Strategic Conversations Bootcamp

Using two powerful methodologies - SOAR and the 5-D Appreciative Inquiry model - this course will strengthen your value as a leader by developing your capacity to foster whole system strategic thinking, planning, and leading.

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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.

Strategic Conversations Bootcamp will teach you how to use the SOAR Framework to support strategic conversations at all levels of an organization; deepen your understanding of the value of scaling strategic conversations to include the whole system; explore the Appreciative Inquiry 5-D Cycle, Design Thinking, World Café, and Open Space Technology.

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Bootcamp Modules Overview:

Module 1: Strategic Thinking & Mindset

PURPOSE: Reassess the nature of what it means to be an organization, explore the impact of adopting a living systems mindset, and what that means when it comes to the nature of business conversation.


  • Rethink the nature of organizations, see them as a living system, nourished by hubs of conversation and action.
  • Adopt a living systems mindset and an Appreciative Inquiry conversational framework.
  • Recognize 3 key factors for supporting strategic conversations and organizational flourishing.
  • Practice framing and asking generative questions for strategic conversations that align with a living systems mindset.

Module 2: SOAR Conversations

PURPOSE: Learn to use the SOAR Framework to foster strategic conversations at all levels of an organization.


  • Adopt a SOAR Framework for strategic thinking and planning.
  • Experience SOAR as a positive approach for strategic conversations.
  • Practice positive framing and generative questions using SOAR at various levels in the organization.

Module 3: The Appreciative Inquiry 5-D Cycle

PURPOSE: Understand the importance of whole systems engagement and to explore strategic conversations at scale using the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) 5-D Cycle to engage all stakeholders in strategic planning or whole system change.


  • Understand the need for whole systems engagement.
  • Understand the AI 5-D Cycle.
  • Practice framing an affirmative topic and creating an appreciative inquiry.
  • Identify opportunities to engage whole systems in strategic conversations.

Module 4: Whole Systems Engagement Processes

PURPOSE: Understand key factors for successful whole systems engagement and learn the basics around three popular processes for engaging large groups or whole systems in conversation.


  • Recognize key factors to successful whole systems engagement.
  • Understand Design Thinking, World Café, and Open Space Technology.
  • Explore when, where, and how you might use these processes.
  • Identify other resources and processes for whole systems engagement.

Strategic Conversation Bootcamp Learning Outcomes:

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.

After completing this bootcamp, 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 earned me a promotion! I shared aspects of the program with my CEO and she invited me to design and facilitate a strategic conversation for our Board of Directors. Using the SOAR framework and Appreciative Inquiry our Board gained greater awareness about our overall program and is now more engaged. My CEO has been thrilled with the results!.”

Deborah Porter,
Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology

Select a learning option that best suits your learning style

To maximize flexibility, accessibility, and engagement, Conversations Worth Having delivers its bootcamps in various modalities. All participants will achieve the same learning outcomes no matter which learning option they choose.


Virtual or in-person training to meet the specific needs of your organization, community, or team.

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Live Virtual

Participate in two 2.5 hour LIVE webinars that cover the 4 Strategic Conversation Bootcamp modules with applied learning and practice.

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Blending of In-Person and online learning to meet your needs & learning outcomes. Online learning can consist of virtual or on-demand.

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Enjoy the flexibility of completing the Strategic Conversation Bootcamp online at your own time and pace.

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