Six Boxes Performance Thinking Summer Institute 2013 Banner Image

2013 Six Boxes Performance Thinking Summer Institute

Bainbridge Island, WA        June 17-20          REGISTER

The 4th Annual Six Boxes® Summer Institute will gather experts, beginners, and newcomers on Bainbridge Island to explore how Six Boxes Performance Thinking can make a difference. It’s a combined user conference, extended workshop, and professional retreat. You'll have opportunities to roll up your sleeves and practice using the tools, to go deeper into applications and case studies, and to hear what others are doing and thinking. This year we’re planning to have more thinking and more doing than ever before, during and between sessions. We want to engage you more deeply in thinking about performance, from all angles, and discovering how you can do more to improve it.

The Institute brings together professionals from many industries and many roles, but it all works. We keep it small enough where you'll feel that you know almost everyone there when you leave, but big enough to include a diversity of thoughts and inputs. Our venue is Islandwood, an outdoor educational facility set deep in the forest on an island a short ferry ride from Seattle, with an atmosphere that supports relaxation, focus and reflection. As one participant said with a smile about last year, “I just want to live in the bubble.” It’s an unusual professional opportunity.

Whether your interest is as broad as strategic planning or as focused as peer coaching; whether you’re a people manager or a performance professional; whether you come for one day or all four, the Six Boxes Summer Institute will send you home with new ideas, new capabilities, and a list of new colleagues.

"An excellent mix of seasoned and 'just learning' practitioners sharing ideas and learning together. Well worth the week!"     (a 2011 participant)

You'll find below:

 Program description

We start the week with our Introduction to Performance Thinking workshop on Monday for those who have never attended one of our programs. The full Institute kicks-off with dinner Monday evening and all participants should plan to attend. Sessions will end on Thursday at approximately 2:00 pm. Download an abbreviated version of the event program here.

Sunday June 16, 2013

Check-in begins at 3:00 pm Sunday for those attending the workshop on Monday. For those who arrive by 6:30 pm, we invite you to join us for an informal dinner in the dining room.

Monday June 17, 2013 

Introduction to Performance Thinking

Carl Binder

This is our basic “performance literacy” workshop for those new to the Six Boxes® Approach, the foundation for all our other programs. Participants explore our two core models and performance improvement logic through interaction and dialog, focusing on implications for their area of interest and work. If you have never attended, the workshop is a prerequisite for the rest of the week. If you have attended this workshop and would like a refresher, you may join in the discussion and attend for a significantly discounted rate.

Welcome and Opening Session

Our opening reception will introduce you to the wonderful food at Islandwood and the other attendees.  After dinner together, Tonya Peck and Alex Dunne of Locomotive Partners will help us complete the introductions, identify areas of shared interest, and envision what we collectively want to accomplish at the institute.

Tuesday June 18, 2013      

State of the Network 2013

Carl Binder

What is the Performance Thinking Network and how is it evolving? We’ll look back and look forward, share the vision and talk about where you can get involved.       

Clarifying Expectations with a Customer Diagram

Carl Binder & Cynthia Riha

The Customer Diagram is one of our most used tools for understanding roles and clarifying performance expectations. But it’s not always easy to get started. We’ll use the more experienced folks in the room to mentor those new to the tool as you create or update your own Customer Diagram, identify priorities, and target areas for your own development.      

Iterative Box 1 Leadership: A Personal Journey

Bob Reticker, Insperity

Do you ever wonder if you’re providing enough clarity when you delegate a project or start an organizational initiative?  Bob will discuss his own experiences in his role leading a Performance Improvement team.  He’ll share stories of his own personal angst, the frustration he has caused members of his staff, and how he and his staff have come to value the iterative journey to clarity and innovative solutions.

Peer Coaching with the Six Boxes’ ABC Process

Cynthia Riha & Carl Binder

With the help of our resident mentors again, we’ll show you how to create a plan to improve an output using the simple A-B-C process and peer coaching. We’ll provide a job aid and a worksheet to guide you through the process.

