Decisions by Design

Decisions by Design

Decision-Making • Communication • Leadership


Upcoming Course: TBD

Location: UT Austin

Cost: $650-$1,000

Course Description

Quality decisions can be measured by their level of clarity, efficiency, and commitment. In this seminar, we explore a decision-making approach that focuses on each of these at the right point in the process with the right people involved.

We build upon this proven approach by exploring the mindsets required for good habit formation, connecting the behaviors needed for high-impact decisions with your organizational values, and unlocking the skills needed to execute. The outcome? The ability and interest in making efficient, thoughtful, results-oriented decisions throughout your organization.

You will be asked to bring a real decision that you are currently facing to use throughout the seminar to ensure that you will move real work forward and be comfortable and confident applying the Decisions by Design approach to future decisions.

Course Leader(s)

Cyndee Lake, MA is Chief Purpose Officer and Co-Founder of Blank Page, a people-focused design and strategy practice in Austin, Texas and holds a Master of Arts in the Human Dimensions of Organizations from The University of Texas at Austin. Blank Page designs innovative and immersive experiences that unlock untapped potential in individuals, teams and organizations.

Cyndee brings 30+ years of leadership and business success in a variety of industries. She has a proven track record of strategic thinking, sustainable change leadership, service and product design, business process improvement, project execution, cultural transformation and building high performing teams. She is well known for her ability to balance judgment and rigor in serving the needs of stakeholders, while simultaneously leveraging curiosity, compassion, constructive dialogue and experimentation to drive results. Cyndee’s core strengths include facilitation, communication, decision making, inspiring and enabling change, and solving complex business problems.

Learning Objectives

Decision-Making Practices

Those making, facilitating, or participating in strategic, operational, or tactical decision-making within any organization can benefit from developing five practices that are infused throughout the seminar.

Judgment and Courage

Knowing what kind of decision you need to make and what the criteria are for deciding and making the final call is not easy and requires judgment and courage to be effective. When multiple stakeholders are involved, establishing accountability and using effective escalation techniques are critical to reducing complexity and ambiguity while also increasing the confidence and speed of the decision.

Stakeholder Engagement

Exploring and understanding who needs to be involved in the decision and what roles/responsibilities are needed to achieve the outcome is critical to decision making in an organization. A strategy for how and when to engage identified stakeholders who have interest and influence in what you are doing ensures that you are able to unlock commitment to the decision.

Clear Line of Sight

Every decision should clearly align with the company’s values and strategy. The scope of the decision should be explicitly defined so that connections to what matters are logical and easy to understand.

Accountability and Commitment to the Outcome

Using a rigorous approach to define roles and responsibilities for each decision is instrumental in ensuring the smart use of your resources during the decision-making process.

Engaging Hearts, Minds, and Hands

Who, what, where, when, and how we communicate can accelerate and prioritize the action required from the decision, or unravel it. Communicating decisions with clarity and purpose will help to maintain a line of sight, establishes understanding, obtains commitment, and generates action towards great results.

This seminar is highly interactive and will be your catalyst to:

  • Creating clarity in the decision-making process by defining what success looks like
  • Building efficiency into the process by involving the right people, at the right time, with a focus on what matters to the organization
  • Setting decisions up to right-size the process based on complexity, stakes, and potential impact
  • Driving commitment to the decision by owning the outcome through clear communication and measurement of results
  • Pushing decisions down into the organization to maximize efficiency
Details & Registration

Location: UT Austin
Upcoming Program(s): TBD
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Continuing Education Units (CEUs): 0.6 CEUs will be awarded upon completion of this program (six hours of instruction)


One-Day Seminar Pricing:

  • Standard Registration: $1,000
  • UT System Staff/Alumni Registration: $650
  • Educator, Nonprofit, Government, Military Registration: $650

If you have questions prior to registering, please see our Professional Training FAQ or contact Miles Husid, HDO’s Marketing Coordinator, at

Who Should Participate?

The majority of participants in our Seminars and Certificate Programs are mid- and upper-level professionals working in the business, nonprofit, government, or military sectors; however, professionals at all levels of experience are welcome to participate. There are no prerequisites for enrolling in an HDO Professional Seminar.

While all HDO Seminars are developed with wide-ranging applicability in mind, the following individuals and groups will likely find Decisions by Design most directly relevant to their work:


  • Senior/Executive Leadership
  • Middle Management
  • Team Leaders & Supervisors
  • Consultants
  • Project Managers
  • Fundraising & Development Teams & Individuals

HDO Seminars prepare me in ways that I didn’t even know were possible. The lessons constantly open my mind to new ways of thinking and interacting with people and my surroundings.

Rachel White, Public Affairs Representative, College of Liberal Arts, the University of Texas at Austin

One-Day Professional Seminars

Our seminars combine cutting-edge research with real-world application to provide practical and immediately relevant tools for solving key organizational problems, ranging from personal motivation and growth to strategic leadership.

Businesses and nonprofits often bring outside specialists on board to improve their organization’s overall efficiency, creativity, and productivity. Participants in our seminars learn to function as “internal consultants,” equipped with new skills and insights to enhance their existing expertise and institutional knowledge.

By exploring specific human, cultural, and communicatory aspects of organizations alongside professionals from a diverse range of industries, participants leave HDO seminars more effective, well-rounded employees.

Two Options to Learn

HDO Professional Seminars may be taken individually or as part of a four-course Certificate Program. This course is part of the Strategic Leadership Certificate Program. 

Courses Led by Top Faculty

“I love the structure of these courses – incredible instructors from various backgrounds, opening minds to consider different solutions to common organizational problems.”

Sarah Gerichten, Director of Marketing, Square Root, Inc

Registration & Fees

Standard Registration: $1,000
Discounted Registration: $650

Discounted registration is available for UT alumni and staff, as well as individuals who work in the nonprofit, education, government, or military sectors.

Our registration system accepts payment by credit/debit card, check, and purchase order. We also accept Interdepartmental Transfer (IDT) payments for UT Austin faculty and staff.

Transformative Experiences

“As a professional, I don’t always have time for continuing education, and frankly, much of it goes ‘in one ear and out the other.’ HDO seminars are different. Not only do they provide an invigorating and inspiring experience, you learn tangible, applicable, and very relevant tools and techniques to apply to your everyday life. The way I look at the work I do has changed and the impact on my overall effectiveness has been substantial. These seminars give you a new lens through which life and work just make more sense!”

Rachel Fox, Senior IT Manager, Hewlett-Packard (HP)

UT Austin