Microcourse Overview

Catalyst Connection has partnered with DDI International to provide you with a number of microcourses that you can complete at your own pace.

Delivered in “short bursts” of learning that range from 7 to 20 minutes each, these microcourses provide just the right amount of information—through videos, quick tips, checklists, planners, and other practical learning tools—for learners to quickly acquire and immediately apply new knowledge.

Microcourses are available for $12/each.

Microcourses List

Click any of the course titles provided below for more information and to register:

Addressing Poor Work Habits

Learn simple problem-solving steps to handle poor work habits on your team. Then, dive into realistic scenarios for practice. Expert coaches provide advice on how to make positive habits stick.

  • Strengthen your approach to handling employees with poor work habits. Avoid common pitfalls.
  • Gain practical advice on how to problem-solve with employees to turn poor habits around.
  • Prepare for your next challenge using the Work Habits Planner.


All on Board

The velocity of work, the diversity of ideas and people, and the rapid flow of information make it increasingly difficult to get groups to agree and commit to action.  Leveraging a structured, systematic approach that involves each person will help you bring people to consensus and make high-quality decisions that everyone is committed to carrying out.

  • Use a set of tools and techniques for reaching agreement that will help you and your group make decisions that everyone is committed to supporting and carrying out.
  • Select the best consensus-building techniques based on the situation and the type of decision your group needs to make.
  • Lead groups to more effective decisions—more efficiently and effectively.


Authenticity and Transparency (SHARE)

The trust you build with your direct reports pays dividends in times of stress. Follow a leader who learns to appropriately disclose feelings and share information to build trust during an organizational change. Neuroscience principles explain the impact of such authenticity and transparency. You’ll also learn tips for developing good judgment.

  • Understand the neuroscience of why authenticity and transparency work.
  • Use a key interpersonal skill for sharing what you know, think, and feel.
  • Avoid common pitfalls when disclosing.


Boost Your Resilience

Adversity, change, turbulence, and uncertainty can be part of any given day.  While we successfully navigate most challenges, others require greater resilience—the ability to cope with stress and adversity.  Resilience keeps us from feeling stuck.  Key personality traits and skills can raise our resilience, and power us through even the most challenging times. 

  • Learn how individual traits and skills affect resilience.
  • Discover methods to manage tendencies and strengthen skills.
  • Consider which mindset obstacles and personal biases are interfering with resilience.
  • Create a 60-day plan for boosting resilience.


Building Relationships (ESTEEM)

Your effectiveness as a leader depends on the relationships you build with the people who report to you. Watch a leader discover her misconceptions about what makes others feel valued. The story unfolds to explain the brain’s alert system for detecting a lack of acceptance and how you can apply the most important skill for demonstrating respect.

  • Understand the neuroscience behind our personal need to feel valued.
  • Describe common misconceptions about valuing and respecting others.
  • Apply the best skill for meeting out need to feel valued.


Building Trust in Your Work Environment

Although you can see how others’ behavior affects trust in the organization, you might not recognize how your own behavior influences trust. Building trust is a gradual process, one interaction at a time. But it takes only a single action to break trust.

  • Stop behaviors that break trust.
  • Mode behaviors that build trust.
  • Repair relationships where lack of trust is negatively affecting job performance.


Closing the Confidence Gap

No matter where you are in the world, women outnumber men in the workplace, or soon will. Gender research indicates that it’s not a skills issue; it’s a confidence issue. And confidence is tightly connected to the perception of competence, often determined by what you say and how you say it, and the impression that leaves.

  • Reveal immediate actions you can take to raise confidence to a higher level.


Coaching Challenge: Tips from a Coach

Not all coaching situations are easy to navigate, especially when you’re a new leader. Read a challenging scenario and think about how you might handle the situation. Then, hear advice from a DDI coach who has been there about how to handle the challenge and avoid common mistakes.

