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Six Boxes Performance Thinking Summer Institute 2018 Banner Image

2018  Six Boxes Summer Institute

Bainbridge Island, WA        June 17 - 21,  2018                 

We're getting  excited about our 9th Annual Six Boxes® Summer Institute. We're fine-tuning program details based on speakers, current topics and trends in our work, and recent developments. The program listing below, while not complete in detail, should give you plenty of information to see why we're so excited. It's going to be a really good one!

Our 2018 theme of Performance Thinking Across the Enterprise will emphasize how the plain English language and models of Performance Thinking® programs allow people at any level or any function to contribute to continuous performance improvement.  We'll illustrate with case examples how the ease with which people learn to think and communicate about performance using Six Boxes Performance Thinking enables this approach to spread like a virus. And we'll discuss practical strategies for accelerating and expanding Performance Thinking across different types of organizations.


If you're looking for a chance to learn and network with like-minded professionals, with the time and relaxed setting to reflect on new ideas and their implications, this is for you.  The Six Boxes Summer Institute is a unique blend of user conference, hands-on workshop and professional retreat. We bring together performance professionals with all levels of experience, some new to Performance Thinking and some very experienced, then we build an agenda with opportunities to learn, to practice, to question and discuss, and we do it all in a beautiful location tucked into the woods on an island in the Puget Sound. It’s unlike any event you’ve been to.

We're happy that we have not raised our prices in 2018 to keep up with the usual increases in our costs. This is our commitment to the value of this  gathering of really great people at a very special location, every year. We want to make it as available as we can to our colleagues and long-time users – some of whom have come for 6, 7 or 8 years!

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The Summer Institute brings together individuals from many roles, many industries, and often diverse countries, but everyone shares a passion for performance improvement. Whether your interest is as broad as strategic planning or as focused as peer coaching, whether you’re a team leader or an HR executive, whether you’re an internal or external consultant, the program will address your needs and interests. There will be plenty of others who have faced the same challenges. We keep the institute small enough so you can get to know almost everyone, but big enough to include a diversity of perspective and experience. We promise to send you home with new ideas, new capabilities, and a list of new colleagues.

Resource > IWentrance.jpg by:Our venue is Islandwood, an outdoor educational facility on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle, WA. The facilities are rustic but comfortable (yes, there's wifi), the food is fresh and delicious, and the 255 acres of forest offer miles of trails for hiking, strolling, or running. We strive to create an environment where you can learn and interact more deeply, in a focused and relaxed way.

Here’s what a few participants from years past had to say:

"The Summer Institute was the best conference or seminar type of learning opportunity that I have ever attended."

"Amazing experience. Fun, educational, universal approach that you can apply to most situations and environments. Very engaging - learned a lot."

"A great environment to learn about, discuss and explore the applications of the Performance Thinking-Six Boxes approach. Good balance between thought leadership and application. Small enough so that you don't feel like "just another conference participant."  Truly have an opportunity to engage with Dr. Binder and other thought leaders, and thought provoking conversations with other participants. All in a great atmosphere - peaceful, quiet, away from the busyness of the city/work, with great food and accommodations."

"The networking was incredible and the learning never stopped!"

"Well designed content and presentations by the developers of the models; incredibly smart participants from diverse backgrounds who are inspired to contribute with their own examples, experiences, questions and insights."

You'll find below:

Program: Two Ways to Participate

We're again offering two ways to participate, one for those new to Performance Thinking and one for experienced users. We aren’t calling them tracks because you will at times be together and at other times be in separate sessions. This will allow those who have never completed one of our programs to acquire a practical capability — coaching with the Six Boxes Approach — while learning the basics of Performance Thinking.  Those with experience will have opportunities to learn advanced applications with and from each other.

Option 1: Summer Institute + Six Boxes® Performance Coaching  

(Monday through Thursday)

The easiest on-ramp to Performance Thinking is learning to have a performance coaching conversation with another individual. This program will break down the elements of the approach in a simple but comprehensive way, and then show you how to conduct a conversation about performance leading to agreed-upon action steps for improvement. This program is equally valuable for leaders and managers or performance professionals working with clients and stakeholders, while providing a solid foundation for other applications of Six Boxes Performance Thinking.

We’ll spread the workshop over 3 days, starting with a full day on Monday, then work Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Afternoons and Thursday will be in combined sessions with experienced participants where you’ll have the opportunity to practice with them and be mentored. This path is required if you have not already completed either the Six Boxes® Practitioner Program or one of our programs for leaders and managers. Experienced users who are considering Six Boxes Performance Coaching for their companies, or who would like to learn the application for themselves, are free to register for the program as well (please contact us if you're interested).

