Washington University in St. Louis

MGT635: Conversations to Inspire Performance

Course summary:

Performance management often can be approached as a top-down, evaluative process involving a stack of paperwork that’s forced upon leaders and their direct reports—with little payoff for either person.

Course experience:
This course provides a new, uncomplicated approach to performance management. Instead of semiannual reviews driven by managers, this new process is about having regular, meaningful dialog. In these everyday conversations, leaders coach and develop, making the time they invest reap better performance and stronger relationships with their direct reports.
Who should take this course?
Technical professionals wishing to earn Washington University's Advanced Technical Leadership Certificate. This course is designed to teach participants ways to increase their effectiveness with teams, in meetings and in individual discussion with peers, managers, vendors and customers.

Course outline:

  • Why Change?: Learners address criticisms of the former, more traditional way of doing performance management and why it’s no longer the best approach.
  • Overview of the New Approach to Performance: The facilitator reviews the organization’s new approach to inspiring performance and its importance.
  • The Key Principles Connection: The facilitator revisits the Key Principles and explains their value as leadership skills. The group discusses how the Key Principles will support the organization’s performance process as well as better communication and dialog overall.
  • About Coaching: Learners share examples of when people needed coaching. The facilitator reviews proactive and reactive coaching and reveals erroneous, but common, thinking that coaching is only about correcting or improving performance.
  • STAR/AR Feedback for Improvement: Learners watch a video that explores feedback in depth and introduces the STAR/AR format for feedback for improvement. Using scenarios, learners review the components of STAR/AR and plan questions they will ask to seek Alternative actions and enhanced Results. The facilitator then introduces the STAR format for giving positive feedback.
  • Communicating Expectations Clearly—Both Operational and Behavioral: The facilitator defines two categories of performance—operational and behavioral—and the benefits of making clear agreements about both. Learners review the SMART technique for composing well-written, effective performance goals. The group discusses more-desired and less-desired behaviors for achieving goals.
  • Proactive Everyday Dialog Practice: The facilitator introduces and provides an overview of the Dialog Guide for use in everyday conversations. Using prepared scenarios and the Dialog Guide, pairs practice an everyday coaching conversation.
  • Communicating About the New Approach: Learners work in teams to prepare for their role as an articulate advocate. Then they practice speaking key talking points to advocate and communicate the new conversation-based approach.

Learning outcomes:

  • Conduct everyday conversations that inspire their direct reports to achieve their personal best.
  • Nurture workplace relationships and grow trust.
  • Give feedback for improvement that’s more comfortable for themselves and their direct reports.
  • Convey clear expectations for what their direct reports should be achieving and how.
  • Champion a conversation-based approach to managing performance within their organization.
On Campus Classroom
Day & Time:
Monday May 6, 2024
1 to 5:00 p.m.
Enrollment Deadline:
April 29, 2024
Washington University
Lopata Hall, Room 511
Course Fee(s):

Enrollment Deadline is April 29th, 2024 at 5 PM CST. Beyond this date, please call 314-935-4444 to register.

A full refund will be given when a registrant cancels more than five (5) business days prior to the start of the class. Cancellations received within 5 business days of the start of the class and no-shows will be billed in full. Another person may be substituted at any time at no additional charge.
A request to transfer a class to a future date can only occur if the request is more than 5 business days prior to the start of class.  Otherwise, the request will be considered a cancellation and the policy will apply.

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Thank you for your interest! Currently, we don't have any additional sessions with availability. However, we're committed to offering ongoing learning opportunities and are working to add more sessions in the future. We appreciate your interest and look forward to the opportunity to support your professional growth soon.

Accrediting Associations:

Applies toward the following certificates:

Advanced Technical Leadership Certificate
Coaching Certificate - 500px
Have questions?
Contact us if you would like to speak with a program director or visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.
"I rated this overall an exceptional class. The materials, discussions, and outcomes are all applicable for use every day." MGT635: Conversations to Inspire Performance