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Programs & Courses

WorkingSmarts offers a number of cutting-edge, results-focused, customizable programs.  The following is a collection of some of our most popular offerings:



The Brain-Friendly Workplace 

Disengagement in American workers tops 70%! We’re burned out, unhealthy, and unproductive. What’s going on at work?

Many organizations inadvertently reinforce distrust, threat, high turnover, low tolerance for change, and weak performance.

Discover the research-based explanations for this state of affairs, and hear turnaround suggestions that you can use tomorrow!

Hear how a few simple secrets borrowed from neuroscience can be absolute game-changers when applied to the workplace.

Learn to use the “PICTuRe” model to decipher how basic human needs impact behavior.

What you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s no wonder staff and managers have a challenging time communicating directly
  • How we innately distrust anyone new to our team and how to combat this hard-wired reaction
  • Why it is that mixed messages are so common, what havoc they wreak on morale, and how to amend this
  • How to vastly improve attention and focus at work, to see organizational performance catapult
  • Where huge productivity sinks lurk at work, and how a little “brain hygiene” can make a world of difference

Available formats: in-person/virtual, keynote/breakout/workshop/management retreat

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Organizational change initiatives fail to reach their intended goals more than 66% of the time! This statistic hasn’t budged in decades.

In any other professional practice, would a 34% success rate be acceptable?

Why hasn’t this metric improved in so many years? And why does workplace change cause so much stress and drama despite all the change management training and resources allocated to help people through the discomfort?

We’ve done the best we’ve known how to do, based on the science we had available to us.

Our change management approaches and techniques have not taken into account our biological responses to change simply because we haven’t had access to the research we now have within reach! We’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot, so to speak, because until now, we haven’t understood how significant the impact our biology has on the success of our change efforts in the workplace.

In this program, we lift the veil.

Program includes activities where participants practice remodeling approaches and messages from “Before/Not brain-friendly” to “After/Brain-friendly” and discuss the difference in impact. Managers and leaders learn about the specific language choices they can make that greatly influence the beliefs and behaviors of teams they lead, related to change and transition.

What you’ll learn:

  • How the most progressive organizations and B-schools are updating their change management approaches for radical improvement in managing change — individually and organizationally.
  • The secrets of introducing change efforts that will attract others, not subconsciously threaten them. More harm than good can be done if leaders and managers are not aware of the physiological impacts of their words and actions.
  • Exactly what techniques DO work best with our brains’ natural processes.
  • How word choice and key phrases can draw in support and curiosity of others, not repel them
  • How to adapt your existing change approaches to become more brain-friendly, saving you huge time and money, but most importantly, giving you results. 

Available formats:  in-person/virtual, keynote/breakout/workshop/management retreat

*NOTE: this program can also be expanded to allow for real-time feedback on actual change work being done by participants

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Radical Productivity

Wouldn’t you enjoy getting more done in a day, or in a week?

We may take a workshop or read an article on how to manage time well, handle incoming mail or another related topic aimed at saving us time and effort. But what we end up missing is learning how to get the best performance out of ourselves in whatever time we do have. So, we focus on time-saving methods at the expense of the quality of the time spent.

“Radical Productivity” addresses both time-saving and quality-boosting techniques for getting more out of your time. Learn new mental routines and also how improving how you treat your body and how you manage your emotions ALSO support your productivity. All three are needed for optimum productivity!

In this interactive and thought-provoking session, Dr. Erika Salina will share the ‘Top 10 Activators for Radical Productivity’ to cut through the sea of information on this topic and give you JUST the best, most research-based, practical tools to use now.

Available formats: in-person/virtual, keynote/breakout/workshop/management retreat

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The Focus Formula

Most of us would probably say we could focus better. 

We have busy lives, a multitude of issues, challenges, decisions, and interactions on our minds at any given moment. Life is more complicated than it was a decade, three decades, five decades ago, and our bodies and minds are challenged to sustain optimal health in the face of the complexity, stress, and pace of activity.
Yet, when you find your attention wandering from the task at-hand, do you say to yourself, “Ah, yes. Here is a situation where my brain feels overwhelmed by the ridiculous amount of stimuli I’m throwing at it to assimilate.”

