Masterclasses & Offsites
with Dr Jason Fox
A masterclass offers the opportunity for individuals and leadership teams to positively grapple with new thinking and learning, so that they may collectively understand and apply it within their own unique context.
While the market seems to have quite the appetite for my ‘motivational’ keynote presentations,* masterclasses are a different game. You see, a keynote is often delivered to a large audience in a short amount of time (usually an hour or less), with the intent to provoke new thinking and open minds to new possibilities (whilst planting seeds for better questions and richer conversations). On the other hand, a masterclass allows for much more time (up to 5 hours) and is delivered to a smaller audience (usually less than 50 people) and in a more intimate context.° Therefore, the depth, tone and intent are quite different—this is us in the praxis.◊
* They’re quite popular.
° Like an offsite or leadership retreat.
◊ That is: the translation of theory into practice.
The ideal inclusion for your next leadership offsite
My masterclasses make for wondrous inclusions to any strategic leadership offsites. I’ve facilitated quite a few in my time, and have written about the many benefits of strategic offsites (and how to not screw them up). Integrating a masterclass within such could be the ideal means to enhance the efficacy of the whole event (and I’d of course tailor elements of the masterclass to best serve the overarching strategic intent).
Not to be confused with ‘Corporate Training’
Hmm, yes well: this is not a box-ticking affair, nor is it simply ‘skills training’ to churn your people through. I work best with curious and/or clever people that can think and work at moderate to high levels of complexity. Ergo, my masterclasses are ideal for experienced senior leaders and savvy emerging leaders.
But herein lies the rub: time is mighty valuable for these folk. To take a group of leaders out of the office for the day carries quite the accumulative opportunity cost (not to mention logistics, and my own fees). Therefore: it bloody better be good.
My masterclasses are f—king brilliant.*
* But don’t take my word for it—see what my clients say.
However, given the type of folk I generally work with (plus my own disposition), I've learnt to do a few things differently. Namely: to resist most anything that resembles corporate training.
Note: The ideal size for all masterclasses is 12–30 people, and I cap all of my masterclasses to a maximus of 50 people, so as to preserve a more intimate dynamic (and a greater ability to explore practical, relevant and worthy tangents). All masterclasses are designed to run from 10am to 4pm. They can be condensed from 6 hours down to as short as 3.5 hours (though we will be sacrificing a bit of depth and/or breadth), but there is little merit in expanding them beyond 6 hours.
Righto, now: shall we?
The Motivation Design Masterclass
Essential savvy for the modern leader
Conventional motivational folklore is fine for formulaic work with predictable outcomes. If you're looking to improve within existing paradigms, or just feel like a bit of a temporary boost—go nuts.
But if you're looking to do something new or complex, if your goal is inherently ambiguous—or if the work will have you pioneering into new and uncharted territory—then... well. You'll need to tap into something more contemporary. Especially if you're looking to sustain motivation, beyond the initial inspiration.
Motivation design is a contemporary science wherein we influence behaviour by working on the external factors that amplify intrinsic motivation.
Importantly, motivation design is not about working on attitudes, values, beliefs or other internal factors. Therefore: it’s psychologically safe, and free from fluff or hokey hucksterism. This also means that motivation is less dependent on you. You don’t have to motivate yourself, or your team—the motivation design does the heavy lifting.
It’s the cornerstone of my expertise, and is the most universally applicable and immediately actionable masterclass I offer. Here's an overview of motivation design. This video is nearly half a decade old now—and is slightly embarrassing and outdated (I cringe to watch it)—but it’s still somewhat apt.
Motivation Design, great! But... isn’t it manipulative?
I prefer the word ‘influence’, but yes—it is. But then: what isn’t?°
Work and life is already saturated with factors that influence our attention, motivation, focus and behaviour. Some, we are conscious of—the overt goals, key performance indicators, incentives, project structures (and so forth) clearly influence our effort at work.
Most factors, however, we are not conscious of at all.* And so, we find ourselves steered off-track, distracted and unable to sustain the motivation for the things that matter most (which are often much more complex and ambiguous in nature).
* Many app developers and businesses rely on this ignorance, establishing dark patterns that covertly influence our motivation, focus and attention.◊
° Okay: the key distinction is that manipulation is what happens where there is a significant asymmetry of benefit (only one party benefits, at the potential detriment of the other). I don’t like or endorse manipulation. Influence is much better: this is where both parties benefit.
◊ But, with savvy in Motivation Design, you’ll become more resistant to these effects.
