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Michael Kern has over 30 years of experience in helping groups of diverse interests reach common ground on a wide range of policy issues. Michael translates this unique and extensive experience into training that builds the capacity of individuals, organizations, and groups to successfully envision, design, initiate, conduct, participate in, and implement collaborative processes. Michael has provided training to a variety of organizations, teaming with colleagues when appropriate to tailor the training to meet the needs of the situation, and provide the best experience and outcomes. Recent clients include:

  • Avista Utilities

  • Chelan Public Utility District

  • Penn State University Extension

  • Seattle Public Utilities/Seattle City Light

  • TFW Policy Committee

  • Triangle Associates, Inc.

“Thanks again for … such a spectacular workshop. I really think this will materially change how things progress this year.” –- Janel Ulrich, Hydro Licensing Manager, Chelan PUD

"From the very start of the workshop, I gathered takeaways that I can directly apply." 

"I appreciated the facilitation techniques in dealing with difficult people. I took extensive notes on this topic.” –- Participants, Penn State Extension Engagement & Facilitation Workshop


Reach out via the Contact page if you would like to discuss scheduling a training tailored to the needs of your organization. Topics that Michael can make available include (more information available upon request):

  • Understanding Conflict and the Nature of Disagreement

  • Introduction to Collaborative Governance

  • Stages of a Collaborative Process 

  • The Spectrum of Participation

  • Dialogue and Deliberation v. Debate and Discussion

  • Conditions Favorable to Initiate a Collaborative Process

  • Elements of Successful Collaborative Processes

  • Measuring Success/What Do Successful Collaborative Groups Have in Common?

  • Situation Assessments

  • Mission and Vision

  • Collaborative Competencies and Skills

  • Tools of Collaborative Work Groups (ground rules, charters, agendas, agreements, etc.)

  • Interest-Based Negotiations, Interests v. Positions

  • Advocacy v. Collaboration

  • Three Types of Collaborative Groups

  • Facilitating Effective Work Groups

  • Collaborative Listening (more satisfying conversations)

  • Trust (two kinds/effect on social capital/how to create it)

  • Representing Your Organization, Constituency, or Caucus

  • Group Process/Group Deliberation/How to Get “Unstuck”

  • Working with Difficult People and Challenging Conversations

  • Interdependencies

  • The Use of Science and Data in Collaborative Processes (joint learning/fact finding) 

  • Case Studies (interactive explorations of examples from Michael’s case history)

  • How to Develop and Manage an Advisory Board

  • How to Create and Implement a Diverse Fund-Raising Strategy 

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