As an organization development firm, our systems approach and focus on aligning leadership, strategy and culture helps you achieve measurable and meaningful results.
Our programs and services are grounded in research and our deep experience in helping employee-owned, nonprofit and mission-driven organizations achieve tangible and sustainable performance improvements.
Each organization is unique: contact us to build a plan that’s right for you.
Leadership: Effective leadership is essential to the success of any organization.
When your leaders have the skills to build trust throughout your organization, they are able to engage employees at all levels, and across all functions to drive performance. Through coaching and customized programs, our consultants give your executives, managers and teams the leadership skills they need to succeed.
Our programs enable you to build a talent pool that enhances organizational performance, creates a culture of ownership, and allows you to meet current and future leadership challenges.
Great leaders need more than technical skills. They need the skills to build and maintain relationships with peers, employees, customers, and other partners. We begin by working collaboratively with your internal team to define a clear set of leadership competencies for each tier of leadership. We then design customized leadership programs directed at building competencies that will make your organization successful.
Download an outline of our Leadership Development programs.
We work with your senior executives and board leaders to design governance structures that meet the needs of your organization as it evolves. Applying our knowledge of best practices, we educate your board members in their roles and responsibilities, so they can effectively carry out their fiduciary duties. We assist you by:
- Designing effective board structures and membership composition
- Providing information about best practices in governance
- Defining board, committee and staff roles & responsibilities
- Clarifying the legal and fiduciary responsibilities of the board
- Developing an effective orientation process for new board members
- Providing financial literacy training for board members on how to read and understand financial statements
Our coaching helps leaders at all levels understand and better manage their roles and responsibilities. This process includes:
- A comprehensive assessment of individual capabilities
- Clarification of organizational expectations relevant to individual performance requirements
- A focused plan of action, including accountability mechanisms
- On-going coaching sessions
- Evaluation of progress
Read about our Approach to Coaching
Senior Team Development
Leading organizations has become a complex proposition, requiring intuitive and sometimes counter-intuitive practices. When an organization is in doing mode, it’s hard to imagine taking time to develop the practices and working relationships of the senior team.
Most senior teams (C-Suite) are comprised of accomplished professionals, who have been successful in their diverse functional areas. These diverse professionals are then tasked with the sometimes abstract task of leading.
Praxis helps senior teams collectively take up their leadership roles, to ensure the success of their organizations by:
- Deepening capacity to detect, plan for and act upon influences in the larger, external environment (within and across industries, national and global in scope)
- Adopting processes which increase integrated flow of information and alignment across functions
- Developing skills and awareness to build and steward desired culture
- Constructing strategies to attend to leadership pipeline across the organization, by identifying and developing future leaders
- Building integrated leadership capability through use of best practices and frameworks, creating a common language to talk about and learn
Download an outline of our Senior Team Development process.
We provide critical information about a senior leader’s current fitness or longer term potential to ascend to the executive suite. Using a variety of nationally normed and well-researched assessment tools, we offer insight into a person’s strengths, areas for improvement, personal tendencies, motivators, and potential derailers, along with recommending a clear path for development.
Praxis also uses executive assessments to strengthen the relationships among executives and build high-performance teams.
Planning for an organization’s future leadership should begin long before the actual leadership transition is scheduled to occur. The long-term sustainability of your organization and the continuity of your culture depend on the depth of your leadership capacity. Developing internal leaders who are well-positioned to move into leadership roles with more responsibility is core to building a strong organization.
We assist organizations in defining current and future leadership needs for all key positions by:
- Assessing potential internal candidates for leadership positions
- Designing development programs to prepare people for progressive leadership roles
- Working with internal search teams to assist in developing smooth leadership transition processes
- Defining particular skills, attributes and experiences that a new leader should possess
- Working through the actual leadership transition
Strategy: A roadmap for achieving success
An effective strategy guides your organization to achieve your desired future in a changing environment.
We facilitate broad-based strategic planning processes that can engage staff and board members in meaningful ways, so they understand and feel committed to the plan and to their role in implementing it.
We work collaboratively with you to design a custom planning process aligned with your desired goals.
A successful strategic planning process:
- Guides your organization to articulate and reach your desired future
- Helps your organization clarify who you are, where you are going, and how you plan to get there
- Surveys the external environment for opportunities and threats, and assesses your internal strengths and areas of improvement
- Leverages the knowledge, experience, and perspectives of people in your organization
- Identifies strategic priorities, goals, tactics, and benchmarks/metrics
- Is transparent and clear about the decision-making process
- Strengthens relationships through engagement with strategic planning
- Deepens strategic thinking competency among your leaders and staff
- Aligns all organizational stakeholders in a common direction
Planning and/or Decision-Making Facilitation
We can facilitate key meetings and/or retreats designed for planning or decision-making.
- Annual planning for a departmental, organizational, or key initiative
- Decision-making on targeted strategic questions
- Facilitation within a strategic planning process that your organization is leading internally if a specific meeting could benefit from external facilitation
Strategic Planning Implementation/Change Management Support
Implementing strategic decisions often entails major changes in your organization. We can facilitate inclusive processes to:
- Guide, develop, and communicate a change management process
- Equip leaders with improved understanding on how to effectively lead change within your teams
- Help employees/staff understand major changes and their role in implementation
- Gauge how people are responding to the changes, identify their concerns and challenges, and prioritize what is needed to move to the next steps
Culture: Help your employees think, act and feel like owners
Nearly 70% of the US workforce is disengaged at work, according to the Gallup organization. Through 25 years of on-the-ground experience, we’ve learned that the antidote to disengagement is ownership culture, where employees are united by a common sense of purpose, feel pride in their work and have the skills and ability to make a positive difference, in their own work and in your organization’s performance. Whether your bottom line is financial or mission, Praxis can help you create an environment in which employees think, act and feel like owners.
