Michael’s Approaches to Facilitation

As the Lead Consultant at Clarity Facilitation, Michael has been providing organizational development services to diverse mixture of nonprofit, church, and government agencies in Minnesota since 2002. Michael also has 10 years of experience facilitating planning and implementation as a full-time nonprofit manager. Michael was formerly the Interim President at the Council on Crime and Justice and formerly the Executive Director of Friends for a Non-Violent World. He has a M.A. in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University, with a Concentration in Facilitation and Training.

Samples of previous planning and vision development work:

In the fall of 2008, Michael facilitated strategic planning at the Centre for Asian and Pacific Islanders (CAPI) in Minneapolis. This process included focus groups and interviews with funders, clients, staff, board, partners, and academics. Michael coordinated a team of staff and board members, who helped carry out the planning process, seeking to build the internal capacity for planning. The resulting plan built upon CAPI’s direct services to engage a diverse mix of immigrant and refugee groups in civic engagement and advocacy.

In 2006, Michael led an in-depth strategic planning process at the Council on Crime and Justice, which included focus groups, interviews, and Board sessions. Input in this process from stakeholders outside of the organization shaped a new, guiding goal that framed all of the Council’s work, “Reframe public debate and action about public safety and justice: A fairer society reduces crime.” Tom Johnson, the former President of the Council on Crime and Justice says of Michael’s work, “Michael is intelligent, direct, highly organized and very efficient in how he goes about his work. He gets things done! You are always a step ahead when you have Michael on your side.”

In 2004, Michael co-led an organizational evaluation and strategic planning process with South St. Paul Restorative Justice. Michael trained 10 volunteers for the organization, who then conducted more than 30 interviews with stakeholders, to assess the current strengths, opportunities, and limitations for the organization. This evaluation process led into an inclusive strategic planning process that set the goals and objective for the next 3 years, while also increasing widespread ownership for this plan.

Training and approaches that Michael draws from:

  • Appreciative Inquiry looks for what is best in an organization, and builds upon those strengths.
  • The Technology of Participation provides visual methods for brainstorming and building consensus.
  • “Sense of the meeting” consensus decision making, which is drawn from the Quaker tradition as a way of discerning God’s guidance for a group.
  • Training for Social Action Trainers uses the strategies of nonviolent action and community organizing to build capacity for social change.
  • Michael’s practice of Restorative Justice, mediation, and conflict transformation inform his methods for facilitating dialogue and welcoming differences.
  • The Spirit of Institutions is the working title for a book that Michael is currently writing, about what kinds of leadership are necessary to transform the basic nature of institutions.
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