  • Read and think through a challenging coaching scenario.
  • Listen to tips from a coach and how they would handle that situation.
  • Learn how to avoid common first-time mistakes.
  • Read examples of how coaches plan for the coaching conversation.


Communicating Effectively to Improve Your Leadership Brand

You inspire, motivate, and influence team members every day to reach business goals. Learn three tips on making the most of your communications to maintain your consistent and authentic brand.

  • Recognize how you communicate is as important as what you communicate.
  • Adapt your communication style to connect more effectively.
  • Craft communications to positively impact individuals, teams, organizations, and your own leadership brand.


Communicating Virtually

Many conversations occur through email, conference call, team collaboration apps, instant messaging, or other digitally-enabled formats. We communicate with greater speed and efficiency than ever before, but it’s easy to be misunderstood, or for your messages to have unintended, negative consequences. This course provides tips and tools to make sure your virtual communications are clear and effective.

  • Be reminded of the fundamental elements of communication.
  • Evaluate their understanding of effective communication practices.
  • Discover methods for improving the clarity and receptivity of messages delivered virtually.
  • Receive a wealth of actionable tips for improving communications across a variety of modalities (email, conference calls, etc.).


Creating a Culture on Your Team

Imagine a workplace culture where team members play to their strengths, help one another to be their best selves, and push forward awesome solutions. A coaching culture creates a safe space for these moments to blossom. In such a culture, learning can come from a variety of sources: peers, managers, direct reports, and external coaches. When everyone in a company can be a coach, everyone benefits.

  • Evaluate the current coaching mindset of themselves in comparison with their work group.
  • Provide team members with the tools to be successful coaches.
  • Discover actions they can take to foster a safe working environment.
  • Receive a wealth of actionable tips for modeling and promoting effective coaching behaviors.


Cultivating Effective Business Networks

Do you know everything you need to know to succeed in your job? Is your work becoming more complex? Are you struggling to keep up with technology? Your job probably demands more of you than ever before. Maybe you’re working cross-functionally or in settings that require a broader skill set than was required in a more traditional role. Even though you have more information than people doing similar jobs did 5 or 10 years ago, you probably have a smaller portion of the information you need to be successful.

  • Identify the information or expertise you need and where to get it.
  • Establish and maintain your network contacts and relationships.
  • Secure the help you need now and in the future.
  • Expand and reshape your business network.


Developing Individual Team Members

Some people on your team need development to meet minimum job requirements. Others need to prepare for future opportunities such as new job responsibilities, upcoming assignments, or a promotion. You can address both types of development needs with some help from a Development Action Planner, a handy tool that both you and team members can use to plan a development effort


Discover Your Unique Coach Qualities

Understand how your motivations, style, and personal attributes affect your ability to coach effectively. Everyone is different and it’s important to understand how to leverage your unique qualities.

  • Discover how your coach qualities (personal attributes, motivation, and style) influence your coaching impact.
  • Explore tips to make the most of your unique strengths and avoid risks.
  • Prepare for your next coaching opportunity using your new self-insights.


Embracing Change

Change is universal. However, it manifests itself in very different ways, depending on the situation, the environment, the people, and the timing. Understanding the recent past, the present, and the near future will prepare you to address important issues connected with a change. And it will surface the fears, concerns, challenges, and opportunities that you need to discuss and confront.

  • Understand how people typically react when change occurs.
  • Demonstrate an embracing change mind-set that will enable you to remain open to workplace change.
  • Determine how you can influence changes when, at first glance, it appears you have no control.


Getting Started as a New Leader

As a new leader, you’ve been identified as having the potential for achieving great things. You’re probably excited and perhaps a little concerned. That’s to be expected. You’ll learn about how to address those concerns and, in the process, start performing your new leadership role with confidence and credibility.

  • Create a strategy to accelerate your transition into your new role as a leader.
  • Apply three leadership accelerators to quickly accomplish results by building successful working relationships with your team members.
  • Align your team’s efforts to ensure that they support the organization’s business strategies.
  • Use a tool and other resources to help determine priorities for you and your team.
  • Assess strengths and growth areas for each of your team members.


