CSIS Accelerator Series
The CSIS Accelerator offers training opportunities for rising professionals who wish to reinforce their leadership, management, and communication skills to help accelerate their career growth.
Today’s complex and fast-paced policy environment requires that professionals have the right tools to manage diverse teams, cross-sector programs, and transnational challenges. Participants will learn from CSIS policy experts and top-flight leadership coaches. They will also learn from each other, a select network of professionals from different sectors in Washington, and gain unique insights on how to navigate DC effectively. As a cohort, participants will complete a rigorous series of experiential seminars and workshops, and learn to be strategic, ethical, and agile leaders.
Participants may be nominated by their supervisors or apply directly to the program. Applicants should meet the following criteria:
- Undergraduate degree and 3-8 years of professional experience, or advanced degree and 2+ years of professional experience
- Demonstrated interest in international security, global affairs, economics, political science, or other related area
- Potential to serve in leadership or management role
CSIS is seeking a diverse and accomplished cohort of young leaders who will be able to fully commit to the program and help build a vibrant and engaged peer learning environment. The selection committee will consider candidates’ professional background and leadership potential, as well as demonstrated interest in the four thematic modules: Leadership, Management, Professional Skills, and Communication. Proficiency in English is obligatory.
Tuition covers all course and administrative fees, including speakers, coaches, and course materials.
Tuition does not include meals or transportation. A limited amount of financial aid for candidates in the not-for-profit sector may be available. Applicants will have an opportunity to request financial assistance in the online application form.
HOW TO APPLY
To apply, please submit the following documents:
- Nomination letter from a current supervisor
- Completed application form
DURATIONParticipants may complete courses at their own pace to meet the certificate requirements. Courses are offered over a 9-month time span beginning in April 2019 and ending in December 2019, and primarily held on Thursday afternoons and evenings. Courses may range from 2 to 4 hours, though some may occasionally require a full-day commitment.
CSIS Headquarters, 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Courses will be taught by CSIS scholars, faculty from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, guest lecturers, and executive coaches.
For more information, please contact Ali Corwin, Program Manager, at email@example.com.
CERTIFICATE OF ACHIEVEMENT
To receive a certificate of achievement, participants must complete a minimum of 14 courses. Participants are encouraged to attend as many sessions as possible, and there is no limit to the number of sessions that may be completed.
- Leadership – 2 courses
- Management – 2 courses
- Professional Skills – 2 courses
- Communication – 4 courses
- Electives – 4 courses from any modules
The CSIS Accelerator curriculum provides an opportunity for professionals to enroll in courses that match their needs. Participants may work progressively through the curriculum to continuously refine and apply leadership and management skills.
Writing and Negotiation
|Public Speaking (2-session series)|
Leadership Frameworks and Mindful Leadership
Using self-assessments and case studies, this session focuses on the emotionally intelligent manager and leader, and the interpersonal communication skills essential for mentoring, accountability, and managing conflict. Participants will develop an understanding of the psychological blocks to communicating across teams and techniques to overcome them (listening, advocacy and inquiry, reflective listening and feedback/assertion). Participants will also learn how to consciously and strategically apply different leadership frameworks to team challenges.
- Adopt techniques for coaching team members – up, down, or across
- Learn how to uncover and address personal issues
- Deliver and receive constructive feedback
- Solve problems using different leadership frameworks and approaches
Understanding Temperament and Motivation: Self-Awareness and Team-Building
Participants will take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, a personality assessment used widely by major organizations, to discover how their individual habits of behavior and communication affect their work within teams and their leadership style. This tool is critical for understanding personal strengths and identifying how to harness the greatest potential within others. To succeed, participants must also learn how to identify and understand their personal and professional motivations.
- Recognize a variety of personality types and learn strategies for managing diverse teams
- Determine the strengths and challenges associated with one’s personality type
- Know what motivates you
- Understand how to best communicate with and motivate different personality types
D.C. Power Structures
Effective DC professionals must understand the nuances and motivations of stakeholders within Washington’s political ecosystem. This session will explore how to navigate the nation’s power centers, including government bureaucracies, interagency relations, major NGOs, and trade associations with a basis in constitutional history.
- Understand the pressure points of Washington, DC
- Learn how to make your voice heard and build impactful networks
- Anticipate change and understand underlying motivators
Recognizing and Managing Polarities
Leaders are often faced with complex challenges, and feel that they have to find a solution—the right, or at least the best, answer. However, many complex issues aren’t actually problems, but polarities: dilemmas that are ongoing, unsolvable, and contain seemly opposing ideas. All organizations, teams, and individuals need to navigate the tensions between, for example, centralization and decentralization, empathy and toughness, change and stability, etc. Understanding how to recognize and manage these pairs of interdependent opposites with a “both/and” rather than “either/or” mindset allows leaders to leverage a more sophisticated and adaptive approach.