Probably not. More likely, you’re saying something like, “Focus! Focus! C’mon, self . . . get with it!”

And sometimes, we say things like this to ourselves: “I’m so spacey. I’m not committed enough. I’m not very smart/good at this. Maybe this job/task isn’t a good fit for me.”
It is no wonder we struggle to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of some days. On average, we spend less than four minutes on a task before becoming distracted!

You need to learn the three necessary components to awesome focus. Most programs or training simply address time management (in often ineffective ways) or self-discipline.

Those won’t get you where you want to be. They’re not the complete set.

You need to self-examine to see specifically what aspects of focus you’re already strong at, and which you need some new, brain-based techniques to improve.

In this program, you will take a quick self-assessment to determine the ease or challenge you experience in each area of focus.

Then, narrow in on techniques designed to help you with your personal trouble spots.

What you’ll learn:

  • The THREE critical components of focus
  • Which strengths you already have, to leverage
  • Exactly where you struggle & which techniques you need
  • Techniques to better manage external distractors
  • Methods for minimizing internal distractors
  • How to sustain deep focus when you want to
  • Ways to coach others to improve their focus

Available formats: in-person/virtual, keynote/breakout/workshop/management retreat

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We’ve relied on a management theory base that is long overdue for an extreme makeover. Though developed with good intentions, much of what we learned ought to be unlearned!

Some of the very techniques taught to managers in training worldwide, cause threat, fear, hypercompetition, and low productivity in the staff we lead.

We’re creating culture built on distrust and cynicism rather than high-performance and self-initiative.

Because science hadn’t – until now – been able to show how brains respond to change, to threat, to competition, to reward, we were operating on the best we knew then about management effectiveness.

Learn how delegation, feedback, coaching, development, and goal-setting practices all get a facelift in the light of new research. Neuroscience is offering up information about how our minds work that revolutionizes management behavior.

[Though professionals in technical fields love this program, this is not a technical program! There is almost NO anatomy and this will not be too advanced for anyone.] The content is highly engaging, interesting, and active.

The program design is brain-based (no surprise there), so you’ll see mini-lectures interspersed with a variety of activities and exercises, and frequent breaks. That’s how we learn best, and that makes for better retention, too.

What you’ll learn:

  • How to be “radically productive”
  • What truly engages and motivates employees (and how neuroscience research shows us this)
  • Proven techniques, conversation sequences, and scripts for coaching
  • What works and what doesn’t, and why,  when giving feedback
  • The myths around positive feedback – do high performers really need it?
  • How improving staff focus can boost team performance by 25% instantly
  • How increasing clarity decreases conflict and team drama
  • The impacts power and status have on daily work life and what part you play
  • What exact ingredients make goals attractive to your staff’s brains

. . . and much, much more!

Available formats: in-person/virtual, keynote/breakout/workshop/management retreat

*this is a large, multi-session program and can be scheduled in a variety of ways (e.g. multiple half-days, 1 day per month, 2, 2-hr. virtual sessions weekly)

Contact us for more information

Dealing with Difficult People (aka The Art & Science of Communication)

This session will show you a way to handle those you find most challenging to work with BUT it isn’t what you may be thinking. Rather than typecasting difficult people — each group with their own annoying habits — and showing you ways to beat them at their own game, you’ll explore what motivates their behavior. And, you’ll explore why it is that certain behaviors annoy you.

This workshop uses an approach of curiosity and learning rather than pitting you against the “others”, which enables you to see behavior with a new perspective and most importantly, with the goal of more comfortably and effectively interacting with others. Isn’t that what we want, after all?

Key topics in the session include:

  • The real purpose of our emotions and how we can regulate them at work
  • The needs we are ALL working hard to meet, and that drive our behavior
  • Relationships between emotion, thought, and behavior
  • The brain and body’s instinctive response to differences in people
  • How to calm our anxiety responses at work and shift to productive behaviors
  • Script (samples) for moving through impasses or interpersonal friction

This is a lively workshop with illustrations, explanations and practice including resources and tools for use on the job immediately.

