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Building a Mindset for Professional Development and Growth

How to thrive in times of ambiguity

Susanna Katsman

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” —Wayne Dyer

Ambiguity that accompanies rapid change can be seen as a hindrance to maintaining focus and productivity in the workplace. This course will reveal that, when approached with awareness, intention, and curiosity, the ambiguity can fuel personal development, professional growth and innovation. Learn proven techniques for situating yourself in the eye of the storm and growing your personal resilience and influence amidst the changes and ambiguity in the workplace.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, hands-on, online course, you’ll understand:

  • How VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) concept plays out in the workplace and take a deep dive into the Ambiguous aspect of VUCA
  • How change differs from transition: “Change is an event, but a transition is the process that you go through in response to the change.” (William Bridges)
  • Why Ambiguity creates fertile environment in which individuals can grow their personal power and collectively transform their organizations through innovation

And you’ll be able to:

  • Recognize signs of VUCA in the workplace and anticipate the effects of increasing Ambiguity
  • Navigate stages of transition with awareness and confidence, leading yourself and your teams through disorientation of Ambiguity
  • Practice the habit of situating yourself in the eye of the storm and continually grow your personal influence thereby benefiting yourself, your team, and your organization

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re a skilled professional seeking to use organizational change and ambiguity that comes with it to your advantage
  • You are looking for tools to keep yourself (and your team) thriving and performing amidst the challenges of modern world and workplace
  • You want to keep developing as a person and professional no matter what life throws your way


  • Experience working in an office setting

Recommended preparation: Download and print out a copy of the Building a Mindset for Professional Development and Growth Worksheet. You will complete this worksheet during the course; no need to fill it out just yet!

Recommended follow-up:

About your instructor

  • Susanna Katsman is passionate about supporting the development of emerging leaders. She skillfully guides her program participants to identify their goals and facilitates the achievement of meaningful and sustainable changes in mindset and behavior. Her work is based on Adult Development and Adaptive Leadership theories and includes tools such as Immunity to Change, Communication Style Diagnostic, DiSC and CliftonStrengths.

    Over the past twenty years Susanna has held leadership roles in Fundraising Development Operations and Organizational Development within Health Care and Higher Education sectors, including overseeing Training & Development on the Harvard Longwood Campus. As a result, she has over ten years of experience designing and delivering programs across organizational functions.

    Susanna holds an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, an M.A. in Biology from Brandeis University and is trained and qualified in Immunity to Change Facilitation by Minds at Work. In addition to serving her client organizations, she subcontracts as a Senior Facilitator and Consultant for Orange Grove Consulting and as an Associate for Minds at Work. Susanna is also a member of the instructor team for the Harvard Extension School Professional Development Program “Essential Management Skills for Emerging Leaders.”


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Presentation: VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous)
  • Hands-on exercises: Individual reflection, sharing examples

First two stages of transition process (20 minutes)

  • Presentation: Change vs. transition, transition begins with a loss, transition brings ambiguity
  • Hands-on exercises: two polls, individual reflection, sharing examples

Navigating ambiguity and exercising personal influence (25 minutes)

  • Presentation: overview of Circle of Influence/Circle of Concern model, influencing without authority
  • Hands-on exercises: Examples of influential people, filling in Circle of Influence/Circle of Concern in the worksheet, discussion

Break (5 minutes)

Ambiguity as a necessary condition for personal development, professional growth, and innovation (35 minutes) Presentation: Transition culminates with new beginning, technical problem vs adaptive

  • challenge, ambiguity supports development of adult mental complexity, recommended resources to support continued growth
  • Hands-on exercises: Poll, individual reflection

Final discussion, Q&A, feedback (25 minutes)