The Consolution Story

“Those who envision the future will be prepared to meet its challenges.”

-Steve Lear, The Consolution Project

A New Vision

In 2018, I coined a new word to describe my next venture: Consolution. The word is rooted in conflict training programs I was part of in the Middle East and management training programs I studied here at home. I was looking for a way to bring “constructive conflict resolution” training to community organizations in both the U.S. and the Middle East.

Consolution was influenced by my involvement with two organizations promoting positive change in the Middle East. The first one is a program under the academic sponsorship of the Harvard Negotiation Project. It offers leaders negotiation expertise so they can learn to navigate complex situations and shape a better future. I also worked with Encounter, a non-partisan organization that educates Jewish leadership about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a unique way. It provides Jewish influencers first-hand encounters with the people and issues that are central to the conflict. This up close and personal view encourages new perspectives and approaches.

From these experiences, a new mission was emerging.

Inspired in Israel

In the summer of 2019, I spent a month in Israel, an adventure I previously chronicled for our website blog. That trip was the tipping point, inspiring me to put my long-simmering Consolution ideas into action.

During that month, I participated in programs with the organizations listed above, and I also had my first Consolution coaching experience. I worked with a group of seven people (three Palestinians, three Israeli, and one Palestinian-Israeli) who run a Middle East program under the academic sponsorship of the Harvard Negotiation Project. I facilitated a two-day workshop where the group learned how to create team health and use organizational effectiveness tools to enhance their operations. Our work together produced a ten-page report, a blueprint they can follow to clear productivity roadblocks and increase their community impact. It marked the beginning of what I hope is a long and fruitful partnership.

My experiences that summer made one thing crystal clear. Whether we’re training people of different cultures to co-exist; or helping people in the same organization work together effectively, everyone is searching for better ways to communicate and make decisions.

Bottom line? Less OY. More JOY!

Grown in Minnesota

If my trip to Israel was the tipping point for The Consolution Project, my work at home was the training ground.

The seeds of Consolution were sown 20 years ago when I read “Avoiding the Gap,” by Dan Sullivan, creator of the Strategic Coach program. He recommends that we measure success in a new way: not by whether we’ve reached the endpoint—the goal—but by the progress we’ve made from our starting point. This theory dramatically changed my perspective. I began to use it at Affiance, my financial planning firm, to keep my employees motivated and my business moving forward.

I went on to attend countless workshops and conferences, studying the programs of top thought leaders such as Jim Collins, Stephen Covey, Viktor Frankl, Napoleon Hill, Kathy Kolbe, Doug Lennick, Patrick Lencioni, and Shannon Waller. I also incorporated their wisdom into my firm, using tools and processes to establish discipline, accountability, and plans of action.

A breakthrough happened in 2014 when Affiance enrolled in the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) created by Gino Wickman and Mike Paton. Under the tutelage of EOS Implementer CJ DuBe’, my business began to gain traction, moving us forward toward our goals.

While the training I used was intended to help businesses, I knew it would also be valuable to social sector organizations. I began to adapt the tools and processes I had used to meet the unique needs of community organizations.

Too often, the social sector must choose program funding over workplace training. Consolution changes that! We connect community organizations to the Coaches who can help them reach their goals and Contributors willing to share coaching and training costs.

The Next Chapter

I started a new year with a new purpose. After 20 years as Visionary of Affiance, I stepped away from the leadership team on January 1, 2020, to begin a new chapter.

I marked that new beginning by returning to Israel in January with my Consolution colleague, Marcy Harris. As we looked for inroads into community organizations there, we met with consultants, non-profit organizations, the U.S. Embassy, the English Department at the Ministry of Education, and the Levinsky College of Education, among others.

With so many positive new connections, Marcy and I made plans to return to Israel in May of 2020.

Man Plans and G-d Laughs

COVID-19 arrived, canceling our travel plans but not our commitment. In fact, there’s never been a better time to practice what we preach: be ready to pivot! We’re using this pandemic pause to deepen relationships, explore new contacts, and refine our services. We’re providing custom coaching and training in five key areas: leadership development, team health, organizational effectiveness, strategic planning, and decision making/ project management. While conflict resolution still underlines our training, it’s an outcome rather than a goal. Consolution has evolved to mean finding “constructive solutions” for community organization challenges.

How can we help you?

The Adventure Continues

To friends old and new: we invite you to join our Consolution network! To get more information, contact us at www.theconsolutionproject.org. In these unprecedented times, the only certainty is change. Let’s work together to make sure our community organizations are healthy, effective, and sustainable to handle whatever challenges lie ahead.