We’ve developed over 25 training programs, all with a “clean” design that maximizes experiential learning and ensures participants walk away with some solid and practical takeaways.
If you see a topic that piques your interest or speaks to a need in your organization, just know that the content and duration of the program can be tailored to meet your business needs and company culture. Each of these programs can be offered as stand-alone modules anywhere between a half-day and a full-day or packaged together as part of a suite of offerings or overall management curriculum. We also offer abbreviated versions of this content in the form of a webinar.
Aligning stakeholders – especially across functions and geographies – can often feel like “herding cats.” Participants learn to use a tool to assess the needs and style of each key stakeholder and develop a strategy for communicating effectively with a variety of stakeholders. A dashboard is created that isolates where alignments and misalignments exist. Tools are included to address the misalignments before they derail the project.
This workshop is often combined with “Influencing without Authority,” “Working Effectively with Different Work Styles” and “Managing Conflict” to create a more robust program.
Building High-Performing Teams
The output of a high performing team working collaboratively can far exceed the sum of each of its members working individually. This synergy is what every team aspires to achieve. In this workshop, we provide practical advice that a team leader can use to build an environment where synergy flourishes. Participants have an opportunity to assess their own team’s evolution on the road to being a high-performing team. But, this is not an academic approach to building collaborative teams. Instead, participants roll their sleeves up and engage in a series of team activities to discover a firsthand look at team dynamics, how trust is won and broken on teams, and how different work styles interact on a team. The focus of this workshop is on learning practical tools for facilitating team interactions and managing team dynamics. The workshop introduces 5 elements of a high-performing team and participants are exposed to tools and templates for creating a team charter, clarifying team roles and facilitating meaningful and inclusive team discussions (including best practices for managing remote teams).
This program is a natural companion to the “Working Effectively with Different Work Styles” program.
I can’t think of a single organization I work with that isn’t experiencing rapid and constant change. The catchwords of our time are to “do more with less” and “learn to be nimble” and “continually raise the bar.” Sure, change is necessary to stay competitive and it can be invigorating, but change can also be distracting, unsettling, and for some, stress-producing. This workshop looks at change through the lens of the “people side of the business.” We don’t sugarcoat the topic with a “change is good” message. Instead, we take a realistic view of how poorly managed change can impact employee morale and productivity. Using your own company’s change scenarios, we answer questions such as: What’s the best way to present a change message (especially if you don’t agree with it yourself)? What are the normal and predictable reactions people have to change? How should a manager respond to the resistance and confusion that employee’s may be feeling in times of transition? How can you minimize the disruptive impact of change on your team?
There is also a companion program called “Embracing Change” that is targeted at Individual Contributors and nicely complements this program.
The subtitle of this workshop is “bringing out the best in your employees” and that aptly describes the skills managers learn in this workshop. With the “GROW” model as a framework, participants learn how to ask powerful and thought-provoking questions that get the employee to discover solutions to their problems and answers to their questions. There’s lots of opportunity in this workshop to both give and receive coaching – and, like all of my workshops, managers get to use their own real-world situations as they sharpen their coaching skills. So, in addition to learning how to coach, participants benefit from some real-time coaching that can help them gain new insights and skills.
The ability to communicate effectively is probably the single most important skill needed to be successful at any job. Let’s face it – no one can get the job done alone; it requires skill in effectively communicating and partnering with a variety of people. This workshop is built on the premise that the most effective communicators are able to balance the skills of “advocacy” with “inquiry.” Participants are introduced to 8 essential communication skills. Like learning the steps in a dance, participants practice each of the 8 skills separately and then, in a final activity, they put it all together (the final dance!), by integrating all of the communication skills while discussing a real-world business issue.
This workshop is ideal for both Individual Contributors, Managers and in-tact teams.
Making smart decisions is an important competency for any Leader, but so is knowing how to maximize buy-in to decisions by skillfully involving key stakeholders in the process. Participants learn to weigh a set of variables to determine when to make a “command” vs. “consultative” vs. “consensus” decision. We focus on some common decision-making traps and some strategies for avoiding those traps. Time in the workshop is devoted to learning how best to poll key stakeholders for their input, how to narrow down and weigh out options and how to socialize an idea in the organization.
Delegating and Monitoring Work
The essence of a manager’s job is to “get work done through others.” And yet, so many Managers (especially new ones), have a hard time “letting go” and continue to keep all of the “monkeys on their back.” This module answers questions such as “Why should I delegate?” “What should I delegate?” “To whom should I delegate which tasks?” and finally “How should I structure my delegation conversation?” Delegation is framed not as “dumping” work or abdicating responsibility, but as an opportunity to engage and develop employees.