- Recognize polarities at play in an organizational, team, or personal context
- Use polarity mapping to learn to embrace both interdependent sides of a polarity
- Apply a polarity lens to implement strategy, understand resistance, and navigate change successfully
Leaders are responsible for overseeing change within their organization and identifying opportunities for growth and improvement. Design thinking is a human-centered methodology that frames challenges as a design problem to explore the many ways to develop creative and practical solutions to a question. This session will provide a comprehensive introduction to the design thinking process and engage in a group activity to solve a complex problem by applying the principles of design thinking. Participants will walk away with the tools and framework for understanding how innovation can help tackle problems in their projects, teams, or personal entrepreneurial ventures.
- Understand the design thinking methodology and how to generate entrepreneurial ideas
- Practice solving complex problems through design thinking
- Learn how to facilitate a design thinking session to resolve a project or team challenge
Modern businesses continuously face change, which can be disruptive, inefficient, and unsuccessful if not managed well from the beginning. Successful change requires leaders to build flexible and adaptive work cultures. From managing expectations to ensuring transparent communication, participants will learn how to manage personal and organizational changes by effectively guiding and transitioning individuals, groups, and organizations.
- Understand how to manage organizational change from ideation through to implementation
- Learn the role of communication and leadership in the process of organizational change management
- Develop skills to help build support for change by identifying and engaging influential stakeholders
- Help employees understand the benefits of change
Successful project managers can understand the essence of a project through the project life cycle: defining its scope, building a project team, and monitoring the progress of the project through the duration of its execution. In this online course, participants will learn how to track their workflow and manage any proposals that would change the scope or effect of a project. Examples and templates to use for managing workflows and overseeing the completion of successful projects will be provided.
- Learn the fundamentals of project management
- Understand the definition of a project, including the need for defining its scope and allocating (or obtaining) resources
- Understand what tools are available to assist with project management, and the advantages and disadvantages of each
- Know when to engage stakeholders and how to manage proposed changes
Personal Financial Management
Learning to manage your personal finances is a crucial skill that also applies to successful project management and leadership. In this seminar, participants will learn new budgeting tools and strategies related to individual retirement plans, how to balance a portfolio, what kind of investor you are and how that affects your monetary habits, and different investment strategies.
- Learn new financial strategies that will benefit personal growth
- Understand options that exist to diversify your personal portfolio
- Gain confidence in your personal finances
When managed effectively, a budget can serve as a roadmap for an organization. In this seminar, participants will learn how to read complex budgets and how to develop project or program budgets that align with their company values and priorities. Participants will walk away with tools for understanding true costs, different budgeting systems, and how to incorporate these tools into their workplace.
- Learn how to build a budget with appropriate cost allocation
- Understand the common mistakes in organizational budget management and how to avoid them
Qualitative Data Collection and Research Methods
This workshop considers the design, planning, and execution of data collection. It offers strategies for addressing the intellectual, ethical, logistical, and social challenges that collecting data involves. Participants will discuss a range of "less-interactive" data collection techniques, such as archival research, and several "more-interactive" data collection techniques, such as interviewing and conducting experiments. The class will also consider how researchers can evaluate the evidentiary value of the data they collect and generate. A basic premise underlying the workshop is that researchers often shift among collecting data, analyzing data, and (re)designing their research.
- Understand methodologies for conducting social science research
- Learn how to design an appropriate research strategy with the help of a data collection plan
- Make ethical decisions when managing and manipulating data
Quantitative Data Management
We all come into contact with numbers in one way or another. In this online course, participants will learn to organize, manage, and manipulate numbers in Excel. This course will be a general overview for those looking to brush up on their Excel skills or learn new ways to engage with their data.
- Learn how to utilize Excel and formulas to most effectively record, analyze and store data
- Understand how to apply best methodologies for Excel management
This session will introduce participants to the different tools and best practices for data visualization, allowing them to develop more sophisticated presentations that succinctly capture large data sets and complex ideas. These techniques may be applied to various delivery platforms, such as PowerPoint, but also outreach materials and program documents, including spreadsheets, reports, and websites. Participants will also receive an introduction to open source tools and platforms to understand the basics of digital communication and how to turn data into graphs, images, and more.
- Compute complex ideas in a creative and visual way
- Understand best practices for creating engaging and approachable presentations
- Develop the confidence to use new platforms and innovative tools
- Understand the basics and how to get started with coding and other digital tools
Social Media Trends and Engagement Strategies
This session will examine the opportunities and challenges of today's fast-changing media and online environment. Participants will discuss current trends in global news and social media and learn how to work within that landscape to develop a responsible business (and personal) brand. Participants will gain an understanding of how to navigate traditional media outlets, and how organizations can maximize their impact through different social media channels to help their work get noticed. Trends in fake news as well as data analytics and tools to measure audience impact will also be explored.
- Understand media, public attitudes, and online behavior trends
- Understand different media platforms, trends, opportunities, and challenges
- Learn how to build effective social media campaigns
- Learn how to measure online engagement and impact
Working with Congress
This session will focus on understanding the structure of Congress, the legislative process, and methods of engagement. It will allow participants to better navi¬gate Capitol Hill, including formal and informal decision structures; to understand key parliamentary procedures, policy, and budget cycles; and to track legislative activ¬ity and think strategically about working with caucuses, committees, members, and staff.