Giving Feedback for Improvement (STAR/AR)

Providing a direct report with feedback for improvement can be one of your most challenging, least favorite interactions. This structured approach can make such discussions much more comfortable and collegial. Neuroscience explains how using this approach can help you avoid common pitfalls and achieve your intended results.

  • Understand the neuroscience behind the reaction to feedback for improvement.
  • Identify common mistakes to avoid.
  • Apply a feedback model that sparks better performance and maintains a positive relationship.


Giving Positive Feedback (STAR)

Research makes a compelling case for praise as a driver of employee performance. Yet, giving praise can be harder than you might think, thanks to some common hidden biases. In an example a leader who intends to deliver praise finds that his approach is falling flat. You’ll learn why. Also, you’ll discover how to make your positive feedback sincere and meaningful.

  • Understand the research and neuroscience that explains why praise is important.
  • Recognize hidden biases that trip up leaders.
  • Use the best, most authentic way to provide positive feedback.


Handling Common Coaching Challenges

What do working on challenging assignments, learning new skills, improving performance, repeating successful performance, or finding new solutions to old problems have in common? All these situations could benefit from the advice and counsel of a good coach. In the short term your coaching can help someone accomplish a task or solve a problem; in the long term it can help people develop to their fullest potential.

  • Involve people and motivate them to do their best.
  • Respond when people resist your feedback.
  • Help someone with a personal problem without getting in over your head.


Handling Emotion and Upset (EMPATHY)

Some of your most difficult interactions are with employees who suddenly become emotional. You’ll learn about the neuroscience behind emotions and three common approaches that make negative feelings worse. You’ll also learn about how to use empathy to help an upset employee return to a calm, productive state.

  • Understand the neuroscience of handling the emotional response.
  • Identify three approaches that make responding to emotion and upset worse.
  • Use the number one skill to effectively handle and defuse emotion.


Helping Your Team Achieve High Performance

When team members have skill and experience, they’re likely to produce acceptable results. In today’s business environment, however, teams often are under pressure to produce more than just acceptable results. As the leader, you can proactively create conditions that allow your team to reach peak performance quickly and without undue strain on any individuals.

  • Fulfill the three roles – diagnose, coach, and reinforce the team in its efforts to reach high performance.
  • Focus your team’s efforts on high-priority actions that directly support your organization’s goals and strategies.
  • Enhance the effectiveness of your team by identifying and eliminating conditions that are preventing the team from achieving higher levels of performance.
  • Create an environment in which team members are moved to strive harder to realize the potential of the team.


Influencing Others to Make Things Happen

In today’s ever-evolving organizations, leaders need to get things done through people who don’t report to them and, in some cases, even outrank them. Welcome to the new age of influence, where, to be effective, you must know the techniques that will help you earn people’s commitment to make things happen.

  • Capture people’s attention, change their perspective, and make things happen.
  • Clearly link ideas, suggestions, and recommendations to changes that will have a positive impact on individual, team, and organizational performance.
  • Express yourself with enthusiasm and conviction.
  • Understand people’s motivations, needs, and concerns, and gain their commitment.


Keeping on Track and on Time

Are you terminally busy with too many top priorities to juggle? Are you expected to get something done by a certain date or time, but you’re not even sure how to get started? In today’s fast-paced business world, almost everyone faces these kinds of pressures. Successful people are able to sort through them and adapt while maintaining high levels of performance. They succeed in part by using some proven tips and tools. You can use them too to avoid productivity pitfalls and improve your performance and on-time record.

  • Keep track of your time and tasks.
  • Organize your work area.
  • Establish step-by-step plans, complete with contingency actions.