One of the most impactful activities in the workshop involves identifying all of the tasks for which you are responsible and determining which are potentially delegate-able to others. Participants are introduced to a practical and easy-to-apply framework for having a delegation conversation and, as with all of my workshops, there’s plenty of chances to practice using participants’ own real-world situations.
Developing Employee Capabilities
The continual development of employees is integral to any company’s strategy for growth. Companies that remain static lose their competitive advantage. In the same way, employees that remain static lose their value to an organization. Employee development is not a “nice to have;” it’s a “must have” in order to remain vibrant and sustainable. This workshop is chock full of practical tips and strategies for maximizing the capabilities of each employee. Participants get answers to questions such as: How can I leverage my employees’ existing talents? How can I build my employee’s skills? How can I develop bench strength on my team? How should I approach a Development Discussion?
Some clients have paired this workshop with the “Coaching” workshop and offered them as a more in-depth program.
Distance and Remote Management
The virtual workplace has become the norm in today’s business: late night and early morning conference calls, language that carries different meanings in different cultures, work that gets passed from time zone to time zone and managers wondering how to make a group of people across the globe feel like “one team.” Most of us, however, learned how to manage (and work with) people in an environment where employees were down-the-hall – or across the campus – from us. The problem is that many of the traditional methods and assumptions about managing people in a co-located environment don’t apply to a distributed workforce. This workshop provides a set of tried-and-true best practices and tactics for managing (and working) on a distributed team. The workshop culminates with a cool exercise where the participants collaborate remotely (well, in different rooms at least) to build an actual product. In the customization of the content, every effort is made to reinforce the tools and technologies currently being used at your Company.
This workshop is applicable to Individual Contributors as well as Managers and can be customized to either audience.
The “Communication Skills” workshop is nice companion to this module.
Over and over, research has found that our EQ (Emotional Quotient), rather than our IQ, is directly linked to our success and happiness and is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and strongest driver of personal excellence. When you’re emotionally intelligent, you’re aware of your emotions, needs and the impact that your emotions and actions have on others. You’re also aware of the emotions and needs of people around you. As a result, you’re better able to manage your emotions, navigate tricky relationships at work and home, make smart decisions and manage interpersonal situations with team members. Unlike IQ, our EQ or Emotional Intelligence is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. That’s exactly what we do in this highly interactive workshop. Participants will walk away with an increased awareness of their own EQ by assessing their response to some interesting case studies and intriguing photographs). Participants will learn and practice a set of tools to begin to sharpen their own Emotional Intelligence.
This workshop provides a solid foundation upon which workshops such as “Communication Skills” and “Influencing without Authority” can be built.
Engaging and Retaining Employees
Much has been written about “how to motivate” today’s employees and how a highly engaged workforce correlates to a more productive workforce. This workshop takes all of that research and all of those theories and distills it down to some practical takeaways for a manager to use in creating a work environment that gets employees to put forth his/her“A game.” We begin the workshop by exploring three methods for identifying signs of disengagement and potential retention risks. Discussion time is devoted to understanding the impact of using money – and other extrinsic motivators – when compared to intrinsic motivators such as interesting work, a sense of autonomy and a connection to a compelling purpose. Participants are given a practical “Risk Retention Tool” to assess the level of engagement (and any “flight risks”) on their team.
Customized case studies allow the content to be relevant to your Company’s own engagement challenges.
As a professional Facilitator myself, I took great joy in developing this module. It was as if I was taking 20 years of “tips and tricks” – as well as some “lessons learned” – and putting them into a workshop. What I know about Facilitation is that it’s a combination of “art” (as in the ability to “read a room”) and “science” (a set of tactics to spur creative thinking, narrow down options and analyze root problems). Participants learn, practice and get feedback on how well they use a variety of process tools (brainstorming, fishbone, “fist to five” to name a few) and how well they apply both the “art” and “science” of facilitation.
This workshop nicely complements both the “Effective Meetings” and “Decision Making” modules.
In my experience, listening – or what I call “generous listening” – is the most undervalued and underused of all the skills in a manager’s (and employee’s) toolkit. And yet, an argument could be made that it’s the most important of all the tools – the cornerstone upon which all of the other tools are built. This workshop is not a superficial “light-touch” to listening. We get into the nitty gritty of listening by talking about the power of “being present” (and the pitfalls of multi-tasking), how empathy can reduce heightened negative emotions and what it feels like to “be heard” (and not to “be heard!”). At the heart of the workshop is the time spent practicing and receiving feedback on just how “generous” of a listener you are.
