September and October have been pretty busy…

Workshops: I have been leading several editions of my conflict management / negotiation skills workshop. At clients’ locations VM Motori (Cento, Fe), Crif (Bologna) and at Festo Industrial Business School (Assago, MI). I am very happy with the results: participants were very satisfied and my evaluation ratings were hard to beat :) I am also happy because I have finally found an effective way to introduce the conflict management theme and to give it a coherent logical structure. The negotiation part of the workshop (day 2) was set and well – scripted, and it worked very well: building on the distinction between integrative vs. distributive negotiation and progressing through the different negotiation strategies and tactics, using 2 very effective simulations to give participants a chance to experience negotiation situations.
It was day 1 that needed some fine tuning, an over-arching structure that could different techniques in a coherent way. Now day flowed beautifully, meshing together techniques taken from NLP, NVC and social psychology, in an evolutionary framework that is relevant to what participants define as “conflict”. It is true that in each workshop I learn as much as the participants do! Every workshop is different: each group of participants has different expectations and different needs and it develops different dynamics. That allows me go gain more insights into the issues and to see things from yet another different angle. And when we say good-bye and go home, I get back to my mindmaps, which are my “drawing boards. I add a few notes here, a comment there, a new branch or a new grouping. In this way the workshop takes on a life of its own, growing, developing, adapting – ready for the next clients.

Assessments: the People Development Project for Burgo is still in full swing; I was an assessor for 4 sessions and now there are 3 more to go. Being part of this project gave me the opportunity to freshen up on the theory of personality, especially the Five Factor Model. I have been using the Big 5 Questionnaire for a long time now. But there is always something new to learn. I recently read the book Personality by Nettle, and it gives a new and very interesting perspective on the topic – he book strives for a neuroscientific foundation of the 5 traits and an evolutionary explanation of their usefulness. I applied these insights in the interviews with candidates, with good results. I also did some additional research on the effectiveness of different interviewing techniques, and that radically changed my interviewing style. No more “Barbara Walters interviews”! Everything is behaviorally based. In the unfolding of these Development Centers I’ve noticed how willing people are to experiment with new behaviors, and how open to change they are. This is the good news; the bad news is how hard it is for other people who know them to notice the changes: we assessors do observe people adopting new behaviors and new attitudes after our first feedback conversation, but these first baby steps towards new behaviors are often lost on the other participants – not always, but often.
Change is easy. Making other people see change is a little more difficult.

The assessment centers in SAME, with their focus on young talents and a more traditional structure, are running as planned. One more to go…

Coaching: I am working with my coachees in Molmed and in Saes-Getters. The solution-focused protocols work extremely well. I am looking forward to going to Basel next week and to having yet another opportunity to improve my techniques by performing live coaching with real clients under the supervision of Peter Szabo and his team of seasoned professionals. I am also very excited because I am putting together, in the form of a booklet, a coaching program aimed at increasing Life Satisfaction. Basically I am condensing into coaching protocols all the activities and forms to be used by clients and all research in Positive Psychology that I have done within the past 2 years. tThe booklet includes only evidence-based material: for example, I am adopting verbatim instructions used in actual research that had increased life satisfaction as an outcome for the participants. I am aiming for a January rollout of the program.

Articles, books, presentations: as you can see below, I posted a widget for SOL 2009, the next conference for Solution-Focused professionals. This is the venue in which I will present my paper on the foundations of Solution-Focused activities and their shared assumptions with evolutionary thinking. The paper is ready, and I want to thank again Peter Szabo, Mark McKergow and Michael Hijert for their very encouraging feedback. Now I need to prepare the presentation! In the workings I also have a paper for the USMC and a draft for my new book… stay tuned!!