Where Change Begins™

We Are Common Ground

a strategic consulting firm working globally to change the world
ABOUT US CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
About

ABOUT COMMON GROUND

We are a strategic—small business—consulting firm working globally to create spaces for people from diverse backgrounds
and experiences to come together, build trust, define areas of shared interests, and achieve transformational outcomes.

For almost 30 years, we have been providing market-proven consulting services to governments, foundations, private sector
and community-based organizations, school districts, entrepreneurial start-ups, and universities

IMPROVING THE LIVES OF YOUTH & VULNERABLE GROUPS

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Our commitment to social justice ensures that young people—particularly youth of color and LGBTQI youth—are always in the mix when public policy questions are debated, social programs are designed, and funding priorities are established. We believe it is their practical idealism that makes it possible for them to solve the major issues of our times. It has been our experience that it is often the voices who have typically been excluded from these discussions that bring the most effective solutions.

ACHIEVING ROOTED DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION

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We prioritize issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as central to our efforts to build strong communities, organizations, and networks. This means dismantling structures that benefit some while excluding others—replacing biased, unfair systems with new approaches, better strategies, and more effective programs.

LEADING TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE PROCESSES

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We believe in the capacity dividend—the idea that strategic investments in capacity offer “returns” in the form of greater efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately greater social impact. We help you get to the root causes of the problems you face and work together to identify and implement practical solutions. Our approach will feel different. We work hard to tie these efforts directly to your mission. We find that when organizations link capacity investments directly to purpose, people take it more seriously, invest more effort, and the change is more profound.

BUILDING HEALTHY ORGANIZATIONS & LEARNING NETWORKS

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We work hard to understand the complicated dynamics of mission-driven social profits by building trust and using an approach that first discovers what is working well and then uncovers and explores the challenges. This allows us to sort out and improve management systems and structures in a way that is sympathetic to people, values, and mission.

"THE FUTURE DEPENDS ON WHAT WE DO IN THE PRESENT."

MAHATMA GANDHI
About
team

WHAT MAKES US, US

There sure are a lot of consultants out there these days. We’re different than almost all of them.

We Want to Fall In Love With You

This may sound a little crazy. But, it’s true. We work with clients whose values align with ours. We work with clients whose work inspires us. We work with clients who are fighting to strengthen communities, end poverty, prevent violence, stop climate change, protect workers, create food security, end corruption, and reform government. We want to be your partner in that work; not experts on your issues—you’ve got that covered. What we bring to the table is a commitment to helping your organization achieve better results and greater impact and we will do that by investing our hearts and minds in your people, your mission, and your outcomes.

We Believe Every Client and Each Engagement Is Fundamentally Unique

We approach every engagement with a clean slate and an open mind; and we’ve carefully defined our thoughtful S.T.A.R.T. Process™ to help ensure that we are all on the same page as we begin our work together. We use flexible processes and creative tools and we carefully assemble the right team to meet the specific demands of your project. We don’t believe in cookie cutter approaches or “copy-paste” strategies.

We Believe In Building Trust and Delivering Outstanding Results

We are agile, nimble, and committed to building high-trust relationships so that we can support you in a way that strengthens your foundation and makes you more sustainable. We are constantly evolving our tools, expanding our sector knowledge, digging into best practices, and imagining and innovating leading-edge approaches. And, we’re doing that to improve efficiency and help you achieve greater impact, not foster your dependence on consultants.

We Believe That Leading Edge Innovation Is Powered By Connectors

We believe societies are organized around groups of people who share a particular affinity: geography, religion, values, age, race, or gender, for example. These groups organize paradigms of thought about how the world works. These paradigms then become the defining ways in which members of communities relate to one another. When a new idea takes root (think unionization or climate action), the success or failure of that idea depends on whether it can cross through multiple circles; and this depends on whether there are connectors who can make that happen. Common Ground is a connector.

WE BUILD HIGH-TRUST RELATIONSHIPS

We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have worked with thousands of people and hundreds of organizations over three decades.
The world is a better place because of their hard work and they inspire us everyday.

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Clients Around
The World

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Of Our Work Is With Repeat Clients

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Of Our New Business Comes From Current Client Referrals

"We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk."

THOMAS MOORE
team
Services

WHAT WE DO

Our team of design thinkers tailors services to your specific needs. Our flexible approach allows us to adapt our efforts
to your expectations, providing outside-the-box solutions and high-trust partnerships with each engagement.

We won’t tell you what you already know or what you want to hear. Common Ground is about change.
We’ll push you relentlessly—with compassion and empathy—to achieve sustainable impact and deliver powerful results.

ORGANIZATIONAL TRANSFORMATION

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Organizations are dynamic, always changing, ever evolving; and that disequilibrium is often disruptive. Our “change engagements” help restore balance and alignment and focus on dismantling structural racism, managing growth or contraction, building stronger leaders, and addressing serious interpersonal conflicts.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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Our LEAD Model™ is a servant leader paradigm designed for people willing to work to achieve goals that transcend personal interests. Entrepreneurial in spirit and team-based in approach, LEAD is grounded within the interplay of two ideas—human potential and social responsibility. The model is highly adaptable with flexible methodologies to accommodate diverse learning styles, ages, genders, and cultures.

INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING

Common Ground is engaged when the status quo stops working—innovation is waning, fundraising is slowing down, or staff have become frustrated. We help you imagine and engineer a new vision for your work—one with a supportive structure, appropriate and forward-leaning systems, and management and governance processes that engage the full capacities of your team.

ASSESSMENT & COACHING

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We design and implement process improvements. Our appreciative inquiry approach uncovers what people and organizations are doing well and forms the basis for how we evaluate program interventions, measure impact, assess stakeholder engagement, and design performance appraisal systems.

TRAINING & FACILITATION

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Common Ground engages in the design and delivery of high-quality, interactive, non-formal education, using our own practical and culturally-competent curricula—materials that are constantly being evolved by our expert team to reflect best and promising practices.

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

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Our most impactful work occurs with clients who value trust, flexibility, innovation, and risk-taking. We succeed because the trust we build upfront allows us to explore underlying conflicts—getting to the root causes of what is really going on. When these conversations get real, powerful breakthroughs occur.

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ACHIEVING IMPACT

The scope and scale of our work is constantly expanding and we would love to work with you!
If you have a few minutes, click on the pictures below and check out some of our recent projects.

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A Few of Our Recent Engagements

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Leveraging Local Capacity

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Fostering Youth Impact

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Securing Gender Equality

AFGHANISTAN
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Facilitating Change

The Caribbean
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Strengthening Networks

GLOBAL
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Building Strong Institutions

ALBANIA
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Managing Growth

GLOBAL
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Re-Imagining Leadership

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"THE BEST TIME TO PLANT A TREE WAS 20 YEARS AGO; THE NEXT BEST TIME IS TODAY."

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GET CONNECTED

Works
Clients

OUR ROCKSTAR CLIENTS

Our diverse client portfolio includes 250+ organizations and businesses, dozens of colleges and universities,
30+ foundations and consulting firms, and a wide variety of governments and their ministries and agencies.

As a small business, our international practice prioritizes Global South issues
and we’ve worked in 32 countries from Afghanistan to Uganda.

"If no mistake you have made, yet losing you are … a different game you should play."

Master Yoda

FOUNDATIONS & CONSULTING FIRMS

GOVERNMENT AGENCIES

NATIONAL NONPROFITS & NGOS

COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES

SOCIAL PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES & ABROAD

Clients

CLICK ON THE MARKERS BELOW TO SEE OUR WORK IN EACH LOCATION

LET'S WORK TOGETHER

We promise: We will exceed your expectations.