I went to my first CP workshop a skeptic

Robert Feirsen, Ed.D., Superintendent
Garden City Public Schools, Garden City, NY

“Frankly, I went to my first CP workshop as something of a skeptic. Many times, such workshops have provided interesting information and a chance to meet good people, but rarely do they live up to their billing.

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In any case, I attended because I recognized that my work depended on the ability to get productive and timely work from groups.

At the time, our state department of education had just mandated the development of comprehensive district plans in just about every area related to teaching and learning; each had a requirement for a quick turnaround and each one required that the product—the plan—be the result of collaboration among faculty, administrators and parents.

I was looking for insights into group process and group dynamics—a few useful hints, perhaps. What I got was a very different way of looking at things, one that focused on results yet still provided those involved with the respect, dignity and opportunities for meaningful input they deserved.

After completing the training, I was able to go back to my school district, work with diverse groups to develop the required plans, and include in those plans really meaningful goals, activities and program assessments.

I’ve been a proponent since then—and I’ve used it in countless ways: strategic planning, program design, program assessment, personnel evaluation, presentations to the community, and team building.”

Our Board really liked it. Comments like ‘this is exactly what we needed’ were the rule vs. the exception

Raymond B. White, Chief Executive Officer
The Watson Institute, Sewickley, PA
“Educating Exceptional Children and their Educators”

“Efficiency is what we were seeking; consensus is what we got as a byproduct. This is a very focused way of “getting people on board.

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The Board really liked it. Comments like ‘this is exactly what we needed’ were the rule vs. the exception.

Take any task – eliminate the what we are not here to address – outline what we need to do – get at the ‘to do’s’ and get everyone to literally sign on for their role.

We have a construction project and a capital campaign – this process is very useful for both. We used the process for our Board retreat – the Board really liked it.

You won’t find a better group of people with whom to work and their experience makes the process extremely efficient and cost effective. It will save you a lot of meetings.”

Most effective training

Jan Nedin, Change Management & OD/EHR Implementation Consultant
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

“The Compression Planning System is by far the single most effective tool I have learned in all of my travels through two masters degrees and a gazillion workshops.”

I found CP sessions much more productive and focused than other meetings

Carrie Bearden, Ph.D
Exceptional Children Specialist, Louisville KY

“Before receiving training in Compression Planning, I attended many meetings where the facilitator used this process. I found those meetings much more productive and focused, and with a pre-defined outcome when we completed our task.

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My favorite part of Compression Planning is the communication plan.  It specifies the minute steps that the group must take to ensure that their plan is implemented with fidelity. It gives the group confidence that its hard work and wonderful ideas will actually be communicated, which adds accountability to ensure that the tasks will be completed!”

Used CP to organize details for our new International Campus

Tom Botzman, Ph.D., VP Business & Finance
St. Mary’s College of Maryland, St. Mary’s City, MD

“ I first learned about Compression Planning in the early 1980s and have been using it since.

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We recently trained18 colleagues to use Compression Planning and they are using it in a variety of ways.

We’ve had sessions that clarified the organization of details for our new international campus, planned a move into a new building complete with thousands of details on a very short timeline, and prioritized daily activities.”

Impressed by how quickly NIC staff were able to develop very complete plans

Winnie Ore, President, Western Training and Consulting
Center of the Enhancement of Human Potential, LLC, Helena, MT

“My purpose for learning the Compression Planning process was simple: an agency (National Institute of Corrections) who contracts with me uses the Compression Planning process on a fairly routine basis.

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I was thrilled as I’d been impressed by how quickly NIC staff…utilizing the Compression Planning process…were able to develop very complete plans to solve fairly complex problems in very short periods of time.

The Compression Planning training is masterfully designed. Participants bring real-world projects and apply the Compression Planning process to those ideas, projects etc. The ability to take a goal (in some cases a thought) to a sold plan in a matter of a few hours and have truly great minds (the other participants) from a broad variety of back grounds help with the planning –what a deal!

This system has been one of the most valuable tools in my tool chest.”

Levels the playing field for participants

Peter R. Hughes, Market Vice President – Business Development
Mayo Clinic Health System/Franciscan Healthcare, La Crosse, WI

“Compression Planning really levels the playing field, and one of the things people like best about the process is it’s fun!

