The Aspire@Work℠ team has been training and teaching executives from across the globe for more than 15 years.

We recognize how adults learn best. We make the classroom experience practical and relevant to everyday jobs and challenges.  We offer programs by leading experts that are always interactive, applicable, and challenging.

Whether you choose an off-the-shelf program on popular topics like How to Enhance your Influence or Leading High Performance Teams or elect to custom build a six-month curriculum for your organization’s high potentials, Aspire@Work will partner with you to meet your unique needs — now and into the future.

Count on Aspire@Work to deliver exceptional content and workshops in the areas most requested by organizations. We stay on top of emerging issues that we identify as key challenges facing leaders of the future. Here are some of the workshops we have available:

Building A Culture of Engagement
Courageous Followership
Foundations of Unconscious Bias
High Performance Teams
How to Successfully Negotiate Conflict in the Workplace
Innovate the Way You Innovate
Lead Like the Legends
Leading with Social Media
Power vs. Influence: What Do You Want and How Can You Get More?
Resilience: Overcoming Overwork and Overwhelm
Stand or Shift
Systems Awareness: Understanding the Whole Organization
Ten Essential Tips for Managing Millennials
Work-Life Integration
Building A Culture of Engagement

In this interactive workshop, participants learn how to model engaged leadership, facilitate a culture of engagement in their organizations, and develop employee engagement plans. By the end of this workshop, your managers will have a clear understanding of why and how they should change their behavior to influence engagement of their teams and of their organization.

We will introduce them to best practices and tools that will help them to focus their engagement efforts. We will also provide participants an opportunity to practice using these tools with their peers.

Led by Meredith Persily Lamel

Courageous Followership

These workshops are designed to examine the relationship of leaders and followers through “the other end of the telescope.” Increasingly, it is clear that leaders need to surround themselves not with “yes men” but with professionals who will be genuine partners for organizational success. These partners, or “courageous followers,” will provide both support and honest feedback about the leader’s decisions and actions so these can be continually improved, just as a leader expects continual improvement from those below. In an era of increased competitiveness, board scrutiny, and regulatory watchfulness, forthright honesty and effective interaction with senior levels of the organization are crucial for success.

The objectives are to:

  • Raise awareness of the equal importance of exemplary followership behavior to leadership behavior
  • Identify styles of followership and directions for growth
  • Increase understanding of how hierarchical structures do not need to produce less-than-candid hierarchical relationships
  • Examine the sources of courage that enable followers to give leaders important information they may not want to hear
  • Identify the numerous ways in which followers can give better support to their leaders
  • Develop an awareness of the elements of effectively providing leaders with sensitive feedback
  • In longer workshop formats, develop the skills for effectively providing leaders with sensitive feedback
  • Provide leaders with the awareness and tools for creating cultures in which followers will more readily act as partners

Participants will assess their own followership styles. Using hypothetical situations, they will examine the ramifications of different styles and identify their personal growth needs. They will explore their own value structures and how these can enable them to act with courage when necessary. They will also examine the tools they have as leaders to foster courageous follower behavior. In full-day workshops we will use high-quality video scenarios to examine key followership behaviors. In two-day workshops, participants will use coached role playing to reinforce the skills needed to provide successful feedback in difficult situations. Workshops for the most senior levels of an organization will focus on creating effective open-door policies that support cultural change.

Led by Ira Chaleff

Foundations of Unconscious Bias

This interactive workshop is an introduction to the concept of unconscious bias that combines fundamental psychological approaches like stereotyping threat, unintentional blindness, and selective attention along with more classical diversity approaches with an emphasis on micro-advantages and micro-inequities. In this workshop, participants will:

  • Examine their own background and identities so that they can interact more authentically with colleagues, patients, and the community
  • Explore how the brain functions so that they can recognize unconscious bias as a natural function of the human mind
  • Expose patterns of unconscious bias so that they can navigate their impact on their decision-making processes
  • Identify organizational leverage points so that they can mitigate the impact of unconscious bias in interactions, processes, and structures
  • Gain an introductory understanding of strategies and tools that can create transformational systemic change

Led by Brian Gittens

High Performance Teams

High Performance Team Workshops & Training

Although teams are nearly ubiquitous in modern organizations, their performance often falls short of the potential because managers and members haven’t been given sufficient support and opportunity to develop. These workshops may be tailored to focus on particular aspects of team composition, development, and deployment in line with the strategic objectives of the organization. Depending on the intention of the engagement, participants may include all team members (e.g., composition and development) or just team managers (e.g., planning, team job design, and performance management).

Teams topics including:

  • Team Building (Composition & Charter);
  • Team Development (Stages & Evolution);
  • Team Strategy & Cascading Goals;
  • Team Culture, Team Roles & Networks;
  • Team Performance Management;
  • Teams & Organizational Change;
  • Team Building (Experiential Exercises)
  • Team Conflict;
  • Team Leadership;
  • Team Ideation & Creativity, & Innovation

Team workshops include lessons from cutting-edge research, real-world examples, discussion of your member concerns, and directions for leveraging your team success.

