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The last several years have forced many (most?) organizations into reactive mode: with a constantly shifting environment, organizations are forced to adapt, respond, react.  But constantly reacting is inefficient: it doesn’t allow an organization to thoughtfully plan, deploy resources on more strategic opportunities, and it creates waste as well as stress for the workforce.  As many sectors and industries start to “stabilize,” organizational leaders should begin to shift from reacting to a more strategic mindset.

The Performance Excellence Network — in partnership with the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence and the Iowa Quality Center — is pleased to announce a powerful workshop: The Strategic Playground: Cultivating and Sustaining a Strategic Mindset.  The workshop will be hosted April 18 IN PERSON from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM CT and will be facilitated by Mary Rapaport of Xcelerate.  The workshop is one of four pre-conference workshops for the igniteEX 2024 conference, held later April 18 and all day April 19.  More information on the conference is here.  You may attend the workshop without attending the conference, but there is a discount for attending both!

The Strategic Playground is an opportunity for leaders to recharge, reflect and rethink by immersing themselves in a strategic thinking experience. This interactive workshop includes activities, exercises and discussions all designed to elevate your thinking and challenge you to find ways your contributions can have more impact. We’ll cover topics including what strategic thinking is, and why we are all too often focused on execution in the workplace.  We’ll uncover the systemic barriers and obstacles to strategic thinking, and we’ll challenge your thinking about the level of impact you can have in the workplace. We’ll also explore how to prevent biases and assumptions from limiting your strategic thinking.  Participants will come away from the session with new insights and several useful tools and frameworks that can help them activate and channel their strategic thinking.

The workshop will cover these items:

* What is strategic thinking?

* Why we don’t think more strategically; the business environment

* Small group discussion: Systemic barriers to strategic thinking

* Framing challenges

* Sphere of Impact

* Cognitive biases

* Exercise: Powerful Questions

* Exercise – Scenario – Recognizing Assumptions and Biases

The session will be hosted at Mystic Lake Conference Center, Prior Lake, MN on April 18 from 9:00-12:00 CT.

Investment is $250 for members ($500 for non-members).  Discounts available for those also attending the igniteEX 2024 conference ($200). No group discounts available for this workshop, as space is limited and it WILL sell out!

Don’t miss this powerful opportunity to improve how you and your team make decisions and prepare for the future!

Facilitator Biography

Mary Rapaport is on a mission to democratize strategic thinking. She believes it’s not just for the elite few, but for everyone in an organization. When everyone channels a strategic mindset, the business culture thrives, teams become more creative, and employees lean in and engage more. Cultivating this mindset helps leaders create a better (and more fun) place to work, fostering a stronger culture of creativity and innovation.

As a strategic thinking architect, Mary empowers leaders and teams across all functions and levels to think, act, and lead more strategically. As the founder of Xcelerate, she builds learning strategy, designing and delivering immersive learning experiences that ignite “aha moments” and drive tangible business results.

Mary’s signature program, the Strategic Playground Workshop, is a unique blend of immersion, play, and practical application. Participants engage in reflection, peer learning, and scenario learning to awaken and channel their strategic mindset, helping them solve complex challenges and have a greater impact.

As a trusted strategic thinking coach, Mary partners with individuals and teams at leading brands to develop customized learning and development strategies. She works closely with clients to identify blind spots, refine critical thinking skills, and translate strategic insights into actionable plans for tangible ROI.

Mary’s passion extends beyond individual development. She champions inclusive growth through the Minority Business Growth Alliance, a non-profit providing invaluable coaching and support to BIPOC entrepreneurs. She holds an MBA, a BA in International Business and French, and is a certified leadership and sales trainer. Mary has extensive experience in marketing, transformation, and strategic initiatives. She also serves as the current president of the Twin Cities chapter of the Minnesota Association for Talent Development (ATD), helping colleagues in the field connect with the joy of learning.

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