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Many, many times I hear ‘This is the best planning session I’ve ever been in.’ It spans the gap for everyone.

If you’re no-nonsense, you’ll like it for that reason. If you’re creative, you’ll like it because it allows you to be very creative and open to a lot of different directions.”

Compression Planning helps us reach consensus as a group

Don Moyer, Co-Founder
ThoughtForm Inc. – Information Architects
, Pittsburgh PA

“I took the class back in the fall of 1988. I still have the binder and still refer to it. It was probably the most useful seminar in my career…stuff I could apply immediately.

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The Compression Planning techniques I learned are key elements in starting our major projects. I see two big benefits of the techniques. One is the ability to compress the time it takes to get started. Without Compression Planning, we could probably collect all that information in other ways but it would take longer – in some cases, a lot longer. In other cases, it might be impossible.

The second benefit is that Compression Planning helps us reach consensus as a group. It’s essential to get our clients in agreement and in some kind of alignment.

The technique does that because all the decisions the group makes are visible and they’re irrefutable. When we have agreement, we can move a project forward.”

I use this strategy in practically all aspects of my work

Dr. Judy Reault
Educational Leadership Director, Pasco, WA

“I am using CP with a number of school districts in strategic planning or improvement planning.

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I have used it with other groups as well to solve problems, kick-start stale plans and plan major events. The results of all my sessions have been surprisingly great.

I am not sure why I continue to be surprised, but I do. People walk away from sessions thrilled with the product(s) generated – they love having a plan of action.

Leaders using CP take initiatives from idea to action in a way that builds collaboration and consensus

Annette Brown, Professional Development Specialist
Mary Pater, Director Talent Management
Luxottica Retail, Mason, OH

“Compression Planning has played a role quietly behind the scenes of several initiatives over almost 20 years within Luxottica Retail (we’re better known for our LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sunglass Hut, Sears Optical and Target Optical retail brands).

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We enlisted Jerry and his team years ago to help craft the early LensCrafters brand corporate mission, vision and core values; we’ve since used the process on multiple initiatives, from identifying streamlining opportunities to executing innovative ideas that delivered eyeglasses to more needy recipients during international optical missions.

We’ve found Compression Planning very effective in taking initiatives from idea to action in a way that builds collaboration and consensus.

Luxottica Retail places heavy importance on leadership at all levels. As part of our leadership philosophy, we believe in challenging the process and enabling our associates to act.

In a tough retail business climate, like other organizations we’re faced with doing more, with fewer resources, in the least possible time. Once again, we’ve enlisted McNellis for high-impact workshops to help us equip a targeted pool of associates with Compression Planning skills.

In a recent workshop, about 20 participants worked on real projects with an estimated price tag of almost $50 million. These participants, many with multi-million dollar business responsibilities, have begun to report powerful productivity gains. Some are moving projects forward by two months or more by conducting a single two-hour CP session.

Jerry McNellis and team have truly developed a ‘thinking technology’ that has proven effective for our organization over time, and now, we’re incorporating it more than ever to empower associates, drive personal productivity, provide handrails for delivering results and developing leaders.”

Get people on the same page priority-wise

Christine Shaw, Public Relations & Interim Director of Continuing Education
Ohio University Zanesville, Zanesville, OH

“We’ve found CP really helpful in providing direction and priorities for the grants we apply for on a yearly planning period. It helps get all the entities and departments on board for what we are going to do…the priorities…they buy in to the collective agenda and where we’ll spend our efforts.

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The biggest benefit for us has been to get people on the same page priority-wise.

When you work in higher education, people have their own agendas with their own priorities. Compression Planning helps people see and appreciate the big picture in the mission of the larger university.”

People are always amazed at how much we can get done in large groups with effective planning and facilitation

Jonathan W. Hurwitch, Executive Vice President
Sentech, Inc., Bethesda, MD

“I was asked to put together a group of experts from electric utilities to develop a national R&D plan.

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We hired Jerry to train our facilitators and I have been using his Compression Planning system ever since to run small, medium, and large meetings.

I believe Jerry’s teaching and concepts have not just helped me in planning meetings but also in critical and strategic thinking.

People are always amazed at how much we can get done in large groups with effective planning and facilitation.”

