Chaco Canyon Consulting

Workshops and Seminars


My workshops and seminars are designed to provide lasting insight and permanent skills improvement. I do this using an experiential/cognitive educational style. Every workshop comes with no-fee options intended to prepare workshop participants for an experience that will make a real difference in how they do their jobs. Click on the title of each workshop or seminar to see more detailed descriptions of content, structure and goals.

Read what people say about my programs.

Most of these topics are also available in teleseminar format.

Conflict Resolution Skills for Leaders

Conflict Resolution Skills for Leaders In collaborative work, especially in knowledge-based organizations, conflict is inherent. It can be constructive, producing outcomes that are superior to the outcomes that could have been produced without it. Or it can be destructive and toxic, destroying the working relationships of the collaborators. This program shows leaders how to keep conflict constructive, and how to make it constructive again if it turns destructive. More

Strategic Thinking for Project People

Strategic Thinking for Project People When we think tactically, our focus is the "next doable step," or perhaps, the next two or three doable steps. When we think strategically, we place far more emphasis on the longer-range objective. In project work, effective strategy can dramatically reduce the level of tactical effort required to achieve the longer-range objectives. More

Influencing Outcomes Without Authority

Influencing Outcomes Without Authority Your ability to influence others — whether upward, downward, laterally, or within a team — always depends on both the quality of your relationships with the people you influence, and on your perception and their perception of your personal power. This program shows you the techniques for making things happen not by using formal organizational power, but by using informal, personal power. More

Team Development for Leaders

Team Development for Leaders Teams at work are often teams in name only — they're actually just groups. True teams are able to achieve much higher levels of performance than groups can. In this program, organizational leaders, manager, team leads, and team sponsors learn the techniques they need to form their groups into teams, and once they are teams, how to keep them there. More

Creating High Performance Virtual Teams

Creating High Performance Virtual Teams Many people experience virtual teams as awkward, slow, and sometimes frustrating. The problem is that we lead, manage, and support virtual teams in ways that are too much like the way we lead, manage, and support co-located teams. In this program, Rick Brenner shows you how to change your approach to leading, managing, and supporting virtual teams to achieve high performance using Simons' Four Spans model of high performance. More

Cognitive Biases and Workplace Decision-Making

Cognitive Biases and Workplace Decision-Making Most of us don't realize how many decisions we make every day, because we make so many decisions outside our awareness. And most of us believe that when we make decisions, we make rational decisions. Not so. Cognitive biases are tricks of the mind that help us make decisions more quickly — and often, less rationally. In this program we explore how to improve decision quality by becoming more aware of the effects of cognitive biases, and how to intervene to limit those effects. More

Managing Virtual Meetings for Real Results

Managing Virtual Meetings for Real ResultsFor years, your organization has perfected project management, and you got pretty good at it. Then one day, you decided to execute a project using a distributed team. Eleven time zones, three languages, five countries. Managing the virtual meetings was a nightmare squared. People no-showed, the wrong people attended, misunderstandings flourished, confusion reigned. Would you like to get better at managing virtual meetings? In this program we provide insight into what goes wrong in virtual meetings, why it goes wrong, how to deal with it, and how to avoid it. More

The Race to the South Pole: The Organizational Politics of Risk Management

The Race to the South Pole: The Organizational Politics of Risk ManagementOrganizational politics presents a risk not often accounted for by risk models. It creates one of the many components of risk management risk — the risk that the risk management process itself is inadequate. Using the race to the South Pole (1910-1912) between two expeditions led, respectively, by Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott, we explore how political considerations can lead to risk products that seem acceptable but which are fatally flawed; or worse, the risk products are plainly unserviceable, but everyone chooses not to acknowledge the problem. In this program we examine how organizational politics influences risk management, and discuss several measures for mitigating its effects. More

Cross-Functional Teams: How Organizations Actually Work

Cross-Functional Teams: How Organizations Actually WorkAlthough most organizations have a functional structure — Administration, Finance, IT, Human Resources, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Engineering, Manufacturing, and so on — more and more of the organization's work is performed in teams that cross these functions. The inevitable tensions that arise are expensive distractions. This workshop helps participants understand how to deal with these tensions, how to prevent them, and how to work more productively in and with cross-functional teams. More

Managing in Fluid Environments

Managing in Fluid EnvironmentsMost people now work in environments that can best be characterized as fluid, because they're subject to continual change. We never know what's coming next. In such environments, managing — teams, projects, groups, departments, or the enterprise — often entails moving from surprise to surprise while somehow staying almost on track. It's a nerve-wracking existence. This workshop provides numerous tools that help managers who work in fluid environments. More