Option 2: Summer Institute with Special Topics

(Monday evening through Thursday)

For experienced users who have completed either the Six Boxes Practitioner Program or one of our Coach-Manage-Lead programs, we've organized a 2-day series of sessions on selected topics to explore applications in greater depth, share client stories and insights, and learn from one another based on our diversity of experience and roles.  In the afternoons, the full group will convene, with more experienced participants  having the opportunity to share what they have learned, mentor and coach those encountering the Six Boxes Performance Thinking for the first time.  


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General Sessions – 2018 Summer Institute

Here is a preliminary list of presentations and workshops planned for 2018, in addition to the Six Boxes Performance Coaching program.  We'll add to and refine the list over the coming months, but this should give you a good sense of the overall program.

Continuous Performance Improvement Across the Enterprise

Imagine if talent development and performance improvement could be built into your organization at all levels, and with active participation from all functions. Introducing the theme for this year's Summer Institute, this session will lay out the rapidly emerging vision for driving continuous performance improvement – and continuous talent development – across whole organizations in a more agile way than in the past. We'll discuss how performance professionals, leaders, managers, and individual contributors can work together for continuous improvement.

Client Stories

Would you like to know how the plain English and simple models of Performance Thinking have had an impact on organizations over time?  Some of the stories are quite remarkable, with impacts well beyond specific projects, initiatives and results. We'll have a series of sessions sharing client stories with the group. Some organizations have been using Performance Thinking® programs for 5 years or more. The evolution, diffusion, and deepening of collaborative performance improvement take many forms and variations in organizations that adopt this approach.  We'll hear about them in a series of presentations by participants.

Nobody Wants to Be the Denominator! 

Let's talk about how to focus everyone on the value they and their team members deliver to the organization. Tom Gilbert told us that the worth (or ROI) of an intervention to improve performance is equal to the value of improved or added accomplishments, or work outputs, divided by the cost to produce the behavior. We seek to optimize value for the best cost.  We want to be sure that as performance professionals, leaders, or managers we're not just adding to the denominator (cost).  We want to add very substantially to the numerator – the value that people contribute to their organizations and to society.  We'll try to draw everyone into this conversation.

Agile Talent Development Through Leaders & Managers 

Current leading edge Human Resources leaders talk about talent development that keeps up with the pace of change in 21st century organizations. A recent issue of Harvard Business Review had a compelling article on this topic.  A recurring theme in our work is the potential for empowering leaders and managers with Performance Thinking tools and processes so they can become agents of continuous performance improvement.  In the current environment, where HR is being asked to be agile along with other parts of the enterprise, our accomplishment based approach to coaching, management and leadership is ahead of the curve because it focuses on the valuable accomplishments of people, not just their behavior or competencies. We'll discuss steps that organizations can take in this direction, and facilitate open discussion about the state of HR and talent development in participants' organizations.

Been there – Done that!

How can the models and logic of Six Boxes Performance Thinking affect you as a professional? Our colleague, Bob Reticker, who will be teaching Six Boxes® Performance Coaching again this year, is a seasoned performance thinker.  He's a performance consultant who has certified and managed many Six Boxes Practitioners, taught and coached participants in our Coach-Manage-Lead programs, and worked with a wide range of client organizations.  Bob will share his experience with Performance Thinking programs and processes across a range of different settings and situations. This will be fun!

Accelerating Sales Performance with Six Boxes Performance Thinking

Sales enablement is huge opportunity to accelerate results using the tools of Performance Thinking. In fact, many of the tools and strategies we teach came from work with Fortune 500 sales organizations, especially during new product launches where rapid performance ramp-up is a competitive advantage. Carl Binder  worked with global marketing and sales organizations for decades, most intensely during the 90's in the Boston based consulting firm that he co-founded, Product Knowledge Systems, Inc.  Since then, work with demonstration projects within client organizations and coaching sales application projects, he's produced a flexible template for applying Performance Thinking models and tools to design and improve sales performance systems. He'll share elements of this approach and seek input from those in the group who has been involved with sales training, management, and coaching.

Performance Measurement: How do YOU do it?  

Everybody wants to measure impact and make data-based decisions. But we don't always do it very well,  do we?  We have a  guide in the Performance Chain model for deciding what to measure. But let's learn what our colleagues are measuring now, and how.  So here is a request for you:  Please identify examples that you can share of measured results and ongoing monitoring of impact. Whether as leaders/managers or as performance professionals, the more examples we can share, the more ideas we will each take away. If you have reports or graphs to share, put them into PowerPoint to make the sharing quick and easy.