Led by Mark Clark, PhD

How to Successfully Negotiate Conflict in the Workplace

“Any method of negotiation may be fairly judged by three criteria: It should produce a wise agreement if agreement is possible. It should be efficient. And it should improve or at least not damage the relationship between the parties.”
― Roger Fisher, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Even though productive conflict leads to innovation and improved relationships in the workplace, too often individuals run from conflict out of fear or inability to reach a positive resolution. Nevertheless, in today’s workplace, your ability to negotiate through conflict and manage competing agendas is essential to your success as a leader and manager. Left unresolved, conflicts can sap morale, damage workplace relationships, and impede progress toward vital initiatives.

This workshop offers a useful framework for negotiation and managing conflict situations. Through discussion and interactive negotiation simulations, participants will:

  • Develop their negotiation skills
  • Increase their confidence in the negotiation process
  • Recognize new ways to resolve conflict

Led by Alexandra Mislin

Innovate the Way You Innovate

Well-intentioned leaders, in their attempts to boost innovation, are inadvertently destroying it.

What if “thinking outside the box” actually kills innovation?

What if failure is not a necessary component of innovation?

…It’s time to innovate the way you innovate.

During this customizable and interactive keynote, you will discover that innovation isn’t just about generating occasional new ideas. It’s about staying consistently one step ahead of the competition. This enlightening experience brings to life the concepts in Stephen Shapiro’s latest book, Best Practices Are Stupid.

You will discover why:

  • You don’t want to innovate everywhere. Instead, focus energies in areas with the greatest potential impact. “Innovate where you differentiate.”
  • Asking for ideas is a bad idea. Avoid suggestion boxes or abstract questions — they create a lot of noise and wasted energy. Instead, provide well-framed challenges to increase creative output. “Don’t think outside the box, find a better box.”
  • Expertise is the enemy of innovation. Breakthroughs are rarely developed by experts within your industry or area of specialization. Instead, reframe your challenge to find solutions elsewhere.
  • The pragmatic approaches shared in “Innovate the Way You Innovate” have increased innovation ROI tenfold or more.

Led by Stephen Shapiro

Lead Like the Legends

What can we learn about leadership from the legendary performers of popular music? In this entertaining and interactive keynote presentation you will discover how the great American songwriters, singers, and musicians can inspire our work in schools and offices. David Steinberg has had the unusual experience of having served as principal of an elementary, middle, and high school, and led each school to a significant rise in academic achievement and improvement in school climate. In Lead Like the Legends, David shares the lessons he has learned from the legends of music, how the lessons link to the best research in teacher and administrator leadership, moving stories of inspiring leaders that put these lessons into action, and practical strategies that help schools, offices, teams, and all organizations move forward so that students and employees succeed. Based on David’s book: Lead Like the Legends: Advice and Inspiration for Teachers and Administrators (Routledge, 2016).

Led by David Steinberg

Leading with Social Media

Leading has risks. It’s always been this way since before Sun Tzu penned The Art of War. But leading today in social media can be even more risky as what we post and share online can live forever. Adding to the challenge is that the people who use social media platforms are often more inclined to shout than talk. Or users only spend time on sites where they agree with others as described in The Filter Bubble.

What can be done? First, you must fully realize that most of the hard and real work has already been done for your product, thinking, service, idea, etc. Now the challenge is to describe it and then to decide where it best goes online. You also will need to design your social media presence so that it achieves your goals, be they to inform, share, persuade, sell, or something else.

This doesn’t make leading on social media an impossible Sisyphusian task. Nor does it mean you can retreat into your insular tribe or even go offline. The adage, “Not taking a risk is a risk itself,” applies to living, working, and communicating on social media as well. I call it Digital Darwinsim.

Participants in this workshop will learn:

  • How to set clear social objectives for your social media presence
  • Which social media platform mix is best for your organization
  • The best ways to be heard without having to shout

Led by Scott Talan

Power vs. Influence: What Do You Want and How Can You Get More?

This workshop is based on the work of great thinkers on influence, including: Linda Hill, Barry Oshry, Allan Cohen, and David Bradford. We augment their thinking with practical coaching tools on networking, making requests, and coalition building. Participants will leave the session with an appreciation for influence frameworks as well as an action plan for how to increase their own influence.

In this workshop, participants will learn:

  • Why influence is more important than power or authority in today’s organizations
  • As a middle manager, what strategies you can pursue to increase you influence in you organization and with your stakeholders
  • How to develop the critical skills needed to improve your influence

Led by Meredith Persily Lamel

Resilience: Overcoming Overwork and Overwhelm

Most stressed out professionals know they need to change but don’t know where to start. Everyone talks about work-life balance but hardly anyone has it. That’s because it’s the wrong goal.

We offer a simple, practical, and actionable way to shift the conversation to a personal leadership strategy that helps professionals show up at their best and live happier, healthier, and more productive lives. In a highly interactive workshop we’ll teach your people how to follow through on a better goal: living life at their best.

