Training

Process Design works with clients to create customized training programs for their employees.

Why Process Design Consultants?

Our focused approach: Some training and consulting firms offer a cafeteria approach, offering courses in everything from fostering innovation to refining one’s telemarketing skills. At Process Design, we have focused on helping our clients within our six key knowledge areas for the past 30 years.

Our emphasis on questions rather than answers: James Thurber wrote, “It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” We have learned that when people are able to ask better questions, they find better answers and build greater commitment to implement at operational and strategic levels. By teaching the key questions to ask in the six key knowledge areas, we help energize organizational learning, change behaviours, and drive results.

Real-world application: Sophocles wrote, “One must learn by doing the thing: for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try.” What makes Process Design training unique is the focus on applying the concepts to current work challenges. For example, participants in the Project Management program will develop a project plan for a real work project as part of the program. Participants in the Critical Thinking Skills program will solve a current business problem and determine the best possible solution during the class. The return on investment for our programs is immediately clear.

Integrated approach. Because we know that the six key knowledge areas often overlap, we are able to offer customized training programs to meet our client’s specific needs. For example, one of our clients wanted its high-performance managers to learn the skills necessary to shift to a higher-margin service business. We designed a customized program that touched on strategic management, issues management, and change management to help them achieve their goals. We are also able to develop e-learning solutions for clients.

Our materials: In keeping with our practical approach, we have designed training materials, in both print and digital format, that participants will use on a daily basis. Years after taking a class, participants are still using our workbooks and templates on the job.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a useful tool for people working in teams. Whether managing a project, managing employee performance, or trying to sell a business case to key stakeholders, it is often helpful to be aware of the different types of thinking styles. Many of our programs incorporate a discussion of different thinking styles based on the MBTI. Process Design is qualified in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and we are able to provide MBTI testing for participants if the client wishes.

Instructor experience: Our instructors have substantial experience in the six key knowledge areas both inside and outside of the classroom. Instructors are able to draw upon their business knowledge to provide more relevant context for the course material and to help participants apply the knowledge to their current work.  Several of our instructors also teach at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto. Please see Meet the Team for more information about our instructors.

Train-the-trainer option: Some of our larger clients with in-house training departments have chosen to bring our training in-house. We train the trainer and then provide the course materials on a just-in-time basis so that clients can run the programs as needed, whenever they wish.

Our Programs:

Through our extensive studies of management theory, we have identified six key knowledge areas that determine an organization’s success:

Strategic Management

We help our clients look at their customer needs to set a clear direction for the organization

Program: Strategic Management (Two-day workshop)

Description: Strategic Management is the process of specifying an organization’s objectives, developing policies and plans to achieve these objectives, and allocating resources so as to implement the plans.

Recommended for: Senior managers and executives; managers in strategy-focused organizations; analysts or consultants who support managers; and project managers who need strategic management skills.

Skills built:

  • Identify your customers and clarify their expectations
  • Use strategy maps (a flowchart of a completed strategic plan) to define direction
  • Learn to recognize strategic gaps
  • Identify and prioritize for action the issues and trends with the potential to impact your organization and your customers
  • Discuss and clarify strategy with stakeholders
  • Draft strategic objectives to close strategic gaps and plan their implementation
  • Craft a well-defined strategic deployment plan, including success measures and time lines

How clients have applied the knowledge:

  • A national corporation wished to develop a greater capability for strategic thinking and planning in its middle managers in order for them to align plans and project decisions with company strategy. Process Design Consultants customized a training course on strategic thinking and planning especially for the organization. The program has enabled a broad cross section of managers and professionals to develop an “instinctive savvy” about what needs to be done and to make better strategic decisions.
  • A local government body wished to improve the ability of its managers to carry out strategic planning and communicate more effectively with all stakeholders. Process Design Consultants customized and delivered a one-day course that has become one of the best attended in their curriculum.
  • A large company with operations throughout the country needed to have its managers gain a better understanding of its strategic direction and align their units with this direction. In order to do this, Process Design Consultants custom designed and delivered sessions that would provide managers the opportunity to analyze the strategy, determine its implications for their department or business unit, and apply it to their environment. Feedback from managers has shown that their level of comfort with company strategy and the ability to communicate it to staff has increased significantly.

For more information on our Strategic Management program, click here.

Project Management

We help our clients complete projects on time, on budget and with stakeholder commitment to their success.

Program: Project Management (Two or three-day workshop)

Description: Project Management is application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements on time and within budget.

Recommended for: Anyone within an organization who is responsible for managing and/or contributing to projects.

