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Toward a Philosophy of Consulting

As a consultant, I strive to create an atmosphere and process for each client that is:

  • art- and artist-centered
  • highly participatory
  • thought-provoking
  • egalitarian
  • anti-racist and resistant to oppression
  • cognizant of complexity
  • fun

I often use the Technologies of Participation facilitation method, because of its recognition of human thought patterns: the need to work alone, then in small groups, then as a whole group. It builds consensus quickly, and provides a good base for work in task forces to flesh out ideas.

The process of strategic planning has as much – and sometimes more – value as the resulting plan. The relationships that develop among artists, staff, board, and volunteers are part of what sustains an organization once the planning process is complete. The process often reveals new levels of commitment from stakeholders and constituents who have previously been less involved in decision making, opening up an organization for those who care about it. Planning is a rare opportunity to explore an organization from top to bottom and to talk about the meaning and importance of the work, momentarily removed from the pressures of day to day accomplishment.

I can work with two approaches to create the plan document.

  • With some of my clients, I am the author of the document; I value this approach because I believe the planning process places enough of a burden on the organization’s leaders without adding significant writing chores on top of that. The client’s involvement throughout the process generates significant buy-in and a strong sense of authorship.
  • With some of my clients I coach staff or board members in the writing and editing of their documents, which results in a more affordable consulting fee and often generates new language that is deeply authentic.

Participatory planning is very like the process of artistic creation – highly improvisatory and responsive, but with a clear arc and many patterns. This results in planning that is imbued with the artistic spirit and, frankly, a lot of fun for all involved.

Lisa Mount
Artistic Logistics

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