Those Crazy Minnesotans... "Here they go again"

by Ron Ousky April 08, 2013

We are about to do something a little crazy in Minnesota.  Yes, again.

We have publicly proclaimed our intention to grow Collaborative Practice by 50% in our community in one year. And we intend to succeed.    Why have we put so much on this solitary goal?   Increasing the number of families who are helped by Collaborative Practice is central to everything else we do.  Focusing our attention on achieving this specific goal will make a major difference in our community and will give us the momentum to bring Collaborative Practice to the next level. 

Here’s how we will achieve this audacious goal:  

1. Identifying a clear, measurable objective.  We identified the average number of Participation Agreements that we currently sign in Minnesota per month (37) and added 50% to arrive at our goal of signing 55 Participation Agreements per month by the end of the year.  This feels like a bold step, as I am not aware of any community that has gathered and publicized this type of information.  We are hopeful that breaking through this barrier will help us become more focused and energized.   


2.  A bold social media campaign.  We have hired a first rate public relations firm to help us launch an ambitious social media campaign.   This is expensive and risky, but we think it will be a great way to raise awareness of Collaborative Practice in our community.  


3. Getting Everyone on Board.    Although we have more than 100 Collaborative Professionals in our community, most cases continue to be handled by a relatively small group of professionals.   We want to engage as many of our members as possible to help us build a stronger community.   Therefore, our member Board will be reaching out to each of our members to help get them fully engaged. 


4. Regular Training on Client Intake:    We are hosting 15 Clinics for our members designed to help them improve their skill at explaining Collaborative Practice to potential clients.  Many of us believe that improving that basic skill could, by itself, help Collaborative Practice grow by 50% in our community. 


5.  Increasing the use of our existing tools.   We are leveraging many other resources developed by our community in recent years, including a redesigned website, a new speaker’s bureau and practice development groups focused on helping members grow their practice. 


Lend us a Hand.

This is a bold and exciting journey and we are hoping to generate the energy necessary to help us make a big splash.  As we go through this adventure, we hope other Collaborative colleagues around the world will help us by sharing their ideas.  In addition, we hope you will follow our journey, send us your positive energy and support as we climb this great mountain.   Stay tuned.

Comments (8) -
4/11/2013 2:27:10 PM #

I'd love to know more about the clinics on client intake.  Is there any way to get copies of any materials you might be using for those clinics?  I think you identified a central problem -- many professionals trained in Collaboration don't get much Collaborative work simply because they have not learned how to talk to potential client about it in an effective way.

View my profile on
4/11/2013 5:38:52 PM #

Thanks for your comments, Mike.  I agree completely.  In fact, I think if we did nothing else but improve the way our members talk about Collaborative Practice during that first meeting, we would increase Collaborative Practice on that one skill alone.  So far, we have have had two substantive clinics; one that I hosted called, the "Top Five Things you can do to Increase your Caseload this year", one clinic in which Judy Johnson, one of our very experiences practioners gave a presenation and led some role plays.  Our next clinic will feature an executive coach who will help people build in their individual strengths through the StrengthFinder Tool.  At this point, we do not have any materials to pass along but we may write some of this up and circulate some written materias.   Some of our future clinics will be one on one mentoring sessions to help members work on their descriptions of Collaborative Practice.  We will keep you posted.

View my profile on
4/14/2013 5:39:12 AM #

I am very excited to hear more about this project to help our members improve their first meetings with clients.  I (and many in our group agree) that this one area can significantly increase collaborative cases.  Ron - when you have handouts - or when you are willing to have a bridge call to share some of this information - please count me in.  

Mike - I'm also interested in what you have learned.  

And anyone else reading this post - please let me know what you have been finding as successful ways to train your members about this skill/approach.  

Thanks to all for your work in advancing collaborative practice.  Lisa

View my profile on
4/14/2013 5:57:03 PM #

Thanks Lisa,   That is a great idea about the phone bridge.  We will set something up at the end of our project to share what we have learned.     Ron

View my profile on
4/17/2013 2:55:11 PM #

These are all fabulous ideas, and I am so inspired to hear about innovations in our collaborative community at large! I agree that regular and ongoing training, particularly on client intake, is something that is necessary and valuable to all collaborative professionals. Way to go Minnesota, and I will certainly stay tuned!

View my profile on
4/17/2013 2:59:45 PM #

Awesome Roy - love it.  The clarity and simplicity while simultaneously having a huge goal.  Please keep us posted and good luck.  

View my profile on
4/23/2013 3:41:36 PM #

This is inspiring. While my county has a slow steady number of cases, it would be fantastic to have collaborative take off.  I think a continuing challenge is that people don't really understand how each system of divorcing works and we are all  challenged to educate our clients at the consult so they can make the appropriate choice for their family.

View my profile on
4/23/2013 3:47:43 PM #

Thanks Gail.  I agree that is it primarily about education.  In my experience, most  clients who learn about Collaborative Practice in a competent manner, choose this option.  However, most people do not learn about it until it is too late.  

View my profile on

Add comment

  • Comment
  • Preview


The Bigger Conversation

Be a part of the conversation! Learn about the latest thoughts, trends and developments in Collaborative Practice from IACP’s Brain Trust, and then join the discussion with other members across the globe. This is your opportunity to be heard; share your experience, knowledge and insights with the rest of us. We’ll all benefit.

Our Featured Bloggers will rotate over time. If you are interested in becoming a Featured Blogger and posting regularly, please contact us at We also welcome periodic submissions from Guest Bloggers. If you have a post to share as a guest, please send your post to us at



Month List