Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

young male professional pointing at a whiteboard while giving a presentation to a male client in a boardroom young male professional pointing at a whiteboard while giving a presentation to a male client in a boardroom

The Essentials

Critical tools for success.

Learn professional skills for success with these focused programs.

Productivity Essentials Courses

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Note: If you are planning to use these courses as electives in the Business Administration Diploma , please contact us for academic values. 


ESS 797 Art of Active Listening (0.5 days)

Arguably the most important communication skill is also the most underrated.  That is, the art of active listening.  It is far more important to actively listen than it is to talk. In this half day course you will identify the importance of active listening and the high cost of not listening in terms of lost productivity and morale.  You will learn effective listening strategies and the importance of Listener-Centered Communication -- putting yourself in the talker's shoes and understanding things from the other person's perspective.

Instructors: Lori Stephenson

ESS 802 Maximizing Personal Productivity (1 day)

Discover the principles that will enable you to control your inbox, master your task list and achieve your priorities. Based on two major bestselling books, David Allen’s Getting Things Done, and Steven Covey’s First Things First, this unique course takes a different approach to traditional time management practices. Participants will learn how to focus attention on the right things, at the right time, in the right setting, to ensure that they achieve their most important goals. The approach can also help to lower stress and heighten creativity. This course includes an assignment that must be completed prior to the course.  Registrants will be emailed instructions approximately one week prior to the course.

Instructors: Peter O'Donnell

ESS 806 Delegating that Works (1 day)

Learn a simple, practical approach to delegating work to others that "gets things done right the first time." The course identifies the most common causes of delegation failure and then directly addresses them. Learn to define the key performance requirements of any work assignment in clear, behavioural terms, and turn these into an agenda to guide communication. You will also learn how to select the right performer for an assignment, and to communicate effectively with them, leading to clear understanding, genuine commitment and successful completion of even complex assignments. Finally, learn how to use an After Action Review to capture important insights from everyone involved in the completion of an assignment – an important step in continuing to build capacity in a working group. This course includes an assignment that must be completed prior to the course.  Registrants will be emailed instructions approximately one week prior to the course.

Instructors: Peter O'Donnell

ESS 810 Navigating Change for Success (1 day)

Change is a reality in both business and personal life.  Your reaction to change - increased stress or optimism, anxiety or excitement, can establish a path that makes the transitions relatively easy or riddled with challenges. Gain an understanding of change theory to better understand its effects on an organization and individuals.  Strategies will be presented to enable participants to effectively navigate change resulting in a healthier, more balanced and productive attitude that can be applied in both work and personal situations. Please note that Navigating Change for Success (ESS 810) and Leading Change for Success (ESS 812) are similar courses. Individuals should not take both courses.  Leading Change is for supervisors, managers and project leaders.  Navigating Change is for individual contributors in non-supervisory roles.

ESS 812 Leading Change for Success (1 day)

Change is a constant reality in today’s organizations, yet the vast majority of change initiatives fail. These failures can almost always be traced back to a lack of effective change leadership. Learn why change efforts typically fail and how enhance your own ability to provide change leadership that instead drives success. Learn strategies to bring each stakeholder group aboard the change journey. Attention will be given to collaborating with all stakeholders, including sponsors, individual team members, and also those who are affected by change but have little influence. Establish a new vision for the way you provide change leadership, incorporating the presented strategies to effectively lead change for success. Develop an individual action plan to provide change leadership for a current or upcoming change initiative in which you must lead the way. Please note that Leading Change for Success (ESS 812) and Navigating Change for Success (ESS 810) are similar courses. Individuals should not take both courses. Leading Change is for supervisors, managers and project leaders. Navigating Change is for individual contributors in non-supervisory roles.

ESS 816 Creating Your Work-Life Balance (0.5 day)

Balance is an essential part of our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Demands on our time and attention only seem to grow. This half-day course is designed to assist participants in recognizing what balance means to them personally, and engage them in developing strategies and practices to regain and maintain balance throughout their lives.

Instructors: Lori Stephenson

ESS 835 Emotional Intelligence at Work* (1 day)

A growing body of research shows that Emotional Intelligence is more important to personal and professional success than IQ, and that it is the single most important contributor to effective performance and leadership. During this interactive presentation you will be introduced to a wide variety of concepts and techniques related to effectively applying Emotional Intelligence. Explore how to better understand, manage and leverage your and others' emotions in order to manage conflict, deal with stress and to relate to others more effectively and productively. Implications for leadership and management capacity will also be discussed. A common theme that runs through this course is people, and the ability to understand, connect, react and relate to them. This courses includes an assignment that must be completed prior to the course.  Registrants will be emailed instructions approximately one week prior to the course.

Instructors: Lori Stephenson

ESS 836 Project Management (2 days)

As organizations and their products and services become more complex, there is a greater need for the discipline of Project Management. Based on the internationally recognized standards of the Project Management Institute (PMI), this course will introduce the key tools, techniques and processes needed to manage projects.  This highly experiential course gives participants the opportunity to build their skills and knowledge in applying the techniques using exercises and case studies.

Instructors: Bruce Garrod

ESS 837 Achieving SMART Goals (1 day)

Ready, set, GOAL!  Learn a practical, effective system that will enable you to better identify and define your goals, build awareness of common barriers and pitfalls to accomplishing your goals, and design an action plan that will keep you on track ensuring your goals are achieved.  In this fun and interactive course, participants engage in activities and discussions that result in a personal performance tune-up.

ESS 838 Delivering Powerful Presentations (1 day)

This fun, effective and interactive course provides practical and proven strategies for planning, preparing and delivering powerful presentations. Learn and practice how to combat nervousness associated with public speaking along with understanding how to effectively construct the elements of a meaningful and purposeful presentation.

ESS 877 Negotiation Skills (1 day)

Negotiation is the art and science of securing agreements between two or more interdependent parties.  It can be very difficult to do well. Even the most experienced negotiators often fall prey to common biases and errors in judgment. The purpose of this course is to help you understand the theory and process of effective negotiations. The best way to learn negotiation skills and actually internalize them is to negotiate in a setting where insight is offered, feedback is plentiful, personal reflection is encouraged, and careful analysis is required. Therefore, the course relies primarily on “hands on” learning to help participants understand the negotiating process and their own strengths and weaknesses. Note: This course is intended for general business situations.

Instructors: Janice Locke

ESS 895 Effective Business Writing (1 day)

People are sometimes too busy to read all e-mails and other written correspondence that comes across their desks. Correspondence needs to be well-written to be well-read! Learn to prepare correspondence that gets attention and makes it "reader-friendly". Discover how to add personality to your writing while maintaining a professional style which is easily understood, free of unnecessary words and suitable for the intended audience. Learn how to write to persuade readers to see your point of view. Another key element of the session will be to produce written communication that maintains positive relations within the workplace. This course includes an assignment that must be completed prior to the course.  Registrants will be emailed instructions approximately one week prior to the course.

Instructors: Lori Stephenson

ESS 899 Conflict Resolution in the Workplace (1 day)

This one-day course will assist you in understanding your individual style of conflict resolution and both the positive and negative impacts of your style in managing conflict effectively. Discuss why conflict happens in the work setting, and discover practical tips for managing conflict. You will also learn about constructive routes to communication and agreement, consider your own ways for dealing with conflict and practice various ways of communicating more effectively.

Instructors: Linda Spence

* Students must enrol at least two weeks before the start date to allow time for an online assessment to be completed prior to the course 

^Next course held on McMaster's main campus