Learning Center - Building Teams and Developing Leaders
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Founder of
Learning Center:
Dr. Arky Ciancutti
Our Mission
To be a worldwide influence in establishing teamwork, trust and honest communication as the basis for interaction. We embody and teach respect, courage and closure as the means to enhance peace and productivity within people and organizations.



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What We Do
Since 1976 Learning Center has supplied fully customized team and leadership development solutions to industry worldwide. We work to a desired outcome list, often objective and always specific—and absolutely guarantee our work.

Through the years, our client list has included enterprises of almost every description, from startup company management consulting, to IBM Worldwide and Elan Pharmaceuticals, from hi-tech through rock-n-roll to health care delivery and the Federal Reserve Bank.

Learning Center workshops are raising the performance bar in corporate America and throughout the world. Our client partners are organizations that require performance improvement, whether a whole company or a unit of a whole company. We look for leaders committed to long term competitive advantage through the conscious creation of positive culture based on teamwork, accountability, closure and earned trust. Learning Center gives definition to the art of execution in business.

We are experienced with technology, manufacturing, service and health-care, startups of nearly every description and business mergers with different cultures.

Our favorite projects involve conversion of an entire culture from Random to Leadership culture. These projects usually start with the Lead Team and extend across, down and back up the organization over a period of 12-18 months. The result is a lasting competitive edge based on closure, accountability, commitment and the conversion of any them vs. us dynamics to a culture of earned trust.

Our approach includes methodologies for 1) pre-seminar interviews and audits to establish performance benchmarks, 2) a one to two day foundation training seminar with the full team, and 3) a wide variety of follow-up mechanisms to ensure full adoption of the delivered principles and achievement of client goals.

This approach has proven effective with large organizations such as IBM Worldwide, Novell and Knight-Ridder, as well as academic organizations such as The Stanford Graduate School of Business (Sloan Program). The Learning Center (TLC) has also had significant success with high growth smaller companies with fewer than 500 employees. Clients in this category include Macrovision, Consilium, ILC Technology, Mylex, Synergen Associates, Intellicorp and others. TLC has had significant success with startups as well, with Interop, Women.com, I-Pass, Greenough Communications and WorldRes as recent examples.

We also provide proven training courses with products in the following areas:

  • High Performance Teamwork
  • Leadership Development
  • Optimizing Change Strategies
  • Facilitation and Meeting Skills
  • Converting Risk-Aversion
  • Organizational Renewal

How We Do It
We use a combination of workshop and one-on-one coaching. Though we design and coordinate every project, all of our courseware is available for train-the-trainer.

We work with current, real challenges and opportunities within the organization. Our approach to each participant is customized and strictly self-discovery, never intrusive. Entire departments can be "assigned" to participate, and despite any initial skepticism enjoy the session and win in a multitude of performance areas. In every instance, we help participants bring to closure all major challenges, ending the foundation sessions with written business plans and proposals. We then follow each to completion (or train your professional trainers or your operators to do so). Case Studies.

Our Guiding Principles for Customized Projects
• We will continuously tackle the toughest "real time" challenges.

• We will bring everything to closure.

• We won't make extra work. Everything will be aligned/synergized with current goals and leadership/team initiatives. Participants will learn by doing, observing the results and leveraging.

• We will take ownership and build both trust and pride.

• We will facilitate a "we" culture.

• We will facilitate converting complaints into solutions.

• We will think and act inclusively with our communications and solutions.

• We will support the result until it's stable, then turn it over to your Team Champions.

The Time It Takes
We do not require a lot of time with your people. We precede all seminar work with assessment, often including private interviews. Here we assimilate a cross-section of opinion and perception and create with you clear desired outcome lists. Based on the resulting customization, we then provide each participant with brief pre-session work.

For the seminars themselves, one and a half to two days is usually plenty for the senior leadership foundation session. Plan on one full day for each foundation session for the rest of the workforce. We provide maintenance for all projects. Follow-up sessions vary from quarter through half-days to full days, spaced about quarterly (depending on participant initiatives and company growth). In these sessions, we follow initiatives, help correct and leverage slippage, include new hires, present new material and expand the foundation through topics such as Change, Growth, Culture and Leverage.

