 20-year member of the Bay Area fractal of the Society for Organizational Learning (BASoL) and the president of BASoL for five years. SoL North America asked me to chair their 2018 conference and I helped to design and facilitate Global SoL events in Bulgaria and Portugal.

 

In 2007, I  founded Collaborative Conversations and my clients have included scientists, engineers, artists, managers, educators, community organizers, bankers, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and C-Suite executives. I’ve coached and consulted for organizations with operations in the USA, France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and Taiwan. 

 

When I am not working, you can find me in my garden, out walking, reading, writing, cooking, doing my practice, or hanging out with friends and family.

Contact Collaborative Conversations

Let's talk about how to put the power of

Collaborative Conversations to work for you.

Call us 1-415-299-9652

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Success Stories

Challenge: Trust Issues Impairing Team and Organizational Performance

Overview – The IT department of a large healthcare organization was plagued by numerous problems, many of them stemming from a lack of trust on the senior leadership teams. These people had worked together for years but avoided addressing the resentments and conflicts that were simmering below the surface of their day-to-day interactions.
 

Approach – Two senior leadership teams undertook 15 hours of training in Collaborative Conversations. This included sessions on social, emotional, and somatic intelligences and their role in nervous system regulation. They also learned skills to handle conflict creatively.

 

Outcome - After completing the training, participants reported vastly improved interpersonal relationships, greater openness to new ideas and approaches to work, and a much clearer sense of being guided by the organization's purpose and mission. Many reported that their relationships outside of work also benefitted. Here are the before and after survey results:

Challenge: Integrating a New Leader into an Existing Team

Overview – A newly hired SVP and his leadership team needed to rapidly bring out the best in each other while achieving ambitious growth targets. We embarked on a six-month team coaching adventure.

 

Approach –  A roadmap for the next 24 months was developed and fully fleshed out detailing responsibilities and action items that were agreed to by everyone and made visible to the team for ease of tracking and shared accountability. 

 

Outcome – Polled after four months, the consensus was that team conversations were far more productive than they were prior to the coaching and people were consistently hitting or surpassing their KPIs.

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Challenge: Consolidating
UCSC's IT Departments

Overview – in order to streamline costs and achieve greater efficiency, the UCSC campus needed to consolidate 24 separate IT departments into a single entity.

 

Approach – Using participant-driven methods, we first brought together the heads of each department and helped them to make their collective knowledge, concerns, aspirations, and burning questions visible in ways that helped to identify the critical path forward. We eventually involved all 250+ people in the department, allowing each of them to have a voice in the consolidation process.

 

Outcome – The integration initiative was a success by every significant measure. Of 250+ people affected, fewer than a dozen were laid off, several took early retirement and some opted for part-time status through job sharing. The new department kept the continuity of service that was present under the older divisions, and surveys of customers showed a higher level of satisfaction as a result of the consolidation effort.

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