Available formats:  in-person/virtual, keynote/breakout/workshop/management retreat

Contact us for more information

Managing Former Peers

Becoming a supervisor or manager means adjusting your self-image and the relationships you have with your former peers, who now call you “Boss.” These shifts do not happen instantaneously when you accept the management role, they happen over time. This transition phase can be a very positive and constructive one, that can establish effective individual and group dynamics to build on over time. This phase can also be mishandled, or ignored . . . usually backfiring at some point, creating conflict and misunderstanding. Attend this half-day course to save yourself the headache and stress of future problems by learning:

  • How we unknowingly sign “relationship contracts” with those we work with
  • How to rewrite those contracts in positive and healthy ways
  • What needs to be said, discussed, or declared when you become a supervisor of someone you used to work alongside
  • Where the boundaries are between “buddy,” “coworker,” and “boss” and how to identify where yours should now be
  • What the most common pitfalls are in navigating your role change, and how to avoid them!

Available formats: in-person/virtual, breakout/workshop/management retreat

Contact us for more information

Managing Performance

There are productive and unproductive ways to talk with employees about their performance. Performance conversations (at the formal review time AND throughout the year) can actually strengthen the manager-staff relationship and result in not only better employee performance but also more effective communication, boosted engagement, and even improved teamwork. If you’ve ever dreaded holding performance conversations – or simply wondered how effective you were in shaping them, this course is for you!

You’ll complete this session with:

  • An understanding of how and why employees perceive all boss communications differently than they were intended – it’s biological!
  • Knowledge of the body language and wording that can set the best possible tone for performance conversations
  • A list of the most common pitfalls in preparing for, having the conversation, and then following up on the conversations throughout the year
  • Opportunities to leverage right now that will lift the burden on you in preparing documentation and examples of good and not-so-good employee performance
  • A roadmap for plotting conversations that can be scheduled on your calendar to keep you on track with continuous communication about all staff performance, including goals and development

Available formats: in-person/virtual, breakout/workshop/management retreat

Contact us for more information


Sadly, most of us will experience some sort of “work hurt” in our careers. This may be a demotion, a firing, bullying, or something more subtle but no less hurtful such as feeling undervalued, misjudged, or losing trust in someone.

Sometimes employees who have experienced a work hurt do end up leaving that organization, but research shows that more commonly, they stay.

However, they don't stay and return to the level of commitment and productivity that they experienced before the work hurt.

Of course, this is painful for the individual suffering. BUT, it spreads. The impact can be seen on colleagues and even organizationally if not addressed.

It is respectful, humane, and also good business to support these employees (managers and leaders included!) back to full confidence and performance.

RESTORE is A guided transformation membership program for those moving from wounded at work to free, fully confident and functional once more.

People who have work-related "hurts" need to work through feelings of shame, humiliation, anger, frustration, self-doubt and others.

This program shares a path to move from where one is at present to full restoration. The lessons and activities move the person through the path from stage to stage.

Available formats: virtual, self-paced component and group coaching session component

Contact us for more information

Rethinking Accountability

We may be using the term, “holding people accountable” when we actually mean something else.  Often, we mean ‘holding someone responsible for his/her actions.’ But “accountability” in its fullest sense includes: responsibility AND transparency, trustworthiness, participation, feedback, and measurement of results. How can we build work environments that develop responsibility and encourage trustworthiness, participation, feedback, and results focus while NOT coming across as micromanaging?

In this interactive and thought-provoking session, learn:

  • What YOU actually mean by the term, “accountability”
  • How your organization’s habits and language addresses accountability
  • What values and beliefs underlie the way you and your organization address accountability
  • The differences between “front end” and “back end” accountability and how both are useful
  • How we can generate resistance by pushing for accountability
  • How trust and accountability are related and most effectively developed
  • What types of behaviors and words build trust and inspire responsibility
  • What behaviors and words inadvertently trigger threat, fear, or even aggression
  • How to appeal to basic human needs to increase engagement (yours or others)

 Participants will leave the session finally able to articulate specifically what aspects of accountability and performance need to shift, and how. They will have a customized action plan to target the areas of most leverage for them to make these shifts.

Available formats:  in-person/virtual, breakout/workshop/management retreat

*NOTE: This program can be expanded to include time for management teams to make facilitated decisions about addressing accountability in their organizations.

Contact us for more information