Our Approach

We are committed to marrying sustainability expertise with the leading practices for change management and organization development.  Our approach places equal focus on the cultural and the technical aspects of your sustainability plans.  Our toolkit, experience, and network of collaborators will create leading edge individual, team and large group process support to every project.

See our approach to:

Sustainability Integration

How many expert reports lie in your drawers, delivered by well-qualified consultants trying to help you toward your objectives?  We are different.  We work with you. Our approach enables your staff to actively implement the strategy, policy or program so important to your performance.  We deliver employees who are “bought in” to your critical sustainability activities going forward.

Our Principles

In strategic planning and change management it has long been understood that in order to get results, you must gain buy-in from all affected parties. Genuine buy-in requires some level of participation in the development of the approach.  We believe it is time that this truism permeated the corporate sustainability field.

At GE it is understood that a great technical solution is only that…a technical solution.  There must be an integrated human/culture solution attached to every technical solution.”

The following principles guide our work:

  • Leadership
  • Shared Vision and Outcomes
  • “Right” Strategy
  • Participation
  • Learning
  • Accountability

Our Framework:


Leadership and Vision

Integration requires clear, consistent and on-going reinforcement by senior leaders in the organization.  Executives must be clear regarding the vision/strategy and committed to its value to the company.  The sustainability vision/strategy must be compelling and tied to the overall business objectives.  Finally, it must be shared widely – cascaded through the organization – top down and bottom up.

Tools for Leadership and Vision

  • Shared Visioning (includes mission and values where appropriate)
  • Systems Thinking
  • Scenario Planning
  • Materiality Analysis
  • Benchmarking and Best Practices Review
  • Coaching*

Participation and Communication

Years of change management theory and research has established that in order for a new business approach to take root and lead to better outcomes, employees must embrace and uphold the change.  Employee participation and communication, especially two-way, are the basis for this. Having participation of “the whole system” in integrating a new strategy will facilitate its implementation immeasurably.

Tools for Participation and Communication

  • Internal Stakeholder Mapping
  • Skilled Facilitation
  • Internal Communication Strategy
  • Employee Dialogue Practices
  • Coaching*

Education and Supporting Systems

In order for a new approach or strategy to root itself in the culture, employees need the skills, structure and motivation that enable and reinforce the change.  These structures include: organizational structure and roles, individual and team performance metrics, reward and recognition schemes, technology tools, etc.

Tools for Education and Supporting Systems

  • Employee Training
  • Organizational Design
  • Coaching*
  • Performance Management Alignment

 * Coaching is a tool that is fundamental throughout our framework.  Coaching refers to individual and team support to identify, practice and reinforce behaviors (and attitudes) that align with the desired future state.  It is critical for leaders at all levels – no one wants their own behavior to undermine their ability to bring the future state into reality.

Multi-Company and Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration

In convening a multi-company or multi-stakeholder process (short- or long-term the whole system needs to participate and share the objectives, and the process needs to be rigorously managed and, skillfully facilitated.  Too often, these processes are getting bogged-down, and groups meet for the sake of meeting with unclear or unshared objectives and may even have the wrong players at the table.

Contigo Partners is committed to helping achieve issue resolution from your multi-stakeholder effort – that may include a shared commitment and clear responsibilities to move forward, an implemented program, or a public-private partnership.  We combine our deep knowledge of the issues with effective convening, facilitation and group management techniques

The following principles guide our work:

  • Issue centered
  • Whole system
  • Shared objectives
  • Strong process
  • Common ground
  • Accountable action

Our Framework:

Phase 1: Clarify and Define

We believe that any multi-party effort must be centered on an issue of shared interest.  During this phase it is critical to clarify the issue and understand the nature and current state of the issue.  Clarity enables the next important step of defining the system that affects the issue.  This includes identifying the key perspectives along the lifecycle of the issue.

Phase 2: Scope and Convene

The multi-party process must have a bounded scope of objectives and desired outcomes to ensure success.  Without a shared commitment to these objectives and outcomes and a laser focus on them throughout, the process is likely to drift.  Convening the process includes ensuring that key success factors are in place, such as committed participants, funding, logistics and technology for dialogue and collaboration, neutral facilitation, confidentiality and other agreements, etc.

Phase 3: Facilitate

Skilled, neutral facilitation is often the lever that enables breakthrough insight, agreement and action.  Facilitators that understand the nuances of the issue and system can ensure that subtle cues and connections are brought out and important information is shared early.  Facilitators that are trusted to be neutral and who can resolve conflict can make the necessary conversations happen.

Group Facilitation Tools:

  •    World Cafe
  •     Future Search
  •     Open Space
  •     Maestro on-line

Phase 4: Manage and Measure

Multi-party processes require some level of management to ensure that collaboration happens without burdening participants.  Often there are many moving parts and their complexity grows with time.  Having clear, rigorous management from the beginning is essential to success.  Without ongoing measurement against objectives and desired outcomes, it is difficult to understand progress or know when to recalibrate the process.  Measurement practices must be built in early to ensure success.