“The ability to learn faster than your competitors may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”

Arie de Geus

The Illustra Virtual Faculty

Our Vision

We believe the world will be a better place if leaders and managers within global companies can regularly and easily engage in personal constructive dialogues with leading thinkers, researchers and practitioners from around the world to explore new more relevant and effective ways of achieving their business objectives.

The challenge

The greatest challenges being faced by leaders and managers today are the relentless pace of change and the increasingly complexity of the environments in which they work. To succeed they need to be constantly developing and adapting their leadership styles and understandings to keep pace with the world around them. Yet at the same time the relentless pressures they are subjected to make it harder than ever for them to find the time and space they need for their own personal development.

The emergence of a solution

In recent years we have been collaborating with leading business academics and practitioners and some of the worlds most forward thinking organizations to create live virtual workshops that are defining new directions for learning and development in the digital information era. The resulting virtual workshops have taken live virtual training beyond the limitations of the conventional webinar and into a realm where virtual workshops match and often exceed what can be achieved in a traditional face-to-face classroom. Through these workshops we are enabling managers and executives all around the world to engage in rich, productive, collaborative dialogues with the thought leaders who are defining our understanding of what it means to be a leader and manager in the information age.

Increasing breadth and depth

To continue to expand the breadth and depth of the insights and understandings that can become available to our customers we have made it our mission to seek out thought leaders from around the world who have valuable contributions to make to this global leadership conversation. We collaborate with these thought leaders so that they can adapt their work to have maximum impact and provide them with the production and delivery support that will enable them to succeed in this exciting new medium.

Design Philosophy

Our design philosophy is based on an approach to learning where the focus is on the crafting of artful questions that create space for learning, exploration, experimentation and plans for practical application. Typically an Illustra workshop will consist of 20% learning content and 80% practice and reflection on the challenges of practical application. Experience has shown that in the virtual environment this style of learning provokes maximum engagement and participation.

Recent successes

Strategic Innovation – Dr Jules Goddard

This workshop provokes executives into exploring radical new possibilities that could result
in the creation of new growth strategies, new product categories and services, game
changing business models and the generation of significant new value for consumers,
customers and the corporation. The program is designed to achieve the following
objectives: Inspire imaginative managers to look beyond the obvious. Explore a broad range of possibilities within a given business condition. Identify significant opportunities within the existing market environment. Make informed decisions about the most promising paths to pursue to increase growth.

  • The practical difference between “thinking” and “thoughting”
  • Competitive Strategy – the courage to be different
  • 5 levels of Innovation
  • Breakthrough Thinking
  • Uncommon Sense and Common Nonsense
  • Leadership by “Nudging”
Dr Jules Goddard is a teacher, writer and consultant in the areas of business creativity, strategic thinking, and corporate transformation. He is currently Research Fellow of the Management Innovation Lab (MLab) at London Business School. He is also a guest lecturer at INSEAD. Jules co-authored with Tony Eccles the acclaimed book “Uncommon Sense, Common Nonsense” which looks at why some organizations consistently out perform others. Many of the ideas and questions raised in this fascinating book form the basis for exercises and discussion that take place during this workshop

Effective Strategy Execution – Dr Rebecca Homkes

While strategic planning remains a top concern, in our experience many organizations spend much less time understanding the organizational machine – the people and the processes – necessary to drive that strategy to results and how to ensure these are aligned, coordinated and agile. This becomes increasingly critical within complex matrix organizations. 
This workshop is typically preceded by a survey of the companies execution capabilities based on the main drivers of strategy execution. The results from this survey become a focus for discussion and exercises at different stages within the workshop. 
The key drivers of strategy execution explored during this workshop are:

Shared context: A common understanding of what matters (current priorities), why they matter (link to strategy), how the pieces fit together, and how the organization is doing right now (real-time measures of progress)

Hydraulics: Processes for managing performance commitments up and down the organization, across units, and outside the firm; and renegotiating these when circumstances change

Resource allocation: Processes to ensure financial and human resources are deployed to their best use

Culture: Corporate values support performance, collaboration, and adaptation

Distributed leaders: Managers in key positions throughout the organization who ensure alignment, 
coordination, and adaption at the local level

Top leaders: Senior leaders ensure alignment, coordination and adaption for the company as a whole

Dr. Rebecca Homkes is currently faculty at the London Business School (LBS) and its Executive Education program, where she is also co-directing a major research initiative on executing strategy for results in turbulent markets. Rebecca has also directed the joint McKinsey & Co/ CEP Global Management Matters project since 2007. Rebecca recently co-authored an article on strategy execution that was published in the Harvard Business Review and included in HBR’s 10 Must Reads for 2016.

