Case studies

Deloitte Greenhouse: Canada

Cutting-edge facilitation for a strategic breakthrough

Helping a nonprofit board reach consensus on ambitious goals.

The client's challenge

Deloitte Canada has had a long standing relationship with a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Canada’s public education. The Learning Partnership (TLP), is governed by a board drawn from Canadian business and education leaders. Historically, given the diversity represented on the board, the board had struggled to find consensus on strategic priorities, which hampered the management team’s ability to deliver results. When a new chairman was appointed, he engaged Deloitte to help change the board’s dynamic and build a consensus on TLP’s strategic goals.

Deloitte's solution

Knowing that conventional facilitation methods hadn’t helped TLP’s board to reach consensus, the Deloitte team prescribed a session in the Greenhouse that would depart from the typical script. The difference in Deloitte’s approach was apparent from the moment the board entered the Greenhouse: TLP’s directors immediately remarked that the new setting was fresh, open, and inspiring.

Deloitte’s facilitators introduced the TLP board to ThinkTank, collaboration software that allows people to present and vote on ideas anonymously via individual iPads, so they can freely share provocative ideas and take challenging positions. Using ThinkTank helped the board members agree that they believed in the same goals for TLP, despite other differences of opinion.

Deloitte’s workshop also used interactive whiteboards, which let the board members record, connect, and integrate their ideas for how TLP could increase its impact. An experienced illustrator captured points from the discussion in words and pictures, which further inspired the board. (The board appreciated the illustrations so much that they hung them in TLP’s boardroom.)

Impact on client's business

According to the client, the session in the Greenhouse was TLP’s most successful strategic planning exercise in its history. The group achieved its main objective by reaching consensus on TLP’s top three strategic priorities—and went further still, generating more than 50 ideas for how TLP could become even more effective, and reaching a “breakthrough realization” about the next step in TLP’s development.
“We were able to accomplish in one day what would normally take three,” said TLP’s CEO. “The technology enabled us to distill volumes of information and capture extensive comments and perspectives, ultimately leading to an output that laid the foundation for a strong and crisp three-year strategic plan.”

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