Developmental Workshops

Action Design workshops help people develop their ability to talk about tough issues and to build strong working relationships.  These abilities are vital in today’s organizations, where managing interdependencies and getting things done requires leadership that does not depend on authority.  Rather it depends on engaging people who see things differently, using differences to make better choices, and turning choices into coordinated action.

Our workshops combine a strong conceptual foundation with experiential learning and skill practice to enable you to:

  • Design conversations that promote mutual learning and action;
  • Identify the logic, interests, and concerns behind disagreements;
  • Explain your views clearly while inviting others to explain theirs;
  • Ask questions that shift people’s perspective and move things forward;
  • Deal with emotions in ways that defuse conflicts and make progress;
  • See and alter relationship dynamics that keep you and others stuck.

The challenge is doing these things in the midst of difficult situations, when it counts.  When the heat is on, time is short, and the emotional juices are flowing, we often revert to old habits.  Most learning methods are of little help in enabling people to act more effectively in these moments.  We may know intellectually what is the right thing to do.  We may be able to give advice to others.  The problem is in following the advice that we ourselves know how to give.

The distinctive learning method of Action Design workshops increases your ability to act on what you learn.  We build the learning around personal dialogue cases written by participants and small group work facilitated by seasoned coaches.  This method creates a vivid learning experience directly connected to challenging work situations chosen by participants.  An intensive focus on each person’s case creates the opportunity for a truly developmental experience, one that enables participants to see how their own assumptions, habits, and blind spots may limit their effectiveness.  Role play, feedback, and coaching give clear, practical guidance for handling case situations going forward.  The combination of personal insight and actionable skill can lead the work to have, in the words of a former participant,  “a time-release quality in my life.”  The skill and mindset fostered by this work not only contribute to more effective interactions but also increase one’s ability to learn from experience going forward.