Spend years…or hours planning

Dr. Morris Beverage, President
Lakeland Community College, Kirtland, OH

“We were hired by an area university to help with a problem they were stymied with. They tried to develop a specific program for two years, but they kept going around in circles.

With one Compression Planning session, they were finally able to generate action steps that they had struggled to come up with for two years.”

Simple to implement and results in team cohesiveness

Laurel Castiglione, Former Manager, Web Governance, Globalization and Marketplace; Corporate Communications
General Motors Corporation

“I first encountered Jerry McNellis and his methodology for addressing issues while working for the General Motors EV1 program.

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The EV1 was an invention-on demand program that required quick, thoughtful action to address problems, define alternatives and build electric vehicle solutions.

Jerry’s method for capturing ideas, focusing discussions and enhancing ideas to encompass more than simple thoughts provided the means for our team to define the future.

The Compression Planning process is simple to implement and results in team cohesiveness. It is so much easier to build the future with your team aligned to a common purpose. An action plan built with commitment to incorporate input from all players is a plan with a greater chance for success. This process provides that result.

I have personally utilized the process to determine my future career plans with great success. Jerry is a mentor I respect and admire who suggested that this approach could be used to capture the myriad of thoughts surrounding any subject including personal planning.

I gave it a shot and it worked. I use it for everything from defining bylaws for a cabin community to next career positioning. Thank you, Jerry, for your enlightenment. I recommend that others take the opportunity to grow and try the process to clarify their world.”

For these teams, CP was a life saver

Jeanny Amidon…in her work with First Energy
Toledo, OH

“I used CP to help teams of employees coming together from three different nuclear plants to develop common processes that would be implemented as the standard across our fleet.

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We worked on establishing common processes for everything from the procedures we use to perform work to how we make design modifications to nuclear power plants.

Besides being an effective tool, CP really did make a very difficult job a little easier for the folks involved. These employees were asked to develop these common processes in addition to their normal work so they were only able to come together periodically.

For these teams, CP was a life saver.”

Keeps team meetings productive

Michael A. Couch, President
Michael Couch & Associates Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

“Compression Planning through-out our Lean Six Sigma implementation at Dormont Manufacturing Company.

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A key to success for any Six Sigma team is creativity and getting the input of all the resources on the team.

Speed also helps the process to not falter and keeps team meetings productive. These are all hallmarks of Compression Planning.

It was always my contention that every Black Belt (leaders of Lean Six Sigma Projects)should be a trained and experienced Compression Planning facilitator.”

Investment in the training will be returned tenfold

Pat Gerity Ph.D., VP Cont. Ed/ Workforce & Community Dev.
Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, PA

“I’ve experienced the effectiveness of Compression Planning many times. It enables people to work in a much more efficient and effective manner and allows them to pursue more opportunities.

I know the investment in the training will be returned tenfold.”

CP is like Lamaze

Pamela Jira, Executive Dir. Foundation/Assistant to the President
Zane State College, Zanesville, OH

“CP is at the base of everything I do. It’s kind of like Lamaze. I got into it for one reason and then found applications for it in so many other aspects of my life.

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Sometimes faculty members have an idea of what they want to do and they’re not really sure how to make it specific. How do they make it into a form that we can apply for a grant and fund their idea?

For example, one group I did Compression Planning with involved four cooperating organizations who wanted to help girls get more interested in science. We received a four-year grant for $800,000.”

Everyone thought there wasn’t a chance to get the grant

John Jeanetta, President & CEO
Heartland Family Service, Omaha, NE

“We were approached by a school district to write a grant. It was really complex because it involved three federal agencies and a host of community partners.

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Doing a grant with one department of the federal government is tough enough. Working with three federal departments is unbelievably complex – and we only had two weeks to pull it all together and submit it.

The competition for the grant was fierce and people all over the country were applying for it. Their people had done lots of the background work that needed to be pulled together and focused. Everyone thought there wasn’t a chance to get the grant; however, we took it on.

In two meetings…one for about two hours…another for one hour…we used Compression Planning and identified all the parts and pieces and most importantly, identified the holes…the gaps that were missing and assigned them to people to be completed.

I know without Compression Planning that school district and their partners would not have been awarded the $9 million grant.”