Skills built:

  • Assess the potential impact of any project on an organization
  • Determine project stakeholders and plan appropriate communication to gain and maintain their involvement and commitment
  • Understand team development and how to create it
  • Define a project in terms of scope and objectives
  • Understand the roles and skills of a project manager
  • Determine the tasks and activities required to complete any project, and learn to assess priority
  • Estimate the resources required to complete a project
  • Schedule tasks and activities
  • Execute and control any project, ensuring the project plan is protected against risks
  • Evaluate projects on closure to measure outcomes and support learning

How clients have applied the knowledge:

  • A large national company needed to improve its delivery of projects in I.T. and other areas, and decided to develop training based on its own specific project standards and documentation. Process Design, who already provided their basic project management courses, designed a new training program, Project Application and Tools, to be more application oriented. This enabled the company to standardize project management documentation, a key PMO goal.
  • Government projects commonly have multiple stakeholders who need to be kept in the loop, or else the project automatically fails. The leadership development group asked Process Design to design a one-day program to help senior managers play their sponsorship role effectively in this complex environment. The courses were well attended, with several hundred senior level participants. This enabled the senior management group to firmly establish their project sponsorship role in managing stakeholder expectations and balancing project priorities, a vital step forward.
  • An international company identified that its strategic success in competitive markets depended on ensuring that its people developed specific competencies, one of these being project management. Process Design was asked to design a course for professional and managerial staff and cover the task and team aspects of project management. Process Design continues to deliver this course, now with over 300 alumni, which has established a common language and tools for cross-functional project teams to deliver project objectives on time and within budget.

For more information on Leading and Managing Projects, click here.

Process Management

We help clients create processes for delivering products and services that surpass customer requirements

Program: Business Process Improvement (Two-day workshop)

Description: Business Process Improvement involves planning and monitoring the performance of a business process. It includes the application of knowledge, skills, tools, techniques, and systems to define, visualize, measure, control, report, and improve processes with the goal to meet customer requirements profitably.

Recommended for: Process managers, process owners, or process leaders; mid- or upper-level functional managers who have responsibility over processes or links in the value chain; managers in process-focused organizations; process analysts or consultants who support process managers; managers who need process management skills.

Skills Built:

  • Understand how to identify core processes and clarify their real objectives
  • Learn how to use system and process maps to assess the need for process improvement
  • Learn and use common strategies for process improvement (ESCOlate)
  • Learn to recognize systemic flaws that require process redesign
  • Identify performance fluctuations that require problem solving
  • Discover how to raise the bar: moving from basic to better and to bonus delivery

How our clients have applied the knowledge:

  • A noted public services organization serving both the public and their professional membership found that it needed to improve services to stakeholders. It pursued this through upgrading its computer systems and improving it business processes. Process Design was asked to design a series of training modules that would enable a cross-functional team to identify, map, and improve its own process. During a nine-month period under the guidance of Process Design, over a dozen such teams improved their core business processes as measured by critical results such as error rates, response times, and accuracy rates.
  • A firm acting as an intermediary between consumers and product marketers decided to implement a new generation of information technology to increase its capabilities and decrease unit costs. The lowest risk way to set up such a system is to design the ideal processes and then implement a system to conform to them. They asked Process Design to provide customized training to enable their project teams to achieve the aggressive deadlines for system implementation. Process Design’s training sessions enabled the team to successfully design new processes and get high organizational buy-in, and consequently achieve their stringent project implementation deadlines.
  • In order to implement a new strategy based on market segmentation and a new value proposition, an industrial distributor set up cross-company teams around its six core processes to drive the transformation of the company. Process Design designed and delivered customized training to start-up these teams in both task (business process) and team (teamwork, change, communication) aspects of their roles. Over a two-year period the teams were successful in redesigning processes, getting broad organizational buy-in, facilitating cultural change, and achieving alignment with their new strategy.

For more information on the Business Process Improvement workshop, click here.

Issues Management:

Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, “You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” We help clients build their critical thinking skills so they can make better decisions and solve problems more effectively.

Program: Critical Thinking Skills (Two-day workshop)

Description: Critical Thinking Skills is a set of skills for resolving problems and maximizing the opportunities that affect organizations and their customers. The majority of issues that employees encounter within their normal working life can be recognized early and resolved effectively using these simple thinking skills.

Recommended for: Managers and employees who need to understand what is happening in the workplace, why it is happening, which is the best course of action, and how to implement successfully to satisfy internal and external customers.

