Session C - Pre-Conference Session
Creativity, Conflict, and Courage
Presented by Bob Dickman and Ken McLeod

Description: One of the most effective ways to bring about lasting change in a group, an organization, or the world is to help people become more effective in the way they meet and handle conflict. This workshop offers a unique approach to conflict through the combination of the elements of story-making and the stages of conflict. Participants will have the opportunity to work on a conflict situation in their own experience, employing the frameworks and approaches presented in the workshop and a dynamic interaction with other participants. The workshop is highly interactive and experiential — proven techniques for effective learning. We see conflict as an aspect of life to be engaged, not feared, as an opportunity to discover new possibilities, not shut down options, and as a way to move forward, not cling to the past.

Target Audience: Middle to senior level managers or educators who are routinely faced with complex issues they need to resolve, preferably through clear and succinct communicating of the essence of an issue, how it affects people, and possible strategies for resolution.

Organizational Issues: Conflict management and conflict resolution, effective presentation, how to exert constructive influence on individuals and groups

Objectives: Participants will learn how to shift conflict from opposition to problem solving, transform their perception of a challenge in their work or personal life by applying the elements of story making, use the stages of conflict to analyze and develop strategies for this challenge, and discover a capacity for courage in their ability to see clearly. In our culture, and in the world at large, a prevailing myth is that conflict is a bad thing, something that good people should be able to avoid. The result is that good people often don’t have the skills or resources to engage conflict and that bad people are only too happy to do so because they can often get what they want simply by creating discord. Our feeling is that the world will be a better place when people with integrity and a sense for the common good have the tools, skills and internal resources to bring about results that are good for all, rather than good for the few.

Date: Thursday, April 15th

Length: 3 hours (9:00-12:00pm)

Location: Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne - 6633 Canoga Avenue, Canoga Park

Cost: None

Handouts: Available for download after the Forum

Bob Dickman
Biography: Bob Dickman is known as a mirror for hirer. He holds up a mirror to leaders who are unafraid to look at themselves as a way to improve their communication and leadership skills. Collaborating with senior management teams, he has coached in and developed workshops for clients at The United States Naval Post Graduate School, Ford Motor Company, California Academy of Science, and Aramark among others.

Bob's seminar “Story as leadership Story as strategy” has been conducted throughout the U.S. at clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to rapidly expanding small business enterprises.  As a thought leader in the field of narrative communication, he writes often including his recent book, The Elements of Persuasion, published by HarperCollins, which he co-authored with Richard Maxwell. The book was nominated as one of the top business books of 2007 and had been translated into fifteen languages. He has also written articles for The Systems Thinking Journal and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Reflections Journal

Bob holds a B.A. from Goddard College and is a graduate of the Hudson Institute’s program in organizational coaching and is certified as a coach by The International Coaching Federation. He is a member of the Society for Organizational Learning’s community of coaching practitioners. He brings a unique, entertaining and pragmatic perspective to how leaders can create and successfully communicate new ideas.  Discussing his skill at getting great performances out of even the most difficult talent and helping prepare writers and directors for the pressure of press tours two-times Academy Award Winner Gene Hackman said, “Bob is a powerful and intuitive coach. If you want to change fast, work with him.”    

Contact: Bob can be reached by e-mail at for additional information about this pre-conference session.


Ken McLeod

Ken McLeod is a management consultant and executive coach who combines an extensive background in Eastern thought and philosophy with practical experience in applying these principles in American culture.

Ken has a graduate degree in mathematics from University of British Columbia (Canada), more than twenty years intensive training in Eastern disciplines (including meditation and martial arts), and over twenty years teaching and consulting experience.

Classically trained in the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism, Ken became one of the most innovative teachers of Buddhism today. Known for his ability to explain difficult and subtle teachings, "he distills the nature and purpose of Buddhism to make it accessible for any newcomer without dumbing it down." (Phil Catalfo, Yoga Journal, July 2001 in a review of Ken's first book Wake up to Your Life).

Ken's private practice model of one-on-one consultations roiled the Buddhist world in the '90s but was soon widely adopted as an innovative approach to bringing the wisdom of ancient traditions to contemporary seekers. Through his private practice, Ken worked with a broad range of executives and professionals. The move to executive coaching and consulting came naturally. He emphasizes the use of systems thinking to create individual and organizational dynamics that naturally generate productive interactions.

Ken has an ability to formulate problems and issues in such a way that individuals and groups see for themselves how to resolve them with their own resources. He also shows people how to generate effective strategies by working with both the external situation and their internal emotional reactions to it. And he establishes an atmosphere in which people discuss and address problems and differences constructively.

He is a member of both Provisors and PCMA (Professional Coaching and Mentors Association).

Clients include Volvo Design Center, ReadyPac, HBO, The Getty Trust, TimeWarner, Warner Bros., and NetSeer.

Contact: Ken can be reached by e-mail at for additional information about this pre-conference session.


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