In this workshop, participants will:

  • Understand key causes of the increasing pace of life, including how they are contributing to it themselves, with a self-assessment
  • Explore how they use their 168 hours/week and examine whether limited time is really the core issue
  • Learn how to quickly tap their own nervous system’s wiring to deactivate chronic fight or flight
  • Clarify how they show up when they’re at their best
  • Identify specific routines they can adopt that enable them to show up at their best consistently
  • Learn 10 tested “time hacks” for optimizing their use of their energy
  • Practice 4 “killer apps” for staying mindful mentally, physically, emotionally, and in times of quiet
  • Walk away with a 1-page Life GPS that summarizes their resilience implementation plan

Led by Linda Bidlack

Stand or Shift

What would happen if we viewed work from a different perspective?

In this workshop, participants are invited to understand the role that perspectives and assumptions play in determining how they initiate, respond, and show up to others at work. Using a framework anchored by six unique perspectives, workshop attendees will further define and explore each perspective and the behaviors, language, and impact that accompanies them.  Using real life situations, each participant will be able to identify their current stance and explore the benefits and perils that shifting their perspective could have on personal effectiveness, impact, and productivity. This session builds self-awareness and explores the choices available to each person to translate intention into action. The workshop introduces an approach and provides real-world practice and techniques that participants can leverage immediately.

In this fun and engaging workshop, participants will:

  • Learn six perspectives available to use in challenging situations
  • Discover their default STANDs and gauge how well they’re working
  • De-code language, behaviors, and actions perspectives of each path and learn how to move between paths
  • Recognize ‘choice points’ and when to fortify their stand or shift

Participants will create or receive an artistic version of the six-point framework to reinforce the concepts and enable them to incorporate the perspectives into their ongoing behaviors.

Led by Tracy Carmen-Jones

Systems Awareness: Understanding the Whole Organization

This is an intensive ½-2 day simulation experience, which prompts and challenges participants to reach beyond their current way of doing business to creative ways of seeing the possibilities of collaboration. Leaders and teams that participate in the workshop learn strategies to make their organizations more adaptive, innovative, and stakeholder-oriented.

Participants are placed into roles causing them to interact in a fast-paced uncomfortable environment, experiencing situations that regularly occur in these positions day-to-day.  The workshop is then punctuated with brief sessions that allow participants to step back and see how the system is experienced from each part of the system.  They will participate in exercises and debriefing sessions that will enhance their understanding of their own behaviors and mind-sets when operating as part of a system.  Finally, they will experience scenarios that reveal how easy it is to react to power issues and, instead, experiment with alternative, empowering stands and strategies that result in partnership and teamwork.

Ultimately, participants and teams walk away with a greater ability to understand organizational systems and to lead more effectively in them.

Led by Lori Zukin

Ten Essential Tips for Managing Millennials

By 2020, almost half of the U.S. workforce will consist of Millennials. Yet, tensions between the generations are at an all-time high.

Millennials already account for 25% of the U.S. workforce.  By 2020, millennials will occupy 50% of the global workforce.

Managers must not only proactively manage this tension, but also leverage this growing percentage of the workforce. In order to do this, managers need to better understand what differentiates Millennials from previous generations and adopt new management methods to hire, engage and retain them.

In this interactive three-hour session for managers, participants will learn:

  • The four drivers for how Millennials became who they are today
  • Ten practical tips you can try tomorrow to get more out of your millennial employees
  • Interview questions to better screen Millennials and begin the necessary conversations to produce a productive working relationship

The growing number of Millennials in the workforce have added some new challenges and opportunities for managers to consider in building and leading strong teams. This program is a compilation of the best academic research combined with dozens of anecdotes and experiments to help participants solve their greatest challenges in managing Millennials.

Led by Meredith Persily Lamel

Work-Life Integration

Work life “balance” is not only a myth but has become a catch-all to describe a person’s efforts to integrate his/her professional and personal lives.  In this highly interactive workshop that references content from the “Immunity to Change” model, we debunk the myth while providing participants with new ways to frame and change their level of investment in both their professional and personal pursuits. We also introduce the concept of “purposeful” and “necessary” work to re-frame the conversation about work-life“balance.”

Specifically, participants:

  • Complete a self-assessment in which they identify their multiple roles in work and life
    and their relationship to those roles (e.g. level of investment, motivation)
  • Identify opportunities for change in their professional and personal landscape
  • Explore the behaviors that leverage and sabotage these opportunities (e.g. setting limits, being perfect, taking risks)
  • Commit to “experiments” that they will conduct to shift their “work-life” experiencesAs a result, participants complete the worth with new both faith and strategies for integrating their personal and professional lives.

Led by Mimi Darmstadter

Meredith is one of the best trainers around. She combines relevant, timely information with a fun and lively presentation. I appreciate that she offers very specific and practical examples that can be applied immediately in the workplace. I highly recommend talking with Meredith about your training needs!
–Amy Plaster, Executive Director at CMS Energy