Workshops to Build New Skills


Collaborative Thinking Workshop

Innovative Thinking Workshop

Getting Things Done - Effective Meeting Management

Effective Facilitation Skills

Team Discovery Workshop





Collaborative Thinking Workshop (One Day Workshop)Collaborative Thinking Tear Sheet

You may not have thought about improving your thinking skills since you finished school, yet we all talk about improving quality in other areas.  

Why not improve the quality of your thinking, your most precious asset?

Based on Dr. Edward De Bono's Six Thinking Hats, Collaborative Thinking Workshop introduces a simple and effective system to help groups collaborate in their most important task - thinking. Team members learn to separate thinking into six distinct categories. When all team members use the same category of thinking at the same time, participants are able to support and build on each other's thinking, pushing results far beyond expectations. And by applying all six categories of thinking to address a task, participants bring a more holistic approach to their work. 

"The 6-Hats approach to collaborative thinking (as taught by Mel) is a powerful tool for
 identifying problems and their solutions and can be employed equally well by individuals and groups of all sizes. Recently, I had an opportunity to attend Mel's class here in Charlottesville. No more than an hour had passed when I realized how powerful the 6 Hats concept must be when embraced by an entire organization."
   -- Gary Bucher, LexisNexis


Participants will learn how to:Collaborative Thinking Workshop

  • Separate their thinking to address tasks systematically
  • Break down a task into the type of thinking required each step of the way
  • Increase team effectiveness through collaborative thinking
  • improve meeting efficiency through focus on required  goals and outcomes and on the thinking needed to achieve the goals and outcomes.

Participants bring a real task to the workshop to be used during the exercises.

"The quality of our thinking determines the quality of our future." 

-- Edward De Bono

Training Course List (Top)


Innovative Thinking Workshop (One or Two Days)Innovative Thinking Tear Sheet

The Scenario:

Your boss just told you that your budget was cut by 20% and you will lose three staff members. You ask how you can achieve your objectives with this reduction. The answer? "BE CREATIVE."

How can you be creative? What does that mean? And if you are truly creative, how can you be sure anyone will approve your solution if it has never been done before?

Businesses everywhere recognize the importance of looking to non-traditional avenues to find new products, new distribution channels, new marketing methods, and new operational procedures. Competitive pressures are forcing this. Economic pressures are also forcing organizations to do more with less. But very few businesses know how to foster innovation and how to accept innovative thinking when it appears.

"This was an excellent program and I believe that these techniques are a requirement
in the business world today."
   -- Attendee at the University of Dayton Center for
Leadership & Executive Development


Innovative Thinking Workshop

This experiential workshop introduces participants to creative thinking tools and techniques that can be used to solve today's business problems effectively. Participants bring real problems to the workshop to be used during the exercises. The techniques taught and practiced will be directly applicable to the work environment as both individuals and teams can transform their approach to problems and opportunities.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Generate creative ideas
  • Accept and improve ideas that might be rejected because it's never been done that way before
  • Collaborate with others to find innovative and effective solutions

"Innovation is the central issue in economic prosperity."
-- Michael Porter, Harvard Business School

Training Course List (Top)


Getting Things Done - Effective Meeting Management (One Day)Meetings Tear Sheet

You spend hours in them, and often believe that little is accomplished. They are the bane of today's business, but they are also necessary. They should help you solicit all points of view; they should help you generate ideas to address your tasks; they should ensure shared understanding of tasks and accomplishments; they should foster collaboration; and they should help you solve problems that cross organizational boundaries. But how often have you walked out of a meeting and still not understood the purpose or why you were there?

You're not alone. This workshop is designed to give you practical advice on meeting management, the roles that need to be set beforehand, and the importance of basic facilitation skills. The focus is on experiential training that helps you understand the role of Facilitator and how this person is key in helping the group use its time effectively and achieve its goal. No more boring and useless meetings!

"Organized, helpful, good resource."
"Very informative."
"Practical, meaty."
   -- University of Dayton attendees

Getting Things Done - Meeting Workshop

Participants will learn how to:

  • Plan a complex meeting.
  • Understand the tools and roles in effective meeting management.
  • Facilitate in-person meetings.
  • Build consensus among decision makers and ensure that there truly is consensus.
  • Avoid meeting stalemates and keep meetings flowing productively.

Training Course List (Top)


Effective Facilitation Skills (Two Days)Facilitation Skills Tear Sheet

Meetings, when run properly, can help your organization perform effectively. They should help you solicit all points of view; they should help you generate ideas to address your tasks; they should ensure shared understanding of tasks and accomplishments; they should foster collaboration; they should help you solve problems that cross organizational boundaries.

Sometimes all that is lacking is a good meeting facilitator; someone who can plan the meeting and keep it on track; someone who can ask the right question and understand the answers that are given.

"We've been using what we learned in class and I know that I've definitely improved my
 ability to facilitate conference calls! Its funny... my Financial User Group participants have recently started commenting on how good our calls have been! Obviously they've noticed a difference."
   -- Lee Ann Fraser, NASCO


Participants will learn how to:

  • Introduce a session by explaining the overall desired outcome, the process, and the role of all participants.
  • Plan a complex meeting.
  • Facilitate in-person meetings and conference calls.
  • Use techniques to stimulate creative thinking among meeting participants.
  • Build consensus among decision makers and ensure that there truly is consensus.
  • Identify and handle common facilitation obstacles.

Training Course List (Top)




Team Discovery Workshop (One Day)

Capitalize on the diversity and thinking of all team members by understanding the differences in their thinking style preferences. Ensure your team is well balanced, and that all points of view are heard and valued.

"I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation. I'd never heard of, or used, this approach.
Enlightening.  It's nice to have such great talent in our chapter. Well worth the price of admission. It's easy to fall into the less than successful trap of assuming that everyone else surely thinks like I do, and then getting frustrated when they want more details, or more paperwork, or more planning, or more whatever that I hate to do. Been in jobs like that....left 'em, too. Thanks again."

 -- Scott Graham, member of Western Ohio Chapter of ASTD


Team Discovery Workshop

Understanding Your Thinking Style Preferences

The Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument is a formal, validated assessment tool that quantifies the degree of a personís thinking style preferences. There are four key thinking styles, and people have greater or lesser preferences for all of them:

  • Type A: Logical, Analytical
  • Type B: Organized, Planning
  • Type C: Interpersonal, Emotional
  • Type D: Experimental, Visionary

Ned Herrmann, the developer of the Brain Dominance Instrument, maps these preferences into a model he calls the Whole Brain Model. Effective organizations and teams are able to capitalize on individual differences and use the strengths of all members. These teams create a very powerful Whole Brain.


Many  teams are unable to get beyond the differences. In a very real sense, there are difficulties communicating because people donít speak the same language. They donít value the same accomplishments.


The Herrmann Brain Dominance Assessment helps identify the different styles embodied in your group. Recognizing the existence of these thinking style differences can go a long way towards overcoming the problems inherent in the differences and can help you put your teamís Whole Brain to work!


Participants will learn how to:

  • Recognize and accept differences in thinking styles
  • Communicate more effectively with people who have different thinking style preferences
  • Solve problems more effectively by capitalizing on strengths of others.

Training Course List (Top)



©Acorn Consulting, 2002 - All Rights Reserved