The Trusted Executive – John Blakey

John Blakey 
- The Trusted Executive workshop helps leaders create a strategy for building trust in a globalized, technology-enabled, diverse and increasingly skeptical world. 
Through innovative coaching exercises, self-assessment exercises, inspirational interviews with international CEOs and underpinned by rigorous academic research, The Trusted Executive based on John’s recently published book gives leaders the tools to build trust through three key pillars: ability, integrity and benevolence. Underpinning these pillars lie nine habits of trustworthiness; habits that will 
enable executives to deliver outstanding results, inspiring relationships and a positive contribution to society. With tools for measuring and developing leadership trust and focused strategies for handling trust violations, The Trusted Executive takes account of the ever-changing, increasingly diverse and multi-generational work environment. This workshop provides leaders with essential tools for creating a positive long-term legacy. 


John Blakey is an executive coach and chair of the 'Tomorrow's CEO' private advisory board with Vistage International. In his business career he was a Fast Track 100 entrepreneur and international managing director of a FTSE100 organization. John has coached board level leaders around the globe as well as having worked with Olympic athletes and their coaches. He is regular conference speaker on the topics of coaching and leadership and is the co-author, with Ian Day, of the book 'Challenging Coaching'.

Leading Virtual Teams – Dr Valerio Pascotto

Closing the gap between the “what” and the “how” of engagement, ownership and motivation.
An emotionally engaged and motivated team is a critical competitive advantage in a virtual world. The pathway to high performance teams requires bringing the heart to work and feeling excited about coming to work, excited about what the organization stands for and excited about working with the leaders, managers and team members.

Distance, time zones, multiple reporting lines, organizational differences, cultural diversity and complex matrix structures are all part of the virtual leadership challenge.
During this workshop leaders explore how to establish a clear pathway to promoting and supporting a high performance virtual team by:

  • Setting courageous goals and reflecting on the power of going beyond SMART and PRISM to connect with the heart and creativity of team members
  • Increasing awareness of a high performance them mind-set and practicing a mind-set tool
  • Recognizing the impact self-interferences (saboteurs) have on effectiveness
  • Leveraging a trust formula to build strong virtual relationships
  • Using the ladder of interpretation tool to address behaviors and attitudes critical for high performance teams
  • Building an environment supportive of intrinsic motivators
  • Differentiating and practicing between an inquiry based communication style and an advocacy based communication style
  • Using the clarity formula to promote team commitment
  • Working with the three attributes of a high performance virtual team
  • Using intuition and the art of questioning
  • Moving away from telling, directing and lecturing to an influencing style that generates gratitude and appreciation

Through working in teams, individual reflections and role-play simulations participants are able to practice and develop attitudes, communication skills and behaviors critical to virtual leadership. This workshop is normally tailored to enable participants to take specific and concrete steps to apply the learning to support the organizations vision and objectives and address its current challenges and opportunities

Dr Valerio Pascotto is a leading innovator in the field of live virtual coaching and virtual experiential learning. He has a Doctoral Degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University and has taught at graduate and doctoral level. Together with noted author Tim Gallwey “The Inner Game of Work” he is the founder of IGEOS®. Valerio has over twenty years experience helping individuals and corporations reach their potential and maximize their productivity. He conducts seminars and develops programs for industry in the areas of technology driven rapid change, group integration, team building, leadership, goal setting, and work effectiveness.

“Good teaching is one - fourth preparation and three- fourths theatre”

Gail Godwin - American author

The Learning Experience

Many people in the world of learning and development have been looking towards a future where advances in technology would enable live virtual delivery to play a more significant role in their training strategies. With its televisual approach and support for more tightly orchestrated forms of presentation and interaction the Illustra environment takes us into that brave new world. For the first time live virtual classes can provide engaging learning experiences that often go beyond what can be achieved in the traditional classroom

The Evolution Of A New Medium

Early movies were simply stage performances that took place in front of a camera. Only later did moviemakers developed methods of storytelling which exploited the full potential of the new medium. Today we are still in the early stages of understanding the potential of live virtual technologies. To explore and develop this potential Illustra has put together a powerful team of people from the world of computing, television, and business training. We have also formed close alliances with leading subject matter experts and training providers from around the world. This multidisciplinary approach has resulted in an environment that enables fast paced tightly orchestrated workshops that attract extremely high levels of participation and engagement.

A focused learning environment

From the outset the Illustra design team wanted to minimize the distraction that working in a technological environment can have on the learning experience for both students and the coaches. The result is an environment that is probably one of the most sophisticated of its kind in terms of individual and team activities, role plays and simulations yet is definitely the simplest when it comes to ongoing operation from the point of view of both the participants and the coaches. In the Illustra environment coaches and trainers are discovering that the ability they have to move participants in and out of teams in an instant and to monitor individual and team inputs into exercises and activities in real time is empowering them in ways that were never possible in the traditional classroom.

Design Philosophy

Our design philosophy is based on a coaching approach to learning where the focus is on the crafting of artful questions that create space for learning, exploration, experimentation and plans for practical application. Typically an Illustra workshop will consist of 20% learning content and 80% practice and reflection on the challenges of practical application. Experience has shown that in the virtual environment this style of learning provokes maximum engagement and participation. The Illustra environment has been designed from the outset to support this approach to learning. Illustra is unique in being a company that designs and delivers training and at the same time designs and develops the environment and tools that enable that training to take place. This are resulting in virtual learning experiences that are helping to define the future of this new medium.

More than a software platform

We believe in providing complete production support for all aspects of the learning experience. Feedback provided over thousands of hours from both users and coaches clearly shows that this the best way to provide rich engaging learning experiences in the virtual environment. An Illustra session producer and at least one technical support specialist are integral to the success of every illustra workshop. The session producer supports the coach to ensure smooth operation and tight orchestration of all aspects of the workshop; enabling coaches and trainers to concentrate on what they do best, without having to be concerned about the technology. The support specialists ensure that any technical problems encountered by individual participants are dealt with quickly and in a manner that has minimum impact on the workshop as a whole. All participants inputs into workshops and programs are captured and immediately made available as an extension of the learning experience

About Illustra

Maximise your investment in manager training

Effective training for executive, sales and front-line managers is about more than providing a curriculum and materials. It’s about practical implementation – implementing new ideas quickly across the organisation and reaping the benefits of training spend in the shortest possible time. Illustra works with a proven methodology based on the dynamics of virtual teams, designed to enhance engagement and practical deployment of new skills, enabling our customers to increase the effectiveness of their training investment.

The best virtual training workshops in the world for business managers

It’s a big claim, but many of our customers would agree. Running effective virtual training sessions – live, face-to-face events of ten to seventy people, across several hours and even days – requires highly engaging and motivating content, and behind-the-scenes management that runs like clockwork. We’ve been delivering programmes of virtual events for ten years to some of the greatest companies in the world in a purpose-built environment which keeps participants engaged, and allows subject matter experts to focus entirely on their audience. Our goal, which we achieve in most of our programmes, is to exceed the satisfaction scores of ‘in person’ versions of the same events, enhancing the effectiveness and dramatically decreasing the cost of top-quality training.

The best in business thinking

Illustra’s coaching team includes top business academics from around the world. We work with over thirty coaches, specialising in an immense range of business disciplines and expert in working with virtual technologies. Together we work with our customers to design and deliver programmes to meet the training needs of their individual organisation or business unit – programmes that really make a difference.

Find out more

To find out more about how we can help your organization increase the effectiveness of its manager training, please contact us today.

Blog

An influencing Paradox – Dr Valerio Pascotto

Recently, I was looking at synonyms in the dictionary for influencing and I found words such as affect, have an impact on, determine, guide, shape, change, alter and transform. These […]

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