Special Interest Discussion Groups

These break-out groups will be facilitated by experienced Six Boxes Practitioners with special interest in the discussion topics. The topics will be defined by the full group on Monday evening and may informally continue throughout the Institute. The purpose will be to share suggestions and strategies, connect with people with similar challenges and interests, and capture key ideas to share with the larger group at the end of the week.

Can We De-Mystify “Natural Consequences”?

Cynthia Riha

The holy grail of incentives and motivation is an employee for whom the work itself is fulfilling and reinforcing. So how do you help foster this as a manager or leader? Cynthia will explore ways to collaborate with employees to increase the frequency of natural positive consequences and suggest some specific tactics you can use with yourself and others.

Fireside Chat: Project-based Interventions vs. Continuous Crowd-Sourced Performance Improvement

Mary Alida Brisk, Seattle Children’s Hospital

Most of us have been involved in projects aimed at improving performance in organizations. With the growth of Lean and other team-focused continuous improvement methodologies, a model is emerging in which performers themselves routinely identify opportunities, brainstorm, and implement potential improvement strategies from day to day. Six Boxes Performance Thinking can be applied in either context, and we think has tremendous potential as a "language" for the crowd-sourcing approach. Mary Alida Brisk has been a project-based performance consultant - both external and internal -  but is now exploring a new vision at Seattle Children’s Hospital that involves the continuous improvement, crowd-sourcing approach. She'll share her thoughts about these options, and possible hybrids based on them, to stimulate discussion in an informal, after-dinner gathering.


Wednesday June 19, 2013  

Nuggets from the Science of Behavior

Carl Binder

At the Performance Thinking Network we say that we're  "committed to the practical application of behavior science."   But in making that science accessible to non-experts, we don't always dig into the fascinating details. In this session, Dr. Carl Binder, our Co-Founder who studied with B.F. Skinner, the originator of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, talks about some of the key findings and principles from that science that relate to your own and others' every day behavior. Not geeky formulas or abstractions, these nuggets are well-understood patterns of interaction between behavior and the environment that can inform our understanding and improvement of performance and life in general.  Increasing your awareness of them, and having the chance to talk with colleagues in our informal setting about the ideas that pique your interest, should bring the science that underlies Six Boxes® Performance Thinking to life.

Performance Improvement Logic: Case Study Application

Carl Binder

The Performance Improvement Logic is how we “think” through a project. It’s the road map that guides all performance thinking, as we teach it.  In this session, you’ll work in teams to plan a project using a case study we’ll provide. You’ll have multiple rounds of information to adjust your planning, and experienced practitioners on the team to guide newcomers.

Ten Unusual Ways to Use the Tools

Donnie Staff, Optimal

Donnie is one of our most creative Affiliates, who uses  our Performance Thinking programs and tools in all sorts of innovative ways to help his clients. We've asked him to share some of his applications to get your brains cranking on how you might leverage  his ideas or come up with some of your own.

Performance Consulting Symposium

Chaired by Carl, our panel will discuss their challenges and successes in building a performance consulting practice, either internal or external to an organization. Each panelist will do a short presentation on their use of Six Boxes Performance Thinking followed by questions and discussion with the audience.

Leadership & Management: Wherever the Twain Shall Meet

Cynthia Riha

Are Performance Thinking tools and logic best for managers who manage people? Can this approach be used by executives and leaders with an organization-wide scope? We’ll help distinguish between leadership and management, what work outputs they each produce, and how performance thinking can adapt to help at any level of the organization.