CP can take a good idea and make it great

Joyce Wycoff, Founder,
InnovationNetwork, Bakersfield, CA

“Recently, the Boston Consulting Group released a study showing that 80% of CEOs think that innovation is critical to their future, but less than half of them think they are doing a good job with it.

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It also showed that we have lots and lots of good ideas, but were not commercializing them. To me that means there are probably one of two things happening.

Either the good ideas aren’t good enough to capture the imagination and passion of the people OR, they don’t have a process in place to successfully implement ideas.

Compression Planning does both of those things. It can take a good idea and make it great…and it creates an environment that allows passion and engagement to emerge, which greatly enhances the likelihood of successful implementation.”

Use it with your family, with your church, at your work

Alfredo Enrique Umaña, Director,
Applied Consulting, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

“Compression Planning is the core methodology in my consulting practice. It is what I am getting to be known for as a business consultant. I use it in one way or another in each and every one of my work engagements.

Use it with your family, with your church, at your work, in your personal decisions. Use it and you will find it to be a great tool to add to your life skills.”

CP keeps everyone focused on the target goals

Mary Jo D’Orazio, Manager, Training and Organization Development
Denver International Airport, Denver, CO

“When you need quick decisions, when you’re bringing a lot of diverse people to the table with different agendas and different motivations, Compression Planning keeps everyone focused on the target goals.”

What used to take us weeks now takes hours

Doug Hall, Founder and CEO
The Eureka! Ranch, Newtown, OH

“Our work teams find this remarkable system has documented bottom-line results:

– Time to completion drops an estimated 50%
– Errors and mistakes drop an estimated 40%

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Most importantly, a sense of total ownership for the process grows among employees ‘10 fold.’

What makes this system particularly unique in today’s over tech world is that it does this without the use of a
computer, without any costly hardware.

What used to take us weeks now takes hours with the ‘thinking technology’ that drives the Compression Planning system.”

Staying on task

Scott Schrank, Vice President, Hampton Brand Management
Hilton Hotels Corporation, Memphis, TN

“Jerry not only helped me to create a relationship with a group of people I had no experience with, but also turned that session into a results-oriented meeting that will generate benefits for some time to come.

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He did an excellent job of staying on task to make sure we accomplished what I had intended from this session and then generated a document that helped us follow-up in the weeks and months ahead. Thanks Jerry!!”

‘First step’ in working with a client

Lloyd Corder, Ph.D., President & CEO
CorCom, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

“I worked for a large public relations agency that was asked to constantly write proposals, which took a lot of thinking and agency time to develop. Some clients would hire us, but a lot of people would simply steal our ideas and recommendations.

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Compression Planning helped us solve this problem, not as a brainstorming means for ourselves but as a product we would offer clients.

We sold it as the ‘first step’ in working with a client. We used it to explore their current situation, brainstorm possible solutions and prioritize a set of recommendations.

Compression Planning solved two problems. First, it allowed us to get paid for writing a proposal (about $5,000 for a two-hour session with two to three agency and two to three client representatives).

Second, our proposal acceptance went way up, because we were now giving recommendations and we already had a chance to start proving ourselves in the kick-off meeting.

Since that time, I’ve used CP frequently for strategic planning, developing marketing plans and other consensus-building activities.

It continues to work great and continues to turn unpaid meetings into events that clients love and that produce results.”

Determine whether Saddam Hussein was detonating any nuclear devices

Don Bolland, Owner
Bolland Machine
, Beaver Falls, PA

“The project was for the Air Force because they wanted to determine whether Saddam Hussein was detonating any nuclear devices.

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Six of us did a Compression Planning session – a machine shop supervisor, two machinists, one sheet metal mechanic, Dr. Shell and I.

As a young scientist, Dr. Shell was involved with the Manhattan Project that built the first atomic bomb.

We storyboarded for about two-thirds of a day and planned the whole thing!

When we went out of there, we knew exactly what we wanted. We knew what specific pieces of instrumentation we needed. We knew how we had to have everything mounted. We had everything we needed to start construction.

The Air Force was able to take air samples and feed it through our device to tell whether any nuclear gases, as a result of nuclear fission, were released into the atmosphere. The air samples could be taken from 1,000 miles away from the site they wanted to check.”