- Understand how to navigate formal and informal structures within the Congressional ecosystem
- Learn how to more effectively engage Congress to maximize impact
- Determine the appropriate way to engage Congress in a range of circumstances
How to Conduct a Policy Briefing
Delivering concise, clear briefings is a critical skill for policy professionals. It is equally important to understand one's audience and know how to adjust talking points to effectively brief a range of stakeholders. In this session, participants will learn how to break down complex information into a succinct narrative, and how to convey that information with authority, confidence, and clarity while being cognizant of their audience.
- Learn policy briefing conventions and standards
- Prepare and deliver effective briefings
- Communicate complex, nuanced ideas clearly and quickly
- Understand best practices for PowerPoint presentations and other visual aides
On-Camera Media Training (2 part series)
Participants will receive coaching in effective public speaking and practice personal presentations to increase confidence and become effective communicators, regardless of audience size. Participants will also have an opportunity to practice giving on-camera interviews and fielding questions from a reporter, an important skill that can be applied to job interviews, client and donor meetings, and networking events. They will leave with a nuanced understanding on how to turn complex, lengthy information into digestible soundbites, how to think on their feet, and how to control an interview or conversation.
- Improve oral presentation skills
- Develop and practice the physical skills required for effective delivery
- Mitigate nervousness by employing stress management tools
- Display confidence as a presenter in front of small and large audiences
- Successfully communicate your personal narrative at formal and informal networking events
- Control an interview or conversation
Moderating Panels (2 part series)
This session will arm participants with the necessary skills to successfully moderate a panel. Participants will learn how to direct the flow of conversation and keep speakers on topic, how to field questions from an audience and guide the interaction between speakers, and how to summarize and wrap up important information that was exchanged during the panel.
- Learn how to control the flow of conversation and keep panelists on topic and within their time allotment
- Understand how to pick up key takeaways from the conversation to summarize for the audience
Participants will receive networking and business specific etiquette training to better navigate professional events and personal encounters. Networking etiquette will focus on preparation before events, introductions and interactions, and how to maintain a professional presence during and after an event.
- Learn proper networking and business etiquette for professionals
- Improve personal presentation and gain skills that help shape a professional image and reputation
- Practice work-appropriate social skills and learn how to make an effective elevator pitch
This course will focus on the skills involved in presenting effectively to small and large audiences. In a small, supportive classroom environment, participants will learn to communicate their ideas effectively using verbal techniques. They also learn important listening skills, and peer evaluations of student speeches are an important component of the course.
- Practice delivering speeches in a small group setting
- Receive and deliver effective feedback to peers
- Learn techniques to improve self-evaluation of presentation skills
WRITING AND NEGOTIATION
How to Write a Policy Brief (2 part series)
This course will prepare participants to draft high-quality policy briefs that are succinct, free of jargon and written in plain English, enabling the reader to quickly identify any key lessons and understand how and where these might be applied in practice. For any policy brief there will be a tradeoff between providing depth of context and delivering something that is concise, targeted, and digestible. Learning to balance this tradeoff is one of the key skills of writing for policy.
- Clearly outline research findings, policy recommendations, and action items
- Effectively communicate high-level information to senior decisionmakers
- Understand how to discern and narrow important information from multiple sources
This course will focus on the skills involved in selecting, researching, organizing, and writing persuasive messages. Participants will learn techniques for creating speeches that engage, persuade and inspire an audience using image, metaphor and story, while also getting key messages across.
- Learn how to create clear, concise outlines for written and oral discourse
- Learn how to incorporate examples and evidence in public speaking
- Learn to tailor a message to a particular audience
Grant Proposal Writing
Proposal writing is an essential skill for business-savvy professionals, particularly as the funding environment becomes more competitive and revenue streams fluctuate. From learning how to identify donor priorities to making the pitch, participants will learn how to effectively outline, write, and pitch proposals to donors, including private sector partners and government agencies.
- Understand what makes a grant proposal competitive
- Learn best practices for writing different grant proposals
- Create an example of an effective grant proposal
- Learn how to pitch proposals to a donor
Negotiation Strategies (2 part series)
Clear and effective communication is key to negotiating successful outcomes for personal objectives or business development. Leaders must actively and skillfully connect with all negotiating parties, and work towards mutually agreeable solutions while still ensuring their primary objectives are met. This course will examine the principles of successful negotiation and allow participants to practice strategies that lead to successful business outcomes.
- Plan and implement strategies for successful negotiation outcomes
- Learn tactics to advance business interests
- Understand how outcomes should be incorporated into agreements
- Practice negotiation skills with other colleagues
In this course, participants will take a deep-dive into anthropological and philosophical perspectives on cross-cultural communication and dynamics of conflict in everyday situations across the world. By engaging in a range of activities, this interactive workshop will give participants greater cultural awareness, and techniques for cross-cultural communication and conflict management.
- Define culture beyond the reified notion of the "other"
- Identify nonverbal communication, language, tone, and hidden knowledge in others
- Confidently and successfully resolve conflicts using communication and facilitation tools
- Navigate cultural dynamics, such as norms and customs, when traveling or interacting with diverse groups