Six Boxes Leadership, Management and Coaching

Carl Binder & Gordy Anderson, Box One Solutions

This session traces the evolution of Six Boxes programs for those who lead and manage other people, from our initial Six Boxes® Management Development program licensed and implemented by Syniverse Technologies and Optimal, through versions customized for executive teams in the US and Korea, Six Boxes Performance Coaching piloted at last year's Summer Institute, and our newest prototype for supervisors in Lean process improvement environments.  A modular program architecture is emerging, configurable for a range of different types of organizations, roles, desired outcomes, and implementation plans.  Gordy Anderson will discuss the newest prototype, Performance Management for Supervisors with The Six Boxes® Approach, and we'll encourage feedback and discussion with the audience to help move our thinking about leadership and management development forward.

What I Know About Leadership I Learned From My Mom and Dad

Amos Benning, Simple Performance

Born to sharecroppers in Georgia, Amos was not raised with models of corporate leadership. Yet through his parents he learned key principles of life that led him to a successful career in sales management at Xerox. Realizing that everyone can shape their own destiny, he led his teams based on the belief that everyone can perform beyond their current level. He’ll speak to the challenges and opportunities leaders face when trying to move the performance needle.

Thursday June 20, 2013  

Process Improvement Specialists Working with  the Six Boxes Approach on a High Stakes Project

Randy Selis, Amgen & Carl Binder

In this session, Carl will provide an overview of how the Six Boxes Approach can address human performance in processes, and describe how he was asked  to work on a high stakes project with an internal process improvement team at Amgen. Randy Selis, Manager in the Business Performance Group at Amgen, will describe his experience and observations about the project and how each team applied their own methodologies, highlighting points of connection along the way, to identify opportunities for improvement and recommend interventions to senior executive stakeholders. 

Implementation Planning: How Are You Going to Ensure impact?

Carl Binder

Everyone leaves the Summer Institute anxious to try things back home. This year we’re going to combine an overview of how to do implementation planning using the Six Boxes Approach with an exercise on how to get started when you return to work. Along with learning the process and seeing some examples, you’ll get to try it out with your own goals.

Closing Session:  Pulling It All Together

Did the Summer Institute meet the goals you described Monday evening? We’ll check in on where we started, compare what we learned and what we still want to know, share ideas on what we’ll do with the new ideas, and probably exchange a lot of business cards.

Optional: Evening Dinner Sail on Puget Sound

Given that many people stay in Seattle Thursday evening and fly out early Friday, we are arranging for a chartered sail trip on Puget Sound in the late afternoon into the early evening. A light dinner and assortment of beverages will be served. It's a wonderful time of the year to be out, especially with summer solstice and very late hours of daylight.

In Addition....

Every day will include optional time enjoying the environment with a structured program (a guided nature walk, touring the sustainable facilities, an edible exploration of the kitchen gardens, etc.). In the evenings after dinner we either have a guest speaker for an informal chat around the fireplace, take an evening hike, or kick back around the fire pit. Rumor has it Donnie Staff might teach us some hand-drumming this year...

"The setting is ideal for reflection, learning, and renewal. I look forward to attending next year for my third year in a row!"    (a 2012 participant)

Logistics & Costs

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Islandwood Educational Center

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

Accommodations & Meals

A full day at the institute starts about 8:00 am and ends after the evening program, about 9:00 pm. The program cost includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and beverages. Lodging is provided in simple but comfortable rooms with a private bath.

Program Costs

Early registration discount until May 10

Introduction to Performance Thinking
Monday June 17
$500  ($600 after May 10)

Introduction to Performance Thinking Refresher
Monday June 17

Summer Institute General Program
Monday June 17 5:00 pm - Thursday June 20 2:00 pm
$1450   ($1700 after May 10)


Download an event flyer with details.


Single room   $150/day
Shared double room   $85/day per person

Evening Dinner Sail

$125 per person for 3 hour sail on a private boat with dinner

 "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."
(a 2011 participant)



Registration is now open. The deadline for the early registration discount, whether you are planning to attend for one day or all four, is May 10, 2013. Please note that we have a limited number of single rooms available so we recommend registering early.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please call 206-866-1261 or email us

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