Use CP instead of all the useless meetings we have to sit though

Edward Wolahan, Correctional Program Specialist
Dept. of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, Aurora, CO

“I was looking for something that was new and unique to planning. I needed something that was different than writing on flip charts where we had no way to organize or develop an action plan.

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Part of my job with the Bureau of Prisons as the Distance Learning Administrator is to produce all Satellite-Internet Broadcasts, where we produce all types of training and I use Compression Planning to plan the programs.

There are so many ways that this can be used. I am pushing to convince my administration to use this method with all the useless meetings we have to sit though.

You could use this method to plan a multibillion dollar project to a small project.”

Nonprofit foundation achieves a 35% increase in annual donations

Brian Cubarney, Founder and Creative Director
ClearBrands, Inc., Zelienople, PA

“A one-day Compression Planning session to help a commercial aircraft flight software client ‘focus its product value proposition’ yielded – within three weeks of implementation – new contracts with the Sprint/Nextel corporate fleet, Honeywell, Worldspan, Goodrich, and Navaro giving an exponential leap for the small firm’s revenues and long-term contracts.

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The focused action plan from a one-day Compression Planning session helped a nonprofit foundation client achieve a 35% increase in annual donations within the first five months of its 12-month plan.”

Broken the code on focus and effectiveness in team planning

Dan Chaverin, Executive Pastor
Westside Family Church, Lenexa, KS

“Jerry McNellis has broken the code on focus and effectiveness in team planning.

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Compression Planning is the most effective collaboration tool that I have used– it builds teamwork, and simply gets things done. It is a gem of a tool for leaders who want to build collaborative teams, authentic consensus, and effective follow through.

Mastering this planning skill is well worth the effort. If you want shorter meetings, authentic team consensus, and clear ownership and follow-through on tasks, Compression Planning is for you. Your team meetings will never be the same! (thank goodness!)”

Used CP for over 20 years at three companies

Les Whitver, Vice President
Michigan Seamless Tube, South Lyon, MI

“I have used Compression Planning for over 20 years at three companies. It is a great tool to bring people together to find an answer to anything from problems to vacation planning. When a team of people come together in this atmosphere and learn the method, they are unstoppable in finding and agreeing on a solution.”

Infuse an infectious form of energy into a team

Bob Speck, President/CEO
Blue Coast Burrito, Brentwood, TN

“Compression Planning is the result of many years of experience, as Jerry McNellis has fine-tuned his breakthrough methodologies of how a leader can transform an organization and the process by which strategy is identified, planned and conducted (or implemented).

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His concepts are focused, engaging of all, fun and highly effective in their capacity to produce results. I recommend his vision for organizational effectiveness – made practical in every sense of detail – to CEOs, division or department heads, planning executives, pastors, or anyone in a position to harness the help of others to produce an end result.

Jerry’s methodologies are fresh and innovative, with the capacity to infuse an infectious form of energy into a team of people, whether it is a small group or large organization, wide-ranging or narrow in scope.”

Get everyone on the same page at the beginning

Bryan A. Pai, Project Manager
SRA International, Washington, DC

“The CP Institute training was like turning a light on for me. I leaned the essential skills to become a more effective facilitator.

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I currently assist my company’s internal strategic planning group by serving as a CP facilitator for a wide variety of cross-functional issues.

I most recently used a CP session to help the Legal department to identify the formal processes and critical steps needed to manage contracts and legal documents.

The goal was to prioritize the processes in order to more effectively introduce a document management information system.

The key concept I learned from CP is the importance of having a purpose, a non-purpose and background for each and every meeting. I have sat in too many meetings where time is wasted because every participant has a different idea of what is to be accomplished.

CP teaches that getting everyone on the same page at the beginning of a meeting is essential if you are going to ask that group to address a topic or solve a problem.”

How do you describe the indescribable – you don’t – you need to experience it

Trevor MacPherson M.D., Professor of Pathology and Vice Chair Pathology
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

“I have experienced and used Compression Planning for over 25 years. How do you describe the indescribable – you don’t – you need to experience it. If you get one message from this book, it must be ‘I need to go and experience this!!’

