Strategic Conversations Bootcamp

Step into Your Capacity to Foster Whole System Strategic Thinking, Planning, and Leading

A lack of strategic thinking and planning in organizations is costly. The greatest expense is the investment of time and resources into activities that do not support company goals or the mission. In addition, employees show up, do their work, and go home. This results in missed opportunities. Without a context for their work, employees are not inspired to think or plan creatively about process improvement, innovation, or cost savings. And anyone who has tried knows, it can be a struggle to get teams to buy-in to strategic goals, much less think and work in alignment with those goals.

Developing your leadership ability for strategic thinking and planning, coupled with the skills to engage in strategic conversations significantly improves your value as a leader. The days of hiring an outside agency to create a strategic plan for your organization are over; so too should be strategic plans developed at the top and handed down for others to implement. Organizations poised for growth and success have leaders who are adopting strategic thinking as an on-going way of doing business and strategic planning that engages employees across the whole organization as well as external stakeholders. They engage everyone in developing agile plans, cycles of experimentation and learning, innovation, and measuring actions against relevant metrics.


This training will prepare you to engage your teams in strategic conversations that can:

  • Increase productivity, engagements, and organizational effectiveness;
  • Reduce costs, misalignment, and conflicts;
  • Improve customer service levels;
  • Innovate in the face of challenges; and
  • Make a positive contribution to the bottom line.

Using two very powerful methodologies (SOAR and the Appreciative Inquiry 5-D Cycle), you will have the tools to engage teams from a whole system perspective in conversations to:

  • Address short- and long-term challenges, systems, and innovation;
  • Explore strengths, dynamic capabilities, and opportunities;
  • Develop or re-evaluate organization’s values, vision, and mission statements;
  • Set goals, objectives, strategies, and action plans;
  • Clarify roles, relationships, and expectations; and
  • Track progress through regular cycles of action learning.

This bootcamp will support your capacity and develop capabilities to have strategic conversations at the level of the individual, team, division, and the whole organization or community.

Course Modules:


PURPOSE: Appreciate the value of strategic thinking and use SOAR to foster strategic conversations.


  • Identify common opportunities to foster strategic conversations.
  • Understand how to apply SOAR to support those conversations.
  • Craft SOAR-based questions to inspire effective strategic conversations.

PURPOSE: Entertain strategic conversations at scale, e.g., strategic planning or whole system change, using the 5-D Cycle.


  • Learn how you engage whole systems in strategic conversations.
  • Understand how the two AI practices – positive framing and generative questions – apply to the 5-D Cycle.
  • Identify opportunities to facilitate whole system conversations.
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PURPOSE: Build capacity for practical application of SOAR and the 5-D Cycle.


  • Recognize and frame opportunities for strategic conversations at multiple levels of the organization.
  • Generate questions and create an inquiry.
  • Initiate a plan-of-action to use SOAR, Quick SOAR, or the 5-D Cycle to host a strategic conversation or strategic planning event.

PURPOSE: Give and receive feedforward on strategic conversation projects.


  • Share your prototype for your strategic conversation and receive feedforward.
  • Provide feedforward to improve conversation topics and questions.
  • Learn and improve overall strategic conversational capacity.


Course Options:

OPTION 1: One-day, on-site training that covers SOAR and the 5-D Cycle, plus applied learning and practice. Leave with a draft plan-of-action for a Quick SOAR, 5-D strategic conversation, or strategic planning session.

OPTION 2: Four 1-hour weekly webinars, plus applied learning and practice each week. Culminates with presentations on participants’ plans for hosting a Quick SOAR, 5-D strategic conversation, or strategic planning session.

OPTION 3: Blending Option 1 and 2 allows all members of an organization to be trained affordably. Leaders and managers attend the 1-day training. Their training includes learning to facilitate activities and reflection. Following their 1-day training, leaders participate with their teams in four weekly webinars. These webinars blend the introduction of key concepts with on-site activities and reflection facilitated by leaders. Having leadership facilitate the activities and reflection reinforces their learning and accountability, builds credibility for whole systems change, encourages role modeling, and supports their capacity to create an environment that works for all. Teams may collectively design a SOAR or 5-D strategic conversation or develop individual or small group plans for action.