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The  Performance thinking® Summer Institute

Sorry to say that our 11th Annual Summer Institute, scheduled for 2021, will not be happening this year because even our most loyal participants are prevented from travel or joining in groups of more than 10 people or have had their travel or development budgets zero'd out for 2021.  But we're already planning for June 2022, dates to be announced soon.

More Design Thinking, Executive Coaching, and more...

Bainbridge Island, WA USA  – June, 2022

Check out comments from previous years' participants here.

Surya Vanka, of Authentic Design, will join us again at the Summer Institute, this time exploring Inclusive Design, his most recent innovation, and how that can align with the Performance Thinking approach to organizational culture.  We're continuing our groundbreaking 2019 collaboration, exploring synergies between Design Thinking and Performance Improvement, adding new topics and mini workshops to our agenda, which is still emerging as we reflect on the most exciting developments over the last two years of our work.  We'll highlight work in Executive Coaching, Sales Enablement, Behavioral Health/ABA, Re-Imagining Public Safety, and the work we've begun with HR Business Partners. We'll go into topics such as Culture Change, Communities of Practice,  Sustainment of Performance, and the meaning of Leadership vs. Management.

For those new to Performance Thinking, we will again offer The Performance Thinking® Coach program. And for experienced Performance Thinkers, we'll devote Monday to our almost-ready-for-prime-time Executive Performance Coaching process. 

Here is a list of the sessions we plan to offer, with ongoing refinement that will occur over the next month or two.

We invite performance professionals at all levels of experience, including those new to the Performance Thinking models and tools, as well as very experienced users.  The agenda will include opportunities to learn,  practice, and discuss.  We do it all in a stunning location tucked into the woods on an island in Puget Sound, a beautiful ferry boat ride from downtown Seattle. Some of our colleagues have returned 8 or 9 years out of 10!  And some come early or stay late to enjoy Seattle and the region.

It’s unlike any professional gathering you’ve ever experienced.

The Summer Institute offers a unique opportunity to learn and network with like-minded professionals. There is plenty of time and a relaxed setting to reflect on new ideas and their applications.  It's a blend of user conference, hands-on workshop, and professional retreat in a venue perfectly suited for the purpose, at a beautiful time of year in the Pacific Northwest.

We invite everyone to share questions, insights, experiences, and discoveries.  Performance Thinking programs and tools rely on two simple models and a plain English vocabulary to let people from many  disciplines, industries, and roles communicate effectively and precisely about human performance, and take steps to continuously improve it.  (The only prerequisite is to hold back our professional or industry jargon and speak in plain English.) 

As our global community, we learn with and from one another.

You'll also learn about Performance Thinking programs –  the Coach-Manage-Lead family, the Practitioner Program for staff professionals and consultants, and our emerging Executive Performance Coaching, Performance Thinking for HR Business PartnersSales Enablement, and more.  In various combinations, these programs have the potential to engage everyone at your organization in actionable discussions about accelerating productivity and engagement.  You'll see how everyone can contribute to continuous performance improvement.

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We all share a passion for performance improvement. We design the agenda to address your needs and interests – whatever your level or function. There will be others who have faced the same challenges. And this year we'll continue our exploration of synergies between Design Thinking and Performance Improvement for disruptive innovation on demand and implementation for sustainment.

We keep the group small enough so you can get to know almost everyone, yet large enough to include a diversity of perspectives and experience. We promise to send you home with new ideas, new capabilities, and a group of new colleagues. 

One of the more nerdy (but fun) things is that we encourage people to write down new or important ideas they pick up at the Institute. Last year, one person had over 150 new and important ideas by the end – definitely an all-time record!

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, with 255 acres of forest and miles of trails for hiking, strolling, or running. The food is fresh and delicious! We strive to create an environment where you can learn and interact more deeply, in a focused and relaxed way.
IslandWood and The Performance Thinking Network take the health and safety of staff and guests seriously, and follow the guidance of the CDC and Washington State Department of Health when it comes to COVID-19.   We are confident, barring unforeseen events,  that by September it will be safe for vaccinated people to travel and gather together.

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; I 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

Option 1: Summer Institute  +  The Performance Thinking® Coach  

(Monday through Thursday – Required for those new to Performance Thinking®)

This option includes The Performance Thinking® Coach program (formerly Six Boxes® Performance Coaching). It is the required option for those who have not completed any other Performance Thinking® program, and introduces the models and logic of Performance Thinking® as a prerequisite for participating fully in sessions with those who have previously completed one or more of our programs. It teaches a flexible, accomplishment-based coaching process that anyone can use to help others continuously improve their performance. Experienced Performance Thinkers who want to learn performance coaching or sample this program for possible adoption at their organizations might also choose this option.

You'll  participate in this program all day on Monday and in the mornings on Tuesday and Wednesday, joining the whole group Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings, and all day Thursday.

Option 2: Summer Institute + Executive Performance Coaching 

(Monday through Thursday)

For those who have previously completed one of our Performance Thinking® programs, we're offering an introduction to our new Performance Thinking® Executive Coach process. This fresh approach to executive coaching applies the tools and models of Performance Thinking® to help senior leaders set priorities, delegate, examine the impact of their performance on teams and processes in their organizations, and make smart decisions for continuous development. It offers additional tools for existing executive coaches and can enhance performance consulting while driving Performance Thinking® from the top down in an organization.  You'll participate in this program on Monday, have sessions with other experienced Performance Thinkers on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, and join all participants on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings, and all day Thursday.

We'll have detailed program information in the coming weeks, as the details emerge from meetings and further design conversations with contributors.


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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 + The Performance Thinking® Coach  (4 days) 

$2,750 per person before Aug 15, 2021           $3,250 per person after Aug 15, 2021

Option 2: Summer Institute + Executive Performance Coaching (4 days)

$2,750 per person before Aug 15, 2021           $3,250 per person after Aug 15, 2021

If you are a non-profit or a small organization, please contact us about discounted pricing. We have a few discounted seats available for colleagues who would otherwise not be able to participate.
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Single room                  $160 per person per night
Shared double room   $95 per person per night
Shared triple room      $65 per person 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 Aug 15, 2021. Please note that we have a limited number of  rooms available so we recommend registering early.

After September 5, you will not be able to register online.

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


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