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From church retreats, to corporate boards, to professional organizations, to academic institutions, to multi-service defense research projects, to a family vacations – all are enhanced and enabled by this process.

The interactive and communication playing field is leveled as each participate – irrespective of rank or status – and has the opportunity for equal influence since the process ensures that ideas not individuals win the day and determine the future.”

Instrumental in developing an institution wide strategic plan

Sula J. Hurley, Director Office of Planning and Grants
Greenville Technical College, Greenville, SC

“In my role as Director of Planning and Grants at a large, public technical college, Compression Planning has been instrumental both in the development of an institution wide strategic plan and in planning programs and grant projects.

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I have also successfully used Compression Planning with various smaller nonprofit organizations to develop program and fundraising action plans.

In every situation where I use this approach, people who participate are delighted with the outcomes they achieve in a short period of time, and they are always energized by the process and appreciate the relationships that emerge from this positive experience.

And in the debriefing process, it’s clear that people feel valued by having used their limited time wisely and productively.

This is absolutely the best approach to planning I have seen in any organization!”

CP sessions are both intuitive and energizing

David Fortt, Founder
New Image Associates, Tolland, CT

“I was introduced to Compression Planning in 2005 and attended the Advanced Institute in 2008. If anything, I waited too long before attending the second training!

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Compression Planning is truly a unique way of thinking and I have used it in developing mission, vision, values statements for both non-profit and for-profit organizations.

Our clients have found the CP sessions to be both intuitive and energizing. Intuitive in the sense that the structure and rules make complete sense, and energizing in the sense that they are cognitively liberating – enabling participants to take larger steps in thinking and decision-making in less time than they might otherwise.”

The Germans were very skeptical at first

Constantin von Reizenstein, Ph.D. Student in HealthCare Economics
University of Munich, Co-Owner of a German Forest Estate

“I was trained in Compression Planning the summer of 2008 during my year-and-a-half stay in the United States. Very enthusiastic about the concept and what I have learned, I was sure that it would not only work in the US but also in Europe.

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The perfect occasion occurred when we had a retreat of our family-owned Forest Management Company ‘Boscor Forest’ that manages roundabout 30,000 acres of forest land in Germany and Austria. There were six forest engineers, three administrators, three members of the senior management team, plus me as the ‘independent’ facilitator.

The goal was to identify critical issues in our day-to-day business in the following areas: Forestry (Production), Administration and Management.

After a day-and-a-half of CP and a lot of fun we came up with five key problems that we needed to address in the next year to improve our outcomes as well as detailed plans that outlined the action steps to solve each problem.

At first, the Germans were very skeptical. In the end, very enthusiastic about Compression Planning and what we had achieved.

The bottom-line is quicker and smarter answers

Steve Moya, Former Chief Marketing Officer
Humana, Inc., Santa Barbara, CA

“The logic of coordinated group problem solving is too often trumped by the associated burden. In Exploding the Meeting Myth, Jerry McNellis outlines a thoughtful process used successfully with countless organizations over three decades.

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The bottom-line is quicker and smarter answers that address fundamental organizational problems and opportunities.

But in the Compression Planning process so much more is gained. Learning with peers becomes a reality. The ability to see issues with clarity and to sift quickly through volumes of data and information is improved.

The process also highlights a key failure in organizational development—deciding what not to do. And importantly, the methods outlined can be used regularly throughout the year with efficiency and speed.”

First thing we did was start a CP session

Suzanne Jacobson, Training Consultant
Manila, Philippines

“My husband Marc and I returned to the Philippines two weeks ago, and the first thing we did was to start a Compression Planning session. We had each gathered snippets of information from different sources on our two-month trip in the US, and wanted to share them as part of the background for our planning.

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We then moved to our non-purposes, and sure enough there were about 10. We were left with the one thing we had to focus on as we returned.

Within two hours we had defined our task, the parameters which needed to be met and within four days we had accomplished that goal and were ready to plan again.

It was the NONs that helped us focus and get complete agreement so quickly.”

We’d been through a very difficult transition and needed to heal the institution

Dr. Joe Forrester, President
Community College of Beaver County, Monaca, PA

We decided that strategic planning was to be the vehicle for bringing people together, and we chose Compression Planning with Jerry McNellis as the model for our process. We trained 17 people as Compression Planning facilitators and this group evolved into the institution’s Planning Council.