Skills built:

  • Learn a basic thinking process and the four key critical thinking skills
  • Learn to prioritize and identify the most important issues through situation assessment
  • Discover how to find the root cause of problems
  • Learn how to solve problems and make better decisions
  • Learn creative thinking techniques to help develop more innovative and effective solutions
  • Verify that decisions are aligned with the organizational strategy
  • Establish a clear and objective criteria against which to review all the options
  • Practice preparing and presenting recommendations to support proposed solutions
  • Learn techniques to build stakeholder commitment for the implementation of action plans

How our clients have applied the knowledge:

  • A national bank wanted to provide 1200 branch managers with a simple, quick process for identifying, anticipating, clarifying and prioritizing issues; for solving customer problems; for making better, more effective decisions; and for developing simple, powerful action plans. Process Design customized a training course for the bank and delivered the course across the entire country over a period of three months, providing an awareness of the need and the skills to develop better solutions with more commitment from the stakeholders to implement.
  • A large company, which plans and executes projects around the globe asked Process Design to develop and deliver a training course to enhance their ability to recognize and resolve customer and corporate issues better, faster and with greater commitment of their staff and stakeholders. We have now trained some 300 people in the organization. The processes we transferred to the organization have now become a “way of life” for getting issues on the table and resolving them.
  • We worked with a large company over several years to provide them with a common process for identifying, anticipating, and prioritizing issues of concern; finding root cause when things have gone wrong; generating better, more effective decisions with greater organizational buy-in and support; and planning the implementation of these decisions with lower risk and higher probability of success.

For more information on our Critical Thinking Skills program, click here.

Performance Management

We agree with George Eliot’s quote, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.” We help clients gain leverage by effectively managing the performance of their people.

Program: Performance Management (Two-day workshop)

Description: Performance Management is the activity of tracking performance against targets and identifying opportunities for improvement. The real focus of performance management is the future, i.e. what do you need to be able to do and how can you do things better. Each team member needs to know expectations, and have proper equipment and coaching to do their jobs well. Performance Management provides the framework for setting expectations, evaluating and improving performance.

Recommended for: Managers who need better, more consistent results; Human Resources professionals who need to understand and manage performance systems; process consultants who support line management; and any other employee or manager who wants to influence the behaviour of others.

Skills built:

  • Understand the Human Performance System Model
  • Discover how to plan and communicate performance expectations
  • Determine how to identify performance gaps
  • Determine the most likely causes of poor performance
  • Understand how to change performance
  • Learn how to appraise employees and give actionable feedback on performance
  • Discover the two key opportunities for performance improvement in every organization
  • Understand how to coach others for improved performance

How clients have applied the knowledge:

  • We helped a major retailer to identify internal best practices that allowed them to leverage product training of customer-facing employees into increased sales.
  • We designed a customized performance management program for a large government agency that provided its managers and staff with the skills to set meaningful, realistic goals and expectations; to monitor performance to discover significant gaps; to gather data to describe exactly what is happening and when; to determine the root causes of that behaviour and to make better decisions for improving performance; to provide more specific and timely feedback; and to provide much more effective coaching on a face-to-face basis.
  • We developed two similar programs for large municipalities to give managers the skills and confidence to set clear performance expectations; to monitor and troubleshoot performance problems; and to change the performance system (within their authority levels) to get better, more consistent performance from their employees. A benefit of this course was that managers became more aware of the need for leverage: they could only achieve their goals through the performance of their employees.
  • Process Design designed a management development program for an engineering company to supplement their great technical skills. The management development workshop included segments on managing the performance of individuals and teams. As a result of this workshop, managers became much more adept at managing the task and people aspects of large projects.

For more information on our Performance Management program, click here.

Change Management

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.” Eliciting buy in from key stakeholders is essential for any change effort to succeed. We help organizations drive change by helping them build a business case that builds commitment.

Program: Creating Compelling Business Cases (Two-day workshop)

Description: Creating Compelling Business Cases gives employees the skills to gain stakeholder approval of their ideas by creating powerful, persuasive presentations.

Recommended for: Anybody who is involved in making changes within an organization, particularly those who need to sell their idea “up” to a manager, senior management team, or Board of Directors.

Skills built:

  • Learn to identify a problem or opportunity
  • Identify key stakeholders impacted by a change
  • Understand the four motivators for change
  • Learn to sell the need for change by establishing a “burning platform”
  • Identify and verify the assumptions made about customers, markets, resource constraints
  • Establish defensible and compelling criteria for evaluating options
  • Manage the risk associated with change, reviewing the potential impact on people, processes, and technology
  • Present the business case in writing and orally
  • Establish a clear plan for change execution

How clients have applied the knowledge:

  • We worked with a major organization to train their people to sell new and innovative ideas within the organization and to their customers in order to re-direct themselves and to retain and build market share in a hyper-competitive environment.
  • A senior project manager at a major international construction company used our methodology to convince his firm to use a method of construction they had not previously considered. He was able to sell his idea to a group of skeptical stakeholders with divergent opinions and gain their commitment to add an innovative and, initially, controversial building feature.

For more information on our Creating Compelling Business Cases program, click here.