Keeping Organizational Talent

Retaining the people in your group means more than cultivating harmony and productivity in the workplace. It also translates directly to the organization’s bottom line: Turnover is costly—hiring and then training people consumes money, time, and resources. It leads to lost sales and productivity. If you think that most people leave a job simply for more money, you’re wrong. Most people leave a job because of a poor relationship with their leader. In fact, the immediate leader is the one person with the greatest impact on a person’s decision to stay with or leave an organization.

  • Understand the business impact of turnover on the organization, the work group, and the leader.
  • Recognize the leader’s critical role in retaining organizational talent.
  • Identify the interests and expectations that have the strongest effect on a person’s desire to stay in or leave a position.
  • Use probing skills, Key Principles, Interaction Guidelines, and process skills, to identify and address sources of dissatisfaction.
  • Develop solutions to address retention issues for individuals and the work group.


Leading Virtual Meetings

In today’s global economy, virtual meetings are more frequent than ever.  Whether you need to find an alternative for a face-to-face meeting or you must regularly communicate with distributed or remote employees, leading your meetings effectively – using process and personal techniques – is critical for team collaboration and decision making.

  • Learn more about virtual meeting pitfalls.
  • Evaluate individual process and personal orientations.
  • Discover methods for improving meeting productivity and audience engagement.


Letting Go and Delegating More

You’re reluctant to delegate; in fact, you sometimes avoid it altogether. Why? Perhaps you don’t want to let go of tasks and activities you enjoy. Maybe it’s the idea of investing time and effort in getting people up to speed. Or maybe you think it’ll be less stress and rework if you do it yourself. Whatever your reason for not delegating, you’ll miss opportunities to take on new, more challenging responsibilities that can grow your skills and boost job satisfaction. However, if you know how to allocate the right work to the right people, you, your team, and the organization will experience the benefits

  • Overcome your own hesitation to delegate by exploring the benefits of letting go.
  • Determine the best way to allocate work to promote growth and achieve key business results.
  • Give people more responsibility for and more authority over tasks you’ve delegated to them.


Leveraging Diversity

Do you value the unique qualities you and your coworkers bring to the workplace? Did you know that people expressing their differences actually enhances an organization’s growth? Valuing differences is the right thing to do from both an interpersonal and a business perspective. By leveraging diverse styles, abilities, and motivations (SAMs), you encourage creative solutions and unique approaches that enable your organization to achieve improved results.

  • Determine your own styles, abilities, and motivations.
  • Work more collaboratively and productively with people who have a variety of styles, abilities, and motivations.
  • Use Key Principles to support differences and encourage others to share their unique contributions.


Making Accelerated Decisions

Making decisions in today’s fast-flowing business environment is a lot like navigating white water in a kayak. Not only is the path choppy and fraught with unseen hazards and poor sight lines, but there is little time to ponder an opportunity when it presents itself. Decisions must be made quickly, or those opportunities are gone—swept away in the relentless undertow that is today’s business world. You don’t have the luxury of waiting for all the information to come in or of trying to make the perfect decision.

  • Make quality decisions even when you’re pressed for time.
  • Cut through ambiguity, complexity, and unnecessary information to identify the best decision in the time available.
  • Rely on your experience, good judgement, and leadership intuition.
  • Take what’s given and narrow your options to a manageable few.
  • Make a speedy decision and adjust – or even reverse – it later, if necessary.


Making Your Meetings Work

Your meetings have many uses: relaying information, solving problems, developing ideas, updating people, building commitment, or making decisions. Meetings exist to meet these practical needs in the first place. But to be truly effective, a meeting also must address participants’ personal needs. When people leave a meeting believing their time was well spent and their participation was useful, then you know your meeting was a success.

  • Plan a meeting you are about to lead.
  • Create a meeting planner that prepares you to lead a productive meeting.
  • Facilitate effective meetings.
  • Follow up after a meeting to ensure that desired outcomes are achieved.


Managing Millennials

Attracting and retaining millennials in the workplace is a must. To do that, get the “real story” and gain fresh insights on who millennials are and what they need and value most. Pick up tips to begin and continue conversations with eager team members interested in development and getting their ideas heard. Also, put a plan in motion to bring out the best in your millennial workforce.