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With Jerry’s assistance, we conducted a series of external focus groups and ultimately, decided the best approach was to put every employee in the college through Compression Planning simultaneously.

We did 14 sessions concurrently, for more than 300 people in one day. It was a way to demonstrate across the college that we were serious in our commitment to transform the institution and that we were serious about our employees being part of the process.

We were so pleased with the outcome that we now use Compression Planning in a variety of ways, other than just strategic planning for the institution. We’re using it in work with our Advisory Committees, working with some of our internal committees and councils and in curriculum planning.

We’re starting to use it in work we do with some of the external organizations in our communities. We are adapting the process to our institution and are extremely pleased with the successes we are having.

We’ve given voice to a group of people who felt they did not previously have a voice in the organization.

Compression Planning created a framework allowing us to address thorny issues in a positive, productive manner.

Very quickly, people realized they were being given power and they demonstrated their commitment by taking ownership of the process and outcomes. It kept them in an active role.

We’ve had members of the staff stay they’ve never worked in an organization where they felt as valued as they do now.

That’s a powerful statement.

I’ve been in the administration of higher education for over 30 years. The day the Planning Council presented the Vision, Mission, Values and Goals developed through the Compression Planning process to the College’s Board of Trustees was probably the single most emotional day in the life of an institution that I have seen in my career.

I have never felt prouder of an organization in my life. I knew intuitively there would be a strengthening of the institution resulting from our experience with Compression Planning. I don’t think any of us expected the power, strength and commitment we’ve seen.

We’ve gotten far more out of the experience than we anticipated. We’re now in a good place and we’re becoming a stronger institution through our work with Jerry and Compression Planning.

Trust the process of Compression Planning. At the end of the day, if you stay with the process, it will get you where you want to go.”

A lot of effort but the results were remarkable

Thom Hickling (deceased)
Freelance writer for Agora Inc.

“As a result of that seminar, I’ve led several sessions in our company and your techniques have proven to be quite useful in helping us generate new marketing ideas.

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You’ll be interested to know that one idea that came out of one planning session helped develop an idea that generated over $1,000,000 with a single email promotion in less than a week.

I led a Compression Planning brainstorming meeting in Delray Beach, Florida with a few top level copywriters who work with me at Agora, Inc. Agora publishes financial analysis and advice for individual investors.

The purpose of the meeting was to generate new headline and lead ideas for promotions. Out of that two-hour meeting came four ideas worth further development for our products.

One of the ideas that came from the brainstorming session was further developed by an editor/copywriter into a promotion for a $10,000 financial product to be sold via the Internet. That one promotion alone generated over 100 orders in less than a week. You do the math. That’s over a million dollars.

This was an unusually successful promotion behind a very big idea for an expensive product. A typical email promotion may generate $35,000 to as much as $100,000. So this got a lot of attention. It didn’t come without a lot of effort (and also a few headaches), but still the results were remarkable.

Since that planning session, there has been a much greater interest in using Compression Planning for other divisions of our company.”

Working with such groups is like herding cats

Joan Haley, SW Area Health Education Center & Coordinator
Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program, Pittsburgh, PA

“I used Compression Planning with our board to set priorities for the areas we would pursue for grants.

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Frequently working with such groups is like herding cats and CP helps rein them in and get people focused and committed.

CP helped make the ideas concrete/specific. It was an interdisciplinary group…academic and community members.”

Bring a breath of fresh air to your work

Judith Cawhorn, Executive Director of Grant Development
Mott Community College, Flint, MI

“Several things happened during my first CP session. First, even though I had always received compliments on my facilitation skills, I was taken aback by the participation of each group and how good they felt at the end of the sessions.

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Second, we got twice as much accomplished than with my old process and no one left wondering about the next steps.

And, finally, we didn’t have to figure out how one newsprint stuck on the wall related to another because the CP boards and cards were organized…they were right in front of us and easy to build on in preparing our next session and next proposal draft. I was sold!

I find the preplanning session with the key stakeholders invaluable. By having this session in place, the first session with multiple stakeholders is so much more productive and people participating really appreciate the clarity of the bigger picture.