Agile Politics Clinic

Agile Politics ClinicEvery team, agile or not, is unique. That's why it's so difficult to formulate a one-size-fits-all solution to enhancing agile team effectiveness. But with the informal and flexible format of a clinic, we can address your specific needs. Bring your questions, wonderings, knots, quandaries, predicaments, muddles, dilemmas, impasses, and tight situations to the Agile Politics Clinic, and we'll work on them in an interactive simulation to develop insights that can get you moving forward again. More

The Race to the South Pole: The Power of Agile Development

The Race to the Pole: An Application of Agile DevelopmentOn 14 December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough, but to those seeking to understand the power of agile methods, the story is fascinating as a source of important insights. This program provides some much-needed relief from the sometimes-dry presentations about agile methodology. More

Customized Executive Team-Building

Customized Executive Team-BuildingExecutive team-building is unlike other team building, because executive teams are unlike other teams, and because time is usually so much more precious. Using advance interviews and a collaborative approach, we tailor our effort to your team's precise needs. More

The Organizational Politics of Risk Management

The Organizational Politics of Risk ManagementOrganizational politics presents a risk not often accounted for by risk models. It creates one of the many components of risk management risk — the risk that the risk management process itself is inadequate. Political considerations can lead to risk products that seem acceptable but which are fatally flawed; or worse, the risk products are plainly unserviceable, but everyone chooses not to acknowledge the problem. In this program we examine how organizational politics influences risk management, and discuss several measures for mitigating its effects. More

The Race to the South Pole: Lessons in Risk Management for Leaders

The Race to the South Pole: Lessons in Risk Management for LeadersOn 14 December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough, but to organizational leaders, the story is fascinating as a source of lessons in risk management. This program provides some much-needed relief from the sometimes-dry presentations about risk management. More

The Race to the South Pole: Ten Lessons for Project Managers

The Race to the Pole: Ten Lessons for Project ManagersOn 14 December 1911, four men led by Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole. Thirty-five days later, Robert F. Scott and four others followed. Amundsen had won the race to the pole. Amundsen's party returned to base on 26 January 1912. Scott's party perished. As historical drama, why this happened is interesting enough, but to project managers, the story is fascinating. Lessons abound. This program provides some much-needed relief from the sometimes-dry presentations about project management. More

The Politics of Meetings for People Who Hate Politics

The Politics of Meetings for People Who Hate PoliticsThere's a lot more to running an effective meeting than having the right room, the right equipment, and the right people. With meetings, the whole really is more than the sum of its parts. How the parts interact with each other and with external elements is as important as the parts themselves. And those interactions are the essence of politics for meetings. This program explores techniques for leading meetings that are based on understanding political interactions, and using that knowledge effectively to meet organizational goals. More

Team Communication in Enterprise Emergencies

The 1991 eruption of Mount PinatuboIn a single day, your brand can collapse — or it can re-emerge stronger than ever. From Tylenol to JetBlue, nobody is exempt. The outcome depends on how well you communicate to each other. Enterprise emergencies almost always entail complex technological issues. Some of us understand them, but most of us don't. That's the technology divide. To successfully communicate within an emergency management team, team members must know what non-technical leaders need; ask for what they need from technical leaders; prepare for the emergency environment; deal with situations that run off the rails; listen to others and manage their own responses; and manage the risks of metaphors. And most of all, they must recognize that the emergency environment is unforgiving. Learn what it takes to succeed as a team in enterprise emergencies. More

Great Teams Workshop

Excited people make a great teamOccasionally we have the experience of belonging to a great team. Thrilling as it is, the experience is rare. In part, it's rare because we strive only for adequacy, not for greatness. We do this because we don't fully appreciate the returns on greatness. Not only does it feel good to be part of great team — it pays off. It pays off, but it takes work. More

Organizational Politics for People Who Hate Politics

Organizational Politics for People Who Hate PoliticsHave you ever felt powerless to implement an important new idea? Have you ever been "blind-sided" at a meeting? Have you ever lost two good employees because you could find no way to keep them from attacking each other? These are some of the issues of organizational politics. Many of us have become enmeshed in politics from time to time, but we've also known some people who seem to be able to engage and prosper. How is that done? The good news: we can learn how. More

Human-Centered Risk Management

Human-Centered Risk ManagementToo often, risk management plans address technologies and markets, and fail to address internal issues such as reorganizations, workplace politics, toxic conflict and reductions in force. In this program we explore a framework for addressing the issues that arise as a result of human behavior — and misbehavior. More

Distributed Team Assessment Services

Driven by acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and your broadening reach into expanding markets, your organization's team efforts have become gradually more distributed over the country or the globe. Yet, you're unsure that the management techniques you're using are as effective as they could be, even though they worked pretty well in the face-to-face environment. A Distributed Team Assessment identifies your opportunities for improvement. More