How It Starts
We often start with the Senior or Lead Team, consulting with and reviewing your needs. Send us an email at info@learningcenter.net and we'll send a proposal. No charge.

25 Years and Counting
Learning Center was founded in 1974 by Arthur R. (Arky) Ciancutti, M.D., at the time a practicing pediatrician. Early in his practice, Dr. Ciancutti discovered that he was better trained for the physical problems in his practice than he was for the relationship problems common in pediatrics.

Intrigued, he headed for the library to learn about "teamwork," whereupon (in 1973) he found nothing at all! This discovery led to a series of major changes: the first was from pediatrics to emergency medicine. Arky helped pioneer emergency medicine as a specialty for seven years while simultaneously studying multi-disciplined, cross-functional approaches to problems in the Emergency Department, with immediate and very visible results and consequences.

The resulting discoveries led to the simultaneous evolution of The Natural Learning Center (today's Learning Center), originally built around the principles and skills effective in the Emergency Department and today dedicated to customized use in the business and healthcare industry consulting worldwide. The Learning Center was the first to provide teamwork training to these communities.

Through the years, the foundation materials of Learning Center have acted as a springboard for many projects. For instance:

  • In the early nineties, IBM hired Learning Center to help solve what they perceived to be a critical problem. After decades of market dominance, some IBM employees felt “entitled” to continued success, and were having difficulty making the changes required to step up to new competition that was capturing IBM’s market share. The result was a course for managers—“Ball & Change”—which guided participants through the emotional mazes of difficult change and emphasized the dangers of complacency. The course was fun and productive, and won IBM’s award that year for most innovative course. It led to Learning Center’s engagement to create “Choice Points,” a course designed to eliminate unnecessary risk aversion that targeted all IBM managers world-wide.
  • Elan Pharmaceuticals likewise hired Learning Center for an application of TLC method for closure communication; one that would ensure that their complex cross-functional compliance team would receive FDA approval for a very high profile pharmaceutical that is successful in the market today.
  • Applied Materials also needed a refinement: more accurate execution of projects handed off from senior executive to senior administrator.
  • Utilicorp needed a way to ensure success in a newly decentralized and growing management system.
  • Sun Microsystems needed a format that would ensure better forecasting coordination between Finance and Sales.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank San Francisco needed more balance between the investment and the regulatory sides of the house.
  • Novell needed a system to build more trust in a shifting management structure.
  • Stanford Research Institute (SRI) needed to instill more profit motive in some of the most effective independent basic research done in the United States.
  • Women.com needed strategies for growth, and their ultimate sale, through mergers and acquisitions.
  • Tandem Computers needed to change its initial marketing strategy from sales to “mom & pop” businesses to larger, more centralized customers.
  • The Stanford Sloan Program wanted a strong introduction to teamwork and the perils of Us versus Them activity as part of a kickoff to their yearly program.
  • ROLM needed to reconcile its initially dual product line of field computers and telephone systems.
  • The Sharper Image needed an interactive program for its managers that detailed the relationship between trust and high performance.
  • Spinecare and SOAR (the San Francisco 49’ers physicians) needed improved business growth strategies.
  • The Tosco/Avon Refinery needed, by law, to demonstrate better execution between management and its bargaining unit in order to re-open after a catastrophic explosion.
  • Aquila needed more successful strategies to hedge risk in natural gas futures transactions and thus protect its parent company’s value.
  • The University of San Francisco Medical Center needed a way to combine managements and reduce overhead expenses by $25 million annually after a major merger.
  • The American Conservatory Theater (ACT) needed better coordination between the business and the artistic sides of the house.

We’ve mentioned here some company names that we think you may recognize. We have not included the hundreds of lesser-known company names: the startups, the “small businesses,” the non-profit organizations and the many other organizations that range from successful dot-coms to Native American schools: heroes, in our view, of successful innovation. But the success of every one of these projects is based on Learning Center methods.

Dr. Arky Ciancutti still directs The Learning Center and actively teaches.

Dr. Arky Ciancutti now conducts some leadership workshops at his award-winning lodge in Mendocino, California. Contact Learning Center for details.
TAKE ACTION NOW For free consultation on your critical team/leader/performance issues,
or leadership training seminars in California or your own state/country
email info@learningcenter.net .

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