We’re using CP with every single proposal that we develop. I do know that we have improved the time it takes us to develop most grants by eliminating duplication of effort and not having to backtrack to find out something that we missed.

The ‘old dogs’ like me who have problems learning ‘new tricks’ need to know that this will bring a breath of fresh air to your work and you’ll wonder where it has been all of your life. Just think about the fact that people will walk away feeling good about the meeting (how often does that happen?) and they will be talking about how skillful you are to others.”

Regardless of the latest management fad du jour

Denis R Benjamin B.Sc., M.B.,B.Ch, Former Medical Director of Pathology and Laboratories
Cook Children’s Medical Center, Fort Worth, TX

“It began innocently enough over two decades ago at a professional medical society retreat. The stated aim of said retreat was to update the society’s strategic plan.

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Anticipating the usual fruitless and boring meeting with colleagues, I reluctantly agreed to participate. Two days later, the society had a new future roadmap, every participant was energized and engaged, and I was a changed person.

The meeting was facilitated by Jerry McNellis and his colleagues from the Compression Planning Institute.

It was my introduction to the power of the Compression Planning methodology. Enthralled by the outcome of that meeting, I attended a training session determined to learn the basic principles.

I returned to my home institution as an enthusiastic proponent. Within months I facilitated any number of disparate planning sessions – from redesigning the psychiatry department to exploring the hospital’s role in fetal medicine.

Each proved so successful that we invited Jerry to train a wider group of facilitators at the hospital.

I have employed Compression Planning in such diverse settings as nonprofit organizations, schools, and professional groups, all the way to the personal level of selling our home.

Of all the tools and techniques I have learned over the years, the only one that has endured, matured and evolved to where it is as useful today as it was when I was first exposed to it, has been Compression Planning.

It is adaptable to a wide variety of planning and problem solving issues. Regardless of the latest management fad du jour, Compression Planning can be employed with success.”

Attendees are amazed at how much gets accomplished in so little time

Luanne J. Panacek, Chief Executive Officer
Children’s Board of Hillsborough County, Tampa, FL

“Compression Planning is the single most effective thinking strategy and group planning and problem solving technique I have ever learned.

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Learning the process profoundly changed the way I planned and thought through every part of my life. In the over twenty years I have been using the process I have led hundreds of group planning sessions around the country. Without exception attendees are amazed at how much gets accomplished in so little time and how fully engaged everyone is.

When I was hired as CEO I integrated the process into our way of doing business. Our staff are trained and we have trained and disseminated the technique to hundreds of people within our community and around the state. The return on investment in learning and using this process is so astronomical I can’t even attempt to calculate it.”

Adapting CP to plan and execute IT projects

Jack R. Rearick, PMP, Project Management Office
Federated Services Company, Pittsburgh, PA

“As a believer and user of Compression Planning, it has become a very valuable tool in our project management toolkit. We have adapted the CP structure and principles to the planning and execution of our IT projects.

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We have applied it in all phases of project management, including work breakdown sessions, daily team meetings, problem solving, and project retrospectives.

The power of the tool for us is that:

• It provides a framework that is adaptable to a variety of applications.

• It creates a visual platform for information.

• It is persistent…we can work on it, stop, and come back to it.

Team members can add things ‘on-the fly’ for discussion with the group at a later time.”

In the end, we’ve always gotten a phenomenal product

Laura Degnon, CAE, Vice President
Degnon Associates, McLean, VA

“Jerry and his team have done several strategic planning retreats for our clients, who are comprised of physicians and researchers primarily in academia.

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If any of our clients ever wants an outstanding, reasonably priced team to lead their strategic planning efforts, Jerry McNellis and Compression Planning are at the top of the list of our recommendations.

Jerry spends a fair amount of time interviewing participants in advance of the meeting, reading the association’s literature, and is extremely prepared for the retreats.

The design that goes into planning a retreat is so well thought out, and collaborative, that, in the end, we’ve always gotten a phenomenal product that has helped moved the organizations to the next level.

The systems used are simply outstanding.

We recently had a retreat with Jerry and his team that involved some very complex issues. Jerry’s firm, yet warm style, helped us work through these issues. And, it was actually quite fun in doing so! I consider Jerry a top-notch facilitator and a friend whom I highly respect.”