Managing Virtual Teams for Real Results

Managing Virtual Teams for Real ResultsFor years, your organization has perfected project management, and you got pretty good at it. Then one day, you decided to execute a project using a distributed team. Eleven time zones, three languages, five countries. It was a disaster, or at best, well below your organizational standards of performance. Want to get better at managing distributed teams? More

How to Say No to Power

Knowing how to say no — and hear no — effectively is a critical skill for project people. Often, pressured parties tire of the tension, or fear sets in, and we "cave" — we yield to the pressure. Or when we have organizational power we allow ourselves to hear "yes" when we know that "no" was the right answer. At times, this leads to an agreement that simply cannot be fulfilled, which then threatens the project's success, and can even threaten the enterprise. When this happens, saying "no" — or hearing "no" — is best for the health of the project. More

Interpersonal Communications

Person-to-Person CommunicationsMisunderstandings and unintended offenses are just some of the ways interpersonal communication can go wrong. When we communicate with each other, we run great risks. Analyzing information flow using the Satir Interaction Model, we gain insight into the elements of the communications process, and we come to a new understanding of how it can go wrong. In this fun and interactive session, we explore how our communication system works — and doesn't. We'll emphasize communication under stress, where the most expensive failures occur. And we might just change how some of us send and receive interpersonal communications. More

Person-to-Person Communications: Models and Applications

Person-to-Person Communications: Models and ApplicationsLike the Interpersonal Communications workshop, we explore the Satir Interaction Model as a vehicle for understanding the communications process. But we go further, by exploring a specific class of applications of this model. In particular, we study saying no to power, which most of us find very difficult to do. By analyzing the dynamics of the saying-no situation, and by applying the Satir Interaction Model, we can devise effective ways either to communicate bad news uphill, or failing that, learn to recognize impossible situations. More

Technical Conflict Workshop

Technical teamwork frequently involves conflict. Although technical conflict is much like other forms of workplace conflict, it has some special characteristics that sometimes make it difficult to deal with. This workshop introduces participants to basic skills for dealing with conflict, and prepares them for the special situations that can appear in the technical context. More

Who's Doing Your Job?

Who's Doing Your Job?A common problem bedevils any of us who "wear two hats" — inherent conflict between the roles we play. If your job requires that you play two or more roles that inherently conflict, it makes sense to ask "Who's doing your job?" Is one of the roles dominant? If you can achieve the right balance, you can be more effective at all of the roles your job requires. More

Advanced Project Management

Your organization understands project management. You have schedules and budgets, you get frequent status reports, and every project manager is an ace at using one or another project scheduling software package. But projects still come in late and over budget, people are working long hours most of the time, and you spend entirely too much time fighting fires. Why? What does it take to get things to run smoothly? What are you missing?

This workshop in Advanced Project Management is intended for organizations that have a project orientation, and have solid experience applying project management skills, but somehow find that the results they're getting are disappointing. We explore possible causes, define their relationship to project success, show how conventional project management practice fail to address them, and give participants practice with the interventions needed to mitigate their effects. More

Spreadsheet Models for Managers

Whether you are a manager responsible for people working on business models, or whether you build models yourself, this course is invaluable. Learn how to model business processes, how to construct models that are easier to understand and maintain, and at the same time, more useful and reliable. Course includes tools, macros, tips and techniques to make life easier for modelers who use Microsoft ® Excel. More

Spreadsheet Clinic

Spreadsheets are everywhere. But are they "right?" Can you build them as fast as you need to? Are the spreadsheets you build easy to use? Or is your company now completely dependent on the authors of key spreadsheets used every day for tracking projects, budgeting, or reporting? The Spreadsheet Clinic shows you how to build spreadsheet models and tools that are easier to use, cheaper to maintain, faster to develop and above all, more reliable. More

Technical Emergency Management Planning Workshop

Much of the available advice about emergency preparedness makes the assumption that somehow you have succeeded in making preparation a priority when there is still enough time to do it in a routine manner. Since that is rarely the situation, this workshop assumes that the emergency is either already upon you, or that it is imminent, and there is not enough time to prepare in the usual take-forever, yet-another-meeting, plan-then-plan-some-more manner. We'll assume that you're in a situation in which business as usual just won't cut it. Which leaves just one place to go — business as unusual. More

Workplace Politics Awareness Month KitIn October, increase awareness of workplace politics, and learn how to convert destructive politics into creative politics. Order the Workplace Politics Awareness Month Kit during October at the special price of USD 29.95 and save USD 10.00! Includes a copy of my tips book 303 Secrets of Workplace Politics which is a value! ! Check it out!
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