We develop comprehensive, long-term strategies to help you optimize your performance by building an ownership culture within your organization.
We work with you to:
- Assess your current organizational culture and opportunities for improvement
- Develop a vision and specific objectives for an ownership culture that support your business plan
- Design and implement a comprehensive plan for realizing these objectives
- Establish specific targets, measurement tools, and timelines against which to evaluate your progress in each area
- As a result of this planning, we can also work with you to further develop your ESOP communications, and training, as well as provide ongoing consultation.
Bringing people together to manage a process improvement initiative not only streamlines operations, it also improves company culture.
Enhance employee’s responsibility for the organization’s performance by directly engaging them in activities that make their organization lean, through involvement in improvement definition as well as implementation and impact measurement of those improvements.
By involving employees in process improvement, leaders demonstrate trust in employees’ knowledge and ability to diagnose, and understand problems in designing and implementing organizational performance solutions. It also strengthens individuals and the organization by developing employees’ ability to contribute in an additional way to their organization’s success.
We are trained in process improvement technologies which:
- Obtain quick, measurable, and sustainable process improvement
- Develop new levels of leadership and deepen the organization’s leadership capacity
- Operationalize employee involvement and engagement
- Reinforce teamwork and an open communication climate
- Continue business education, strongly linking effort and results to business and financial performance
- Link process improvement to social and compensation rewards and recognition
We offer a Rapid Business Assessment (RBA) process in which our consultants work with a diverse internal team to evaluate an organization’s strengths and areas that need improvement in a 2 and half day review process. During the course of the RBA, the internal team learns how to use the assessment tools and conduct assessments on an ongoing basis in order to move the organization toward continual improvement.
An organization’s structure should be designed to support its strategy. We work with your organizational leaders to:
- Assess the effectiveness of your organization’s current structure
- Redesign your structure to better position you for future success
- Develop clear definitions of roles and responsibilities, as well as decision-making authority
- Collaboratively develop a process for engaging employees in the redesign process and communicating changes effectively
An organizational assessment is an important step in any change strategy. It can target specific opportunities for improvement and provide a baseline against which progress can be measured. We employ a variety of methods to assess how well your organization’s culture is contributing to your specific goals, some of the tools our consultants use include:
- Individual interviews
- Focus groups
- Workplace observation
- Surveys (conventional or online)
Our consultants help you understand what is required for effective, sustainable organizational change, including who to involve in planning change and how to involve them. We work closely with you from the design phase through implementation of change, offering useful tools for analysis and participation.
We know that when leaders understand the constructive potential in conflict, they are better able to leverage the positive contributions that different perspectives can provide for organizational improvement.
Using an integrative approach, we combine education, coaching and reflective practice to work through the conflict management process. We create a safe space for discussion to occur so that organizations can move forward.
We develop customized team building processes to enhance the dynamics and effectiveness of teams at any level of an organization. For this process we:
- Assess the team’s current functioning, internal dynamics and performance
- Design and implement a team building strategy to improve team dynamics, enhance individual skills, and clarify roles and responsibilities
- Train teams in problem-solving, decision-making, and working effectively with diverse team members
- Balance team and individual responsibilities
Employee Ownership: Shared ownership that drives performance
Praxis was founded in 1988 to help employee-owned firms (primarily through Employee Stock Ownership Plans or ESOPs) maximize the performance potential of shared ownership. Through communications and employee education, culture alignment and leadership development, succession planning and governance programs we can help you strengthen the connection between employee effort, company performance, and the long-term rewards of shared ownership.
ESOP Education and Communications
Regular and effective communication about your Employee Shared Ownership Plan (ESOP) is an integral part of creating a high performance ownership culture. We work with you to gain a better understanding of new role requirements as employee-owners and generate and support processes to make the company as successful as possible.
- Design a plan for introducing your ESOP or employee ownership plan to company employees
- Develop and refine key messages and values that employee ownership supports
- Design and deliver customized, in-depth ESOP education programs for employees at all levels of your organization
Once you’re ready to move beyond the basics, we can:
- Assess your company’s training needs
- Develop an ongoing ownership education strategy
- Design a series of training modules that focus on achieving your company’s strategic improvement targets
- Conduct training for employee owners
- Develop your internal capacity through our train-the-trainers program
In order to achieve their strategic ownership objectives, many companies establish Employee Ownership Education Committees to be responsible for ongoing ownership communication and education, programs. These programs keep ownership visible in the company, and link employee behaviors and initiatives to company performance. We work with you to:
- Assess what type of committees are best suited to help you achieve your objectives
- Establish these committees, including developing a process for member selection, writing the charter, setting objectives, roles and responsibilities
- Facilitate and guide the initial committee meeting
- Train committee members for necessary communication, group dynamics and meeting skills
- Provide ongoing consultation to management and/or committees