One of the most important responsibilities of a manager is to provide ongoing feedback to his/her employees – and yet it’s the skill I hear managers struggle with the most. Over and over I hear Managers ask: What’s the best way for me to have a tough feedback conversation with my employees? How do I tell someone that their performance is off-track or that their attitude isn’t what it needs to be? This module teaches participants how to effectively give feedback so that it yields the necessary changes in an employee’s performance and behaviors. Participants are given an opportunity to receive peer coaching on a challenging feedback situation that they are facing. Much time is devoted to role play and skill practice.
The “Managing Performance Issues” module can serve as an advanced version of the “Feedback” workshop.
Influencing without Authority
Let’s face it: It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how many degrees or certifications you have, or how hard you work. What matters is if you’re able to translate those smarts, those degrees and those results into a compelling position that influences others to follow your lead. Most of today’s organizations are highly matrixed environments where, in order to be successful, people need to able to work effectively cross-functionally. Asserting your position power (“do it because I said so…and I’m the boss!”) may cause some people to follow your lead in the short-run, but it tends to fracture relationships and carries no weight when influencing peers, bosses or people outside your span of control. What does carry weight is your own personal credibility and influence. This workshop introduces a proven set of influence tools that participants apply to their own real-world influence situation. The material comes alive through the use of movie clips, challenging case studies and an opportunity to apply the concepts to your own influence situation.
This workshop is well suited for both Individual Contributors and Managers. It is well paired with the Communications workshop.
Interviewing (Talent Selection)
We’ve all experienced the interviewer who arrives unprepared, spends all of the time talking about themselves, and lets their biases dictate their hiring decision. Company’s pay the price for those bad hiring decisions through employee turnover, performance that isn’t all that it could be, and a dilution of the company’s culture. This workshop arms hiring managers and interviewers with a systematic step-by-step process and over 20 pages of sample behavior-based questions to increase the likelihood that you’ll match the right person to the job. At the end of the day, the best way for anyone to sharpen their questioning and talent selection skills is through practice – so there’s lots of opportunity for role play (in fact, with some clients we’ve even brought in a sample candidate to practice conducting an interview).
Leading Effective Meetings
One of the biggest complaints I hear when I step into organizations is: “I spend my day in too many %*!!## meetings!” The goal of this workshop is to teach a set of practical – and immediately useable – set of tools and techniques to make meetings more productive, more efficient…and, in turn, less painful. Like other workshops I’ve developed, this one is all about practice, practice and practice to turn those new tools into new habits.
This workshop is applicable to both Individual Contributors and Managers and goes hand-in-hand with the “Facilitation” and “Communication” modules.
Making High-Impact Presentations
The premise of this workshop is that people improve their presentation skills not by discussing how to make a good presentation, but by practicing making presentations and receiving coaching in a safe environment. In short, the flow of the day looks something like this: learn a skill (say, maintaining eye contact or using hand gestures or adding more vocal variety), practice the skill, get feedback on the skill…and then move on to a new skill. The culmination is a final presentation of an actual business presentation. As you might expect, the group size is limited to maximize opportunities for each person to practice and receive individualized feedback. As an added bonus, we video tape each participant’s presentations and then provide them with 30 minutes of one-on-one coaching with the Facilitator to review and get feedback on the video.
I’m always struck with how many participants associate conflict with something negative and counter-productive. And yet, when you think about it, conflict is inevitable on teams. In fact, many would argue that a level of constructive conflict is the sign of a healthy and innovative team. The question is not: Do you have conflict? The question is: How is the conflict being managed? This workshop begins with participants taking a self-assessment to identify their own approach when faced with a conflict. Participants then learn how to develop a “win-win” strategy and a collaborative approach for working through conflict. Scenarios are customized to reflect “real-world” conflict situations at your Company.
This workshop is well matched with the “Communication Skills” module.
When most people hear the words “managing up,” their reaction is “that sounds like career suicide.” But does it have to be? Sure, managing up may take a dose of courage, but when done well, it can remove barriers, increase engagement and, best of all, strengthen the relationship between the employee and his/her manager. In this workshop, we take the fear out of managing up by introducing participants to a framework – and set of questions – that help them weigh out when it’s best to give feedback upwards, when it’s best to learn to live with it or work around it and when it’s time to explore other options. As the title suggests, this workshop can be targeted at anyone who wants to work more effectively with his/her boss, including Individual Contributors and Managers.
