The CQL Focus Forum offers
a unique consultative experience for human service organizations – built on the
principles of real-time change. The consultation brings together
employees, people receiving supports and their families, volunteers, community
supporters, and board members for 2½ days of interactive dialogue, debate, and
action planning. The Focus Forum concludes with an organization-wide plan,
identification of resources, timeframe for implementation, and measures of
The purpose of the Focus Forum is to empower the organization
with the knowledge, tools, partners, leadership, and practical action plans to realize a shared vision for excellence in person-centered supports.
In short, the Focus Forum is about Big Change in A Short Time
at a Low Cost.
What happens during the 2½ day Focus Forum?
- Representatives from the entire organization
(managers, board members, staff, people served, community members, families,
etc.) meet and work together in one place, at the same time.
- Open sharing of ideas is allowed and encouraged
to develop a common base of information.
- The large group explores the current status of
personal choice, person-centered services, and quality of life.
- Small groups identify issues, assets, obstacles,
resources, plans, partners, etc. for three priority areas.
- Groups present their work – plans, actions,
timelines, and responsibilities.
- Organization leadership accepts the action plan
and commits the organization to act.
- Together the organization moves forward through
real-time change, organization-wide dialogue, problem solving, and action.
- What do we do to prepare for the Focus Forum?
Prior to the Focus Forum, the CQL consultant and organization
leadership discuss which organizational members, partners, and stakeholders
should be involved (and invited) to make this a dynamic and successful process.
We talk about how to best gather information and what kinds of organizational
information will be helpful throughout the process. We plan and coordinate the
logistics of the meetings, including time, space, and materials needed for the
process. This typically takes place during two conference calls.
Organizations have the option of completing one or more
online surveys ahead of time. Surveys
cover a range of topics including leadership style, team strength, and change
readiness. Participant responses are completely confidential and results are
presented only in summary format.
Who and how many people should participate?
We highly recommend that the participants represent all those
with a stake in the organization’s work. This includes: directors/managers,
board members, staff members, people served, families, community members, etc.
Representation by people receiving services is essential to a successful
We have worked with groups of less than 30 to over 100
people. The organization is free to determine how many people to invite. The
Focus Forum process ensures that all voices are heard and that all participants
have the opportunity to contribute.
How is the Focus Forum used by organizations?
The Focus Forum can be used as:
- strategic planning exercise
- mission alignment exercise
- organizational transformation initiative
- organizational assessment
- implementation strategy for enhancing
person-centered services, self-determination or person-centered quality of life
Many organizations find that
the Focus Forum can both launch and re-energize organization or culture change
What happens after the Focus Forum?
For the organization, the Focus Forum can be the starting point for
making decisions about additional resources, consultants, and change and
leadership strategies. The shared experience and stakeholder buy-in provides a
sense of renewal, energy, and readiness for all move forward at once.
CQL consultants provide continued support and feedback for
up to 12 months. CQL provides the organization, system, or community with
recommended resources, consultants, and change strategies for the action plan
the organization has adopted. CQL can assist in their choices and make
recommendations for outside resources. CQL provides periodic feedback on the
implementation of the original or revised plan and the attainment of
objectives, measures of success, and timelines.