Employee Registration Details

Based on current circumstances and President Bollinger's guidance, all in-person workshops for the remainder of the fiscal year have been canceled.  We will be adding virtual and/or online learning options over the coming weeks.  Please continue to check back for new offerings.  

Registration & Pricing Policy

When registering for a course in ELM, you will be prompted to provide your department chartstring. If you do not know this information, please reach out to your manager, department administrator (DA) or finance contact within your school/department.

Your chartstring should consist of both your department number and project number

  • Department numbers are seven digits