Mindsets, behaviors, skills, and practices—à la carte
Every organization and team is unique—distinguished by its stage of development, people, culture, opportunities, and challenges.
That’s why we created Growth Labs—customized workshops between half and one day, depending on your needs. Each lab builds a set of skills that individuals and teams need to thrive in an agile organization.
- Is the team going through a stressful time? A period of change?
- Do meetings tend to drag on, or end without clear takeaways?
- Are people afraid to speak up and share new ideas?
There is a Growth Lab designed to address each of these and dozens of other circumstances. Organizations and team leaders can choose from our menu of labs—or, as we get to know your teams better, we can suggest the perfect ones for them.
In-app development journey
Follow-up coaching, peer accountability
A sampling of our Growth Labs
Accelerating Team Decisions
Participants experience different team decision-making modes—unanimity, consensus, democracy, authority, and consent—used in contexts ranging from ancient Athens to the United Nations. We explore when each should be applied and what to do when it’s hard to reach agreement. Participants become experts in making decisions the agile way—moving forward with the best option barring major objection, tolerating disagreement, and integrating opinions.
Trust is the cornerstone of human relationships, essential for friends, teams, and business alliances. In this lab, we explore the value of trust and its building blocks: being believable and dependable, growing closer to others, and caring for their interests. Participants learn when and how to be more trusting, and how to earn others’ trust in turn. They also deepen their understanding of the impact of lies and explore how to mend broken trust.
Compelling Value Propositions
Before departing on any initiative, an organization needs to know three things: who they will serve, what value they will create, and why their product is a better choice than competitors’. This information—conveyed in a simple, non-technical way—is called a customer value proposition. Participants sharpen and learn how to continually renew their value proposition, so that their offerings evolve to meet customers’ ever-changing needs.
Conquering Cognitive Bias
The human brain is far more versatile than any computer in existence. It does, however, have its glitches. The brain is susceptible to a number of biases, which cause us to reach questionable decisions and incorrect conclusions all the time. In this lab, we examine how cognitive biases profoundly impact our personal and professional lives. Participants become skilled at spotting crucial ones—the hindsight, confirmation, and overconfidence biases—and master techniques to avoid them.
Cultivating Psychological Safety
Curious about why some of their teams flourished while others floundered, Google undertook a massive project to uncover what makes teams tick. Their surprising discovery? Psychological safety—the sense that it’s okay to take risks and voice concerns—was the most important factor to team success, ahead of personality and even intelligence. This lab explores what psychological safety looks like and why it facilitates high-performance. We help teams create an environment where everyone feels comfortable asking questions, raising concerns, giving critical feedback, and sharing innovative ideas.
Curiosity and Learning
Curiosity is the seed of innovation. Seatbelts, vaccines, blood transfusions—these ideas were born when someone asked the right question. This lab examines why curiosity and learning are crucial to an organization’s success. We also explore how to develop a mindset that drives discovery, stokes innovation, and fosters lifelong learning.
The heart of good design is empathy for your user—what they need, what their frustrations are, what delights them. In this lab, participants deepen their understanding of their customers. They master tools like journey maps to generate insights; create lo-fi prototypes that enable parallel learning and quick iteration; and test new ideas in ways that yield the most useful data.
Meetings are critical for discussing new ideas, identifying opportunities, solving problems, and reaching decisions. By some measures, we spend as much as 40% of work in meetings. Yet, anywhere from a quarter to half of these meetings are “unproductive”—mired in inefficiency and ending without a good decision. In this lab, we dissect what typically goes wrong. Participants master facilitation techniques and research-backed tools for bringing clarity and focus to their meetings.
What does it take to achieve peak performance? Sometimes, we underestimate the mental and emotional work needed to fully embrace agility and reach our potential. In this lab, participants deepen their self-awareness, enhancing their ability to thrive in difficult situations, grow from feedback, and feel at ease with change. They learn about the “emotional contagion” that occurs within teams, and practice productive ways of expressing how they feel.
Generating Great Ideas
For the first 300 years after it was invented, the wheel was only used by potters. Nobody thought to stick a couple wheels on a chariot and push transportation forward by leaps and bounds—until someone did. In this lab, we examine breakthrough ideas and how to generate them while solving thorny problems. Participants build skills like redefinition and reframing, issue trees, drawing parallels with nature, and critically examining successful models in other industries.
Initiative and Execution
Taking initiative means independently seeking and acting on opportunities. People might lack initiative for a number of reasons: they don’t notice opportunities, they don’t feel empowered to act, or they don’t see things through to completion. In this lab, participants uncover what’s holding them back and begin spotting opportunities to take the lead. They make it a habit to follow through successfully while gaining the support of others.
Nobel prize winner Herbert Simon said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” The human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish. In this lab, participants get the neuroscience behind why we’re unable to focus in the face of distractions like pop-up notifications and emails. They master techniques to focus on what’s most important, structure their environments and schedules for deep concentration, and keep distracting thoughts and feelings at bay.
Mastering Crucial Conversations
Communication is 55% body language, 38% tone, and only 7% what we actually say. The more difficult the conversation, the more important the unsaids become. Because many of us are ill-equipped for difficult conversations, we tend to avoid them. When they do happen, one or both people often leave dissatisfied or hurt. In this lab, participants prepare for crucial conversations by questioning their assumptions, exploring the other side’s story, and discussing tough topics with peers.
Ownership and Accountability
Imagine a life where you can expect agreements, promises, and commitments to be kept—and where lapses are dealt with constructively and promptly. In this lab, participants get best practices, and plenty of practice, to ensure high levels of accountability on any team. They become adept at clearly making and negotiating requests; ensuring everyone knows who will be responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed; and following through on promises.
Conflicts can arise anywhere: negotiations, brainstorms, meetings. Causes range from misunderstandings to philosophical differences to divergent goals. But the result is the same: both communication and trust break down. In this lab, participants distinguish between harmful and healthy and conflict. They become adept at defusing the harmful kind, and productively resolving the healthy kind to capitalize on creative friction. They hone their skills in spotting disagreement before it spirals, finding shared beliefs, and building empathy.
Structuring Agile Teams
Structure—reporting relationships, decision authorities, roles and responsibilities—is the unglamorous underpinning of a high-performing team. While structure doesn’t guarantee success, it certainly facilitates it. This lab explores how an organization can design a strong, agile framework for its teams, setting them up for success. Participants become adept at assembling the right people for end-to-end delivery, keeping teams at the right size (hint: if you need more than two pizzas to feed the team, it’s too big!), and ensuring teams receive the agile coaching essential for success.
Thriving Amid Uncertainty
In a globalized world where technology is changing the landscape at a galloping pace, uncertainty is the norm. For many, this uncertainty is deeply uncomfortable—but it doesn’t have to be. With the right approach, we can not only manage uncertainty, but use it to our advantage. In this lab, participants grow more comfortable with the unknown, become adept at planning flexibly, and explore how to step up as a leader in uncertain times.
Being part of a high-performing team is an unforgettable experience—time speeds by, teammates are more like friends than colleagues, work feels like fun. For teams like these, what initially seems impossible evolves into a momentous accomplishment. In this lab, we explore what it takes for individuals to collaborate powerfully with each other, and offer guidance on how to deliver even when faced with extreme challenge.
“In an ever changing world, you never learn it all, even if you keep growing into your ’90s.”
John Kotter, Harvard Business School