Lisa Fitzhugh, Founding Partner, Creative GroundLisa Fitzhugh, Founding Partner
Organizational success in government and non-profit organizations hinges on the effectiveness of senior teams. Unfortunately, the hierarchical structures and dysfunctional power dynamics in most organizations lead to distrust, high levels of internal conflict,and wasted resources. Addressing the leadership culture of an organization’s most senior team is essential for its long-term effectiveness.

Creative Ground, a consulting firm, has made it its mission to support organizational effectiveness by focusing on the cohesion of an organization’s most senior teams. Their approach is to help create an environment of trust, transparency, and learning within these teams, which has the greatest impact on authentic collaboration and good decision-making.

“If we cultivate a leadership environment where it is safe to be fully ourselves, to be fully human, we create an environment infused with trust, creativity and an ability to ‘deliver on mission’ with the greatest positive impact.” says Lisa Fitzhugh, founding partner of Creative Ground.

Recognizing conflicts as opportunities for transformation, Creative Ground conducts research to assess the culture of senior teams and the broader workplace. These assessments make existing ‘pain points’ explicit, an essential first step towards change. The assessments are also shared and refined by all involved for the greatest buy-in. This kind of open communication is the starting block for building more trust between senior leadership and lower levels of management.

To overhaulan organization’s culture, Creative Ground starts with the senior leadership teams to prototype a micro-culture that demonstrates what organizational health can look like and also strengthens the team’s collective intelligence and decision-making capabilities. A senior team’s cohesion creates momentum around shared principles and practices that are essential for cultivating a new culture within an organization.

While Creative Ground emphasizes in-person team building, it also offers online one-on-one leadership coaching sessions worldwide. These sessions help leaders challenge the assumptions of traditional,top-down leadership and in still a more collaborative and radically pragmatic perspective. The coaching work helps leaders challenge their limiting beliefs and gain the self-awareness needed for transformational change within themselves and the organization. Creative Ground employs advanced frameworks like the Enneagram to help clients understand their blind spots and learning edges.

Having assisted many organizations to improve their leadership culture over the years, a notable project includes one with a senior agency within the King County Executive’s Department. Its team reached out to Creative Ground after noticing a sizable disparity in responses between men and women in their annual employee engagement survey data.

If we cultivate a leadership environment where it is safe to be fully ourselves, to be fully human, we create an environment infused with trust, creativity and an ability to ‘deliver on mission’ with the greatest positive impact

Creative Ground interviewed staff members to better understand the cultural dynamics within the agency. From the investigations, they identified several issues, including a pattern of dominating behaviors by some members of the senior leadership team that had gone unaddressed and left many staff disengaged and frustrated. Creative Ground prepared an analysis and processed the findings with the client’s entire department.

Once the problems were brought to light, they created small learning cohorts, which focused on developing trust and collaborative work practices over the course of several months. Towards the end of the process, a group of staff,including the leadership identified in the assessment, shaped and led an all-staff retreat to share the learnings and agree on a set of practices that would sustain a more inclusive and cooperative culture going forward.

Guided by its unique approach to cultivating resilient relationships and cohesive teams, Creative Ground is the preferred partner in the organizational culture landscape. It is the top choice for public organizations seeking to strengthen the health and effectiveness of its senior teams, the group most able to influence organizational health overall, leading to more effective service delivery to its constituents.