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.


Bootcamp Modules Overview:

Module 1: Valuing Strategic Thinking

PURPOSE: Appreciate the value of strategic thinking and adopt an appreciative framework for strategic conversations.


  • Understand the importance of strategic conversations and the role generative questions and positive framing play.
  • Adopt an AI framework for strategic thinking.
  • Recognize the 3 key factors of strategic conversations and the basic principles for leading them.
  • Practice framing and asking generative questions for simple strategic conversations.

Module 2: Fostering SOAR Conversations

PURPOSE: Learn how to use SOAR to frame strategic conversations.


  • Understand the SOAR Framework for strategic thinking.
  • 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 AI 5-D Cycle

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


  • Learn how you engage whole systems in strategic conversations.
  • Use the two AI practices – positive framing and generative questions – to frame a topic and craft an inquiry.
  •  Identify opportunities to facilitate whole system conversations.

Module 4: Strategic Area for Application

PURPOSE: Build capacity for practical application of SOAR and the AI 5-D Cycle.


  • Deepen your capacity to foster strategic conversations.
  • Design and share a prototype for a strategic conversation.
  • Practice giving and receiving feedforward.


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.

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 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.


One-day, on-site training covering the 4 Strategic Conversation Bootcamp modules, plus applied learning and practice.

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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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