Leading Executive Education & Facilitation

We are hired for our expertise with groups honed over thousands of workshop sessions all around the world. We are preferred by senior cohorts, demanding audiences, cynical types, smart cookies and tough crowds. We arrive well prepared yet ready for the uncertainty inherent in groups.

OUR EXPERTISE

Most executive education is over-explained and under-experienced. Cognitive-heavy course content taught in an abstract way to be taken away and applied “back on the job”. We stand in a different place. We work always in context with real live material that is current for each participant. We privilege doing over describing, work over workshop, and ensure our participants get the deliberate practice they need to grow their expertise.

COMPLEX ADAPTIVE LEADERSHIP

Leaders are in charge but not always in control. For decades we have been using a mechanical engineering metaphor for leading the complex dynamic ecology of groups of people. Most leadership development curricular teaches frameworks, tools, and models for prediction and control. In doing so it assumes stable equilibrium states and reliable knowable cause-and-effect relationships. This stance is blind to the inherent uncertainty that exists in social systems and ignores the need to help leaders acquire skill for the surprises that are inevitable in organisations

COMPLEX ADAPTIVE SELLING

Since 1917 sales training has been taught from a perspective that assumes prediction and control. From needs-based, to solution, to insight selling, the enduring argument is that with enough preparation the sales process can be known and controlled. We recognise this as a partial but not complete truth. In addition to what can be known we ready sales professionals for what cannot be known. We use what we know about skill acquisition and complexity to help them acquire skill for the uncertainty and surprise that is found in social systems like professional selling.

POST-DESIGN THINKING FOR THE ENTERPRISE

By now most organisations have some awareness of and exposure to human-centered design or design thinking. The novelty of the approach has collided with the repellent force of organisational status quo. Put simply most organisations and their innovation teams are stuck. We approach this on two fronts: (1) to build a tiered capability across the enterprise so that the organisation can teach the skills internally, and (2) teach the political and social dexterity needed to mobilise large social systems to change.

EXECUTIVE PRESENCE

For 20 years we have attached microphones to our own lapels in front of hundreds of audiences and thousands of people. As practitioners and teachers of this craft for two decades we help executives be ready for that vital few minutes when they must speak their ideas to an audience. The basics can be learned from a free online video. For professionals looking to make their spoken words a point of difference in their careers we work participants right to their developmental edge. As audiences become less patient and perhaps less polite, we help professionals be fit and ready to engage and inspire the room.

GROUP DYNAMICS

For a long time the unit of analysis in leadership development has been the individual. 360 degree feedback tools and executive coaching all done away from the action and in isolation has been the popular approach. We stand in a different place informed by the science of skill acquisition in domains of uncertainty and surprise. We work with a leadership team as a leadership team. We shift the unit of analysis from the individual to the group and help that team build its fitness for being with the hard conversation and knotty problems that confront all organisations right now.

STRATEGIC FACILITATION

The big personalities are in the one room and there is a day or two to get things agreed, aligned and moving forward. The senior cohorts in the chairs are seasoned, smart and weary of ineffectual facilitation. What’s called for is robust inclusive debate, humble curiosity and a wide canvas of considered provocative input. Our commercial roots, academic enquiry and decades of experience meld to provide an intelligent force guiding, yielding, and propelling a group toward an unhurried thoughtful outcome from which progress can be built.

ADVISORY

White label our 20+ years of thinking and working on helping senior professionals acquire complex skills.

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