Plan and learn your way to better results.

Signal Key helps executives, stakeholder groups, and on-the-ground improvers understand and manage complexity, to get better results for the people they serve.

We give you just what you need, from our three areas of expertise: Strategy, Design of Improvement Networks, and Instruction and Coaching.


Signal Key’s strategic planning approach grew from Hunter Gatewood’s focus on operations-level performance improvement. This gives our strategy work a unique blend of aspiration and pragmatism. We help you pull up high enough to take the wide view, and we keep you out of the clouds.

To ensure your strategy represents the best thinking and commitment of all the important voices, our approach includes:

  • Careful definition of the opportunity or the problem to be solved

  • Input and participation from staff at all levels of an organization, or from all participating organizations

  • Productive and clarifying facilitation of a well-defined process.

In meetings, Hunter’s facilitation style includes establishing group purpose and trust, mining for productive conflict, and avoiding groupthink. To do this, he uses methods of graphic facilitation to capture and focus discussion, as well as his ability to read a room and manage interpersonal conflict productively. Clients have said Hunter’s practical approach is “inspiring” and “a breath of fresh air.”

Design of Improvement Initiatives & Networks

Change Initiatives

When you have a big change to make in your organization, we help you convert your strategy into a tactical work plan that includes measurable goals and on-the-job instruction for managers and staff. We use the methods of quality improvement to teach effective leadership habits.

Learning Networks

Signal Key supports multi-organization networks of professional learners and collaborators, where learning leads to specific action. Examples of learning networks from our current and recent work:

  • a regional coalition to fight the opioid crisis

  • a state-wide network of population-health leaders from all sides of the healthcare industry

  • a national network of local partnerships to help families with social needs that impact health (like food insecurity and unstable housing).


Instruction and Coaching

In a complex world, individuals and organizations must learn their way to better results. Hunter and the Signal Key team do the teaching and coaching to get you there. Whether it’s one hour or two days, we set practical goals for our time together. We use applied learning activities, and allow plenty of time for people to sit together to plan and make decisions. We avoid jargon to keep things accessible. Hunter uses visual recording to avoid flat slide presentations.

Our focused and engaged approach works. As one delighted healthcare executive said in one of our sessions recently, “You make it all seem so possible!”

Instruction topics

Hunter and the Signal Key team have instructed and coached hundreds of people, in a range of contexts from single-day workshops and staff retreats, to years-long learning networks. Some common instruction topics:

  • Team development and effectiveness

  • Leadership in a complex team environment

  • Leadership versus management: crucial distinctions, crucial overlap

  • How to run a purposeful, effective and trust-building meeting

  • Quality improvement methods, including the leap from projects to standard work

  • Performance measurement strategies and communicating with these data

  • Storytelling to connect and achieve commitment

  • Building effective change initiatives in multi-stakeholder partnerships

  • Managing change fatigue in a busy team environment