As the title suggests, this workshop can be targeted at both Managers and Individual Contributors…anyone who wants to work effectively with his/her boss.
Managing Performance Issues
Managing performance issues is probably the toughest part of a Manager’s job. As any HR professional will tell you, Managers often avoid delivering “bad news” and, when they do, their message can send mixed signals or be perceived as unfair or inconsistent. This workshop provides Managers with the tools and confidence needed to address a full range of performance and behavioral issues. Practical tips are given on what to do before, during and after a performance discussion to set the employee up for success and keep the company out of legal hot water. The case studies used in this workshop are customized to reflect typical real world performance challenges at your Company.
This workshop is a perfect companion to the “Giving Feedback” module.
Whether negotiating externally with customers, vendors or suppliers – or negotiating internally with peers or stakeholders, the principles learned in this workshop will apply. Effective negotiation starts with a strategy: What’s my opening offer? At what point will I walk away? How much of my hand should I show? What do they want? What do I want? Using scenarios that are custom built to reflect real-world negotiation challenges at your Company, participants put these negotiation principles into practice.
Negotiation skills can be customized to both an Individual Contributor and Manager audience.
Role of the Manager
Using the “Leadership Pipeline” as a framework, this workshop helps smooth over the often bumpy transition from Individual Contributor to Manager. Best targeted at new or aspiring managers (or those managers who have never had the opportunity to get some good foundational training), this module sets the expectation of what it means to be a manager as well as the challenges and rewards of management. Topics range from “can you be friends with your direct reports?” to “as a working manager, how do you balance doing your own work with managing others?” to “is it more important to manage up, down or across?” This workshop is customized to incorporate and reinforce your Company’s management competencies and expectations.
Setting Goals and Expectations
Abraham Lincoln said it best when he said “A goal properly set is halfway reached.” Managing an employee’s performance starts with setting SMART goals and objectives that align with your Company’s goals. Most managers know what the SMART acronym stands for, but when it comes to putting a SMART goal on paper, they struggle with how to begin. That’s why we spend lots of time practicing writing SMART goals, reviewing sample goals and working with a template that helps your managers (and employees) quickly put SMART goals in place.
This workshop provides a perfect opportunity to reinforce your Company’s business goals, strategies, Values and Competencies as we ask Manager to align these to each employee’s individual SMART goals.
Writing and Conducting Performance Reviews
Many Managers groan at the thought of writing and conducting Performance Reviews. I often start out the workshop asking Managers for a quick one word reaction to Performance Reviews and, typically, the best thing they can say is that they’re a “necessary evil.” I understand their concerns, but take the approach that it doesn’t have to be that way. In this workshop, we de-emphasize the mechanics of filling out a form and provide a broader context of looking at Performance Reviews through the lens of managing performance 365 days a year. The Performance Review is positioned as a summary of all the one-on-one conversations and feedback given throughout the year. The real impact is in the discussion, not in the written document.
Participants are exposed to a set of best practices for both writing and conducting Reviews – and are given plenty of practice time to deliver a Performance Review discussion.
This workshop is customized to reinforce your Company’s performance management system and Performance Review process.
An ideal companion to this program are the modules on Giving Feedback, Setting Goals and Communication Skills.
Working Across Generations: From Baby Boomers to Gen X to Millennials
Each generation has unique traits – ways of thinking, behaving, and communicating. While that diversity is good for organizations, the differences can also cause conflict and miscommunication. This course helps participants understand what distinguishes each generation as well as the common traits and values that bind us. It also raises awareness of how each generation tends to view the other and dispel unproductive stereotyping. Finally, participants gain practical tactics for working across generations.
Working Effectively with Different Work Styles
There’s a universal appeal to this workshop in that the focus is on ME, the participant – and how I’m similar and different from others I work with. Using an Assessment such as “Social Styles” or MBTI (I’m certified in both), participants gain insights into their own Work Style – and learn how to adapt their approach when working with someone of a different Style. Participants very much enjoy interviewing others in the room of a different Style – and figuring out how to identify someone’s Style from their visual and verbal cues. As with my other workshops, there’s plenty of time built in to practice how to flex your approach when working with someone of a different Style (including practicing writing an email to someone of a different Style).
This workshop connects neatly with the “Communication” and “Building High Performing Teams” workshops and is often a component of a team building off-site.