  • Get the “real story” on who millennials are and what they need and value in the workplace.
  • See common myths busted and gain fresh insights on leading the millennial generation.
  • Explore how leader mind-sets have changed from yesterday to today.
  • Begin the conversation with eager team members interested in development and getting heard.
  • Put a plan in motion to bring out the best in your millennial workforce.


On to the Next Adventure

Are you ready for a change in your role, but not sure how to know if a particular position will be right for you? Or maybe you know exactly what you want but don’t know how to land the job. This course will help you think through your goals and motivations, and then gather robust examples of your strengths based on your experience. You’ll also get tips for navigating the interview, from starting the conversation in a positive manner, to providing complete examples of your skills and abilities, to closing in a way that conveys your interest in the position.

  • Identify the strengths and gaps in your knowledge, skills, experience, and motivations.
  • Decide whether you’re a good match for a job and an organization and whether the job and organization are right for you.
  • Prepare behavioral examples for use in an interview that demonstrate how you’re effectively used your skills in the past.
  • Anticipate and be prepared to face a variety of interview challenges.


Overcoming Barriers to Productivity

There’s one motto almost everyone can relate to: “Make it fast and make it good.” In today’s competitive marketplace, people are pressed to achieve higher quality, faster results, and lower costs. But balancing these requirements can be difficult. Pay too much attention to quality, and time and costs can swell. Focus too much on speed, and quality might drop. Misdirect your focus, and these demands can start to hamper your productivity in a big way.

  • Prioritize your work and use your time efficiently.
  • Keep yourself motivated during challenging times.
  • Fight perfectionism and achieve the level of quality a task requires.
  • Conquer procrastination and successfully tackle the work you least want to do.


Overcoming Resistance to Change

Change can be disorienting. When people must give up old ways of thinking and working while adapting to something new and unfamiliar, they can feel unsure, confused, or even afraid. So, it’s only natural that some people will resist change—especially when they can’t control it. You can overcome that resistance by encouraging people’s understanding, ownership, and trust.

  • Use the Interaction Guidelines to discuss the change and involve people in developing their own ideas for adapting to it.
  • Use the Key Principles to address people’s feelings and concerns about the change and build trust.


Preparing for Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations are usually something we want to avoid, mostly because of the negative feelings associated with them. How do you adapt your approach to be more effective and stay focused on a harmonious solution? Within this course, you’ll discover techniques and tools to navigate these conversations

  • Identify pitfalls when having difficult conversations.
  • Understand your personal approach and how to adapt it to be more effective.


Productive Interactions (Interaction Guidelines)

Do you wish your meetings or interactions could be more productive? Five easy steps will help you make sure that all important information is covered, people are engaged and committed, and discussion goals are achieved. No longer will you and your team members wonder who is supposed to do what, by when.

  • Improve the efficiency of your communications.
  • Achieve discussion goals and objectives.


Resolving a Conflict You’re Involved In

The differences people bring to the workplace can promote remarkable creativity, innovation, and solutions. However, those same differences can lead to a lack of agreement (discord) and, if left unresolved, to a full-blown argument (dispute). You can feel the effects of conflict on yourself as well as those around you—tension, stress, lower morale. If the situation continues, it can damage relationships, productivity, quality, and service.

  • Use the Interaction Guidelines to uncover the causes of a conflict and develop a solution that everyone can support.
  • Use the Key Principles to show that you value the other person’s ideas, build trust, and encourage the person toward resolution.



Missed expectations. Unpleasant surprises. Bad performance reviews. Anything can happen when performance goals aren’t clear from the start. You can avoid disastrous outcomes by applying five criteria when composing goals. These SMART criteria ensure that performance goals are specific, well-written, and effective.

  • Use a three-part formula to write performance goals that meet the SMART criteria.
  • Compose performance goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.