What Do Executives Like About Performance Thinking?

Senior leaders support performance improvement for different reasons. How deeply the Performance Thinking culture penetrates and enlivens an organization depends to a significant degree on their priorities and engagement. We'll have descriptions from different executives in different organizations reflecting the value they see in Performance Thinking programs and processes, and the impact they have had. This will provide insights about how to introduce performance improvement to senior leaders, and how they view the potential upside of adopting Performance Thinking in an organization.

Accomplishment Based Job Descriptions

Can we please get beyond the abstractions and subjectivity of competency modeling!  But how?  A number of our client organizations have begun to create job descriptions that include lists of major accomplishments, or work outputs, and criteria for each. We'll share  examples and talk about how this approach can create a great foundation for a more agile talent development and performance management process, from initial hiring through continuous improvement. We think adding accomplishments to job titles can enable HR, leaders and managers to develop and manage talent in ways that better adapt to changing business conditions. This will be a good discussion about both barriers and opportunities.

How Do You Assess and Develop Leaders & Managers?

As someone responsible for developing leaders, or as a leader yourself, how do you decide on priorities for development? Organizations seeking to develop great leaders and managers have many ways to define exemplary performance and create development goals for existing or potential leaders and managers. We'll pull out the Six Boxes® Exemplary Leadership & Management Model and discuss how participants' organizations might integrate it into development for leaders and managers.  We'll talk about how one can fit the model into programs for high potential leaders, and ways to extend Performance Thinking models and logic into succession planning.

Six Boxes® Executive Performance Coaching!

We have what we think is a very cool thing to share with you, and for which to get our feedback. Six Boxes® Executive Performance Coaching a new and unique form of executive coaching that has emerged over the last few years. We'll discuss how this process is emerging and what we have learned so far.  We'll describe how to help executives gain greater clarity about the value they deliver to their organizations, enabling them to better prioritize their own time and resources.  We'll also consider how this form of coaching can help identify opportunities for improving the performance of the teams, processes, and organizations that they lead. This will be a preview for a planned new certification program that we expect to roll out later this year.

Performance Thinking Affiliates: What does it take?

As a consultant or leader of a consulting firm, how can you leverage Performance Thinking programs as part of your offering to clients?  We not only certify people inside of client organizations, we also selectively certify external consultants to deliver our programs as part of their overall service to clients. We are now moving to a  phase in which we will be selectively seeking Affiliate relationships. As part of that effort, we want to discuss aspects of what we think are required to be a successful Performance Thinking Affiliate.  And we'll seek input and feedback from those at the Summer Institute to help us better plan and execute our Affiliate program.

Tidbits from Behavior Science

Carl will repeat his annual dive into findings and applications of behavior science that we don’t usually discuss in Performance Thinking programs. We'll have to see what he comes up with this year!

State of the Network 

We’ll summarize where we have been over the last year and where we are going.  The goal of this session is to build enthusiasm and engage participation in the next steps, as we enlarge and extend the impact of The Performance Thinking Network, which potentially includes everyone attending the Summer Institute.

And that is just highlights...


Logistics & Costs


Islandwood Educational Center
Bainbridge Island, WA
(a 35-minute ferry from downtown Seattle)

Accommodations & Meals

The Summer Institute is a residential program. The program cost includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and beverages. Meals are healthy and delicious (you will rave about the food, we guarantee it), and include vegetables from their organic garden. They gladly accommodate any adjustment you might request (vegetarian, non-gluten, non-dairy, etc.) Lodging is provided in simple but comfortable rooms with a private bath. 

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Program Costs

Option 1: Summer Institute + Six Boxes Performance Coaching  (4 days) 

$2950 after May 15

Option 2: Summer Institute with Special Topics  (3 Days)  

$2250 after May 15

If you are a non-profit or a small organization, please contact us about discounted pricing. We have limited spaces available for select clients.

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Single room    $155 per night
Shared double room   $90 per night
Shared triple room   $60 per night

 "I stay at hotels far too often and prefer something a bit different. IslandWood met this criteria perfectly. Food was healthy and delicious. Staff was friendly and welcoming. I was able to get outside to run, walk, and enjoy nature."


The deadline for the early registration discount will be May 15. Please note that we have a limited number of  rooms available so we recommend registering early.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please call 206-780-8578 . 

register SOON!

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