Likewise we observe—with frustration—that the motivation of our teams and of our clients is patchy. People are quite motivated to do this thing—but not that thing. Why is this so?
In this masterclass, you’ll learn why. And—more importantly—you’ll learn how to influence and shape motivation, through the clever design of the work itself.
I offer this masterclass in two formats:
01 / Motivation Design for Individuals – ideal for anyone looking to establish and sustain personal motivation—particularly in the pursuit of complex goals—without having to rely on inspiration.
02 / Motivation Design for Teams – ideal for new teams, or for established teams seeking a refresh on how they work together.
Note: This is not a ‘motivational’ masterclass—it’s a masterclass in understanding how motivation works, and how you can effectively (and sustainably) influence it. And, while it’ll naturally be quite motivating and inspiring, the primary focus isn’t to motivate you (in the same way that learning the science of comedy isn’t necessarily funny). It is assumed that you're already motivated—but are looking to pursue and progress complex goals, to which conventional methods fall short. In other words: it's not for those looking for a quick fix of motivation.
The Pioneering Strategy Masterclass
A precursor to enduring relevance
I’ve come to realise that many folks have never been shown how to do strategy—it’s something they’ve picked up haphazardly. Or—if they have been taught—their version of strategy is more akin to planning. This might be fine for a complicated and predictable world—but it’s woefully limited for pioneering in a complex and unpredictable world.
Likewise, some of the more progressive leaders positively invite the opportunity to have their thinking challenged, and to court new and refreshing ways of doing things. Either way, my Pioneering Strategy Masterclass is most apt.
It serves three purposes:
01 / To demonstrate foundational and contemporary frameworks for strategic thinking.
02 / To provide individuals and teams the opportunity to use these frameworks to enrich their own strategy.
03 / To offer a succinct toolkit for future strategic provocations.
This masterclass is perfect if:
- You’re rather fed up with the ‘same-same’ default thinking and predictable banality that pervades much of what (and how) your team works, and want to freshen things up (immensely).
- You want your team to be more thoughtful, curious and considered in the work they do.
- You want your team to play an active part in developing and ‘owning’ the strategy of their work (rather than containing strategy in an isolated team or discrete silo).
- You want your team to be effective at leading safe micro-experiments to inform and enrich strategic decision making and build momentum.
- You want to move strategy beyond a stale and rigid process, so as to be able to best capitalise on emergent opportunities with agility (and to respond to emergent threats in a responsive and deftly manner).
- You want to have strategic thinking baked into your working rhythms, to ensure that your collective efforts are constantly moving you toward future relevance.
Note: While my masterclasses are just as much about facilitation as they are ‘training’ (if not more so), the Pioneering Strategy Masterclass is not me coming in to do your ‘strategic planning’ for you. But, at the same time, the frameworks and lenses I introduce you and your team are wondrous, timely and relevant for any discussions related to strategic innovation. Therefore, this masterclass is the perfect inclusion to any leadership or strategy offsite. Should we wish to venture further, we can consider a more comprehensive program of work.
The Pioneering Leadership Masterclass
Venture beyond the default
Preamble: Any leadership team ought to have a healthy level of focus on operational excellence. is is the leadership that brings us efficiency, reliability and continuous improvement—wondrous things for a stable and predictable world. Alas: our world is anything but.
And so, while operational leadership is essential if we are to survive—pioneering leadership is what we need if we are to thrive. And this means having a leadership team willing and able to venture beyond their own (safe, familiar, comfortable, predictable) defaults—and deeper into a storm of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
This masterclass will be the provocation your leadership team needs to do so. If you feel that your collective philosophy might not be quite up to speed with the new world we’re moving into—or if you wish to keep your collective axes sharp—this immersion will give your team the update and refresh it needs.
Collectively, we will review and refresh:
- Your team’s Sense of The Emerging Context—our shift to the Conceptual Age, and the role of Responsive Organisations amidst a volatile sea of uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.
- Your Enterprise Operating Model—a worthy overview of the how and why of your work (and a diagnostic for leadership opportunities).
- Your Leadership Philosophy—an opportunity to move beyond the safe drudgery of pithiness, so as to evoke leadership values that are compelling, real and relatable. Plus: an exploration on what to do if (when) these values are violated).
Your Leadership Principles & Keystone Behaviours—wherein we ask: what does this leadership team want to be famous for? And what does this mean in terms of our shared principles and what does this look like in terms of measurable behaviours? An awkward, revealing and ultimately satisfying translation of shared intent into something tangible and mighty.
Plus: Signals & Momentum—how to translate refreshed intent into meaningful progress.