Professional Development Workshops

In addition to our tailored work for individual clients, we also offer some generic workshops in areas that could benefit many organisations.

Our workshops include:

Thinking and acting strategically in the public sector

Our work with various government agencies over the years has involved helping them think strategically and develop plans that reflect this thinking. Often, we’ve had to develop tools and techniques for achieving this, some of which are adapted from business literature, others of which are original. We’ve come to realise the significant need for this type of thing.

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is designed for anyone in government with responsibilities for exercising leadership. It’s not so much pitched at a particular level of officer, but at a particular set of responsibilities.

What does it involve?

The workshop covers:

  • What thinking strategically can achieve and can’t achieve
  • Where to start, and why it is easier for some than for others
  • Thinking processes that are helpful
  • How to turn strategic thinking into something useful
  • Tools that can help:
  • Force Field Analysis
  • Blind Spot Analysis
  • Market Space Theory/Unexploited opportunities framework
  • Problem Trees
  • Sigmoid Curve Plotting
  • Intractable problems framework
  • … and others.

What will it achieve?

By the end of the workshop participants should have:

  • A clearer understanding of what it means to think strategically
  • Some tools and techniques they can apply to various issues that arise in their work
  • A group of co-participants who can act as ‘critical friends’ in the future.

Managing consultants effectively

Mary Dickie (Quay Connection) and Rod McDonald (Ithaca Group) have worked as consultants for a range of government agencies over many years.

Sometimes they’ve managed major projects, at other times they have been ‘critical friends’ to the agency, helping to refine project briefs and then to select and manage consultants.

From each side, they have seen, so often, how the process could easily have yielded much more benefit for the agency if managed differently.

Who is this workshop for?

The workshop is designed for people in government who prepare briefs, select and manage consultants, and take responsibility for ensuring the agency derives maximum benefit from the consultancy.

What does it involve?

The workshop is structured around:

  • Current thinking from the literature
  • Case studies from the facilitators’ direct and vicarious experience
  • ‘Workshopping’ of scenarios built from participants’ experience or challenges.

What will it achieve?

By the end of the day those attending should be able to do the following:

  • Think through the preliminary stages of clarifying the purpose and intent of work so that they can:
  • generate a clear project brief that describes both tangible and intangible desired outputs; and
  • determine whether or not the consultancy is designed to add high level, specific-purpose ‘technical expertise’ (which is always likely to be sourced externally) or to develop knowledge and understanding of a core field of policy or practice (which could expand agency capability)
  • Manage the consultancy in a way that ensures the knowledge and intellectual capital generated is effectively shared with and transferred to the clients, in addition to delivering the more tangible contracted outcomes;
  • Obtain the maximum benefit for the agency both throughout the process and at its conclusion, particularly by:
  • exploiting the opportunities for professional development of agency staff by working alongside consultants
  • participating in work focused on analysis, synthesis and problem solving
  • developing all important generic skills of team work, communications, innovation and creativity.

Many Happy Returns:
how to know what you’re getting for your investment in skill development

Why this workshop?

There’s no doubt that training and skill development pay: it’s been shown many times that the right training, at the right time, for the right people, pays substantial dividends. Perhaps it won’t get the 4000% return that one company saw, but training is normally such a good investment that unless there’s at least 150% return, something is wrong.

But many people stumble over the numbers: they’ve known that it’s important to be able to make the results of training explicit, but have struggled to clearly articulate the returns on an investment in skill development.

And yet, they need to be able to in order to justify continued investment.

Who it is for?

This workshop is designed for training managers in organisations who need to demonstrate a link between training and the organisation’s performance. It’s also for managers who want to know what they’re getting for their money.

The workshop itself

The workshop covers:

  • how to make the value of training clear
  • how return-on-investment calculations have been done by many companies
  • why management so often doesn’t understand the value of training
  • how you can use return-on-investment approaches to make sure you’re getting value for money.

What will it achieve?

By the end of the day, you will be able to work out:

  • how to make explicit the value of training, and communicate it
  • how to test the value of training in advance
  • how to decide when you can calculate the value of training, and what to do when you can’t calculate.