Sparking Accountability and Action (SUPPORT)

Employees want a supportive leader, but what does that really mean? You’ll learn about four types of support you can provide to boost performance while keeping accountability with direct reports. You’ll also learn more about how to gauge when to provide proactive support and when to hold off on coming to the rescue.

  • Recognize the types of “support” to avoid.
  • Identify signs that you can improve how you provide support.
  • Select and apply methods for providing support.


Stand and Huddle: Short Meetings that Address Team Challenges

Meetings expert Steve Rogelberg challenges leaders to get creative and try new meeting approaches that are efficient and energizing. Find out how standing meetings and short daily huddles can address your team’s needs.

  • Be prompted to try new ways of meeting.
  • Gain insight into the research about quick meetings.
  • Understand how different industries have applied huddles to solve problems.
  • Plan a huddle for their team.


Strengthening Your Partnerships

People form partnerships because they want to achieve something they can’t do alone. Working together to accomplish those results is another matter altogether. Each partner might have a different plan of attack. For a partnership to operate smoothly and achieve its desired outcome, members must understand what a true partnership is and focus on building relationships based on trust and effective communication.

  • Use collaborative strategies.
  • Assess the factors needed for success.
  • Communicate with your partners.
  • Evaluate your partnership.


Supporting Development Efforts

In today’s competitive business environment, each person is responsible for taking his or her own development seriously. Your job as a manager is to support people as they develop their leadership skills. In doing so, you play the role of catalyst, energizing and guiding people toward a common goal and making things happen. For many managers, this role doesn’t come easily.

  • Recognize the importance of your role as a catalyst in developing leaders within your organization.
  • Recognize when you need to demonstrate a new skill or coach and reinforce others’ use of a new skill and why it’s important.
  • Develop a personal strategy for having an impact on your leaders’ development.
  • Use a set of tools and techniques that support leadership development.


The Power of Seeking

Guiding team members toward successful performance requires more than just telling people what to do.  Effective coaches help people think through possibilities and build buy-in and commitment by asking powerful, provocative questions as well as sharing experiences and insights.  Asking questions that support the person’s diagnosis, discovery, and exploration helps you bring out the best in people while also building their confidence to handle the situation themselves.

  • Encourage people to take ownership of and be accountable for their work performance.
  • Conduct more compelling, collaborative, and rewarding coaching discussions.
  • Build and sustain a coaching culture within your team.


Tips for Interviewers

Hiring a job candidate shouldn’t be a guessing game. How well you conduct an interview can mean the difference between hiring the right person from the start and having to dive repeatedly into the candidate pool. Yours is an important responsibility, because choosing the right candidate helps to ensure organizational success and employee satisfaction.

  • Prepare for interviews.
  • Ensure that the best candidates are attracted to your organization and accept your job offers.
  • Treat job candidates with respect.
  • Manage the pace of your interviews.
  • Collect information to help you predict how candidates will perform in the job.
  • Evaluate the information you collect in interviews.


Unconscious Bias

Everyone has unconscious biases—they’re the result of the way the brain handles the millions of bits of information bombarding us daily. But our biases can get in the way of our good intentions, limit our own success, and cause us to deny development opportunities to others. The Unconscious Bias microcourse helps learners become aware of their own biases in order to make better decisions.

  • Learn how the brain influences reactions to the world around you.
  • Review common biases and gain insights into your own behavior.
  • Interrupt your biases to make better decisions.


Unleashing Employee Initiative (INVOLVEMENT)

An engaged, committed group is one of the most powerful assets you have when it comes to achieving your team’s goals. You’ll see a leader apply an involvement technique that yields great results with a team that seems to be hanging back. Along with the technique, you’ll learn about pitfalls to avoid as well as the neuroscience behind encouraging employee initiative.

  • Identify mistakes and pitfalls to avoid.
  • Apply insights from neuroscience to unleash initiative.
  • Use a seeking technique to spark greater involvement.



For more information on our microcourses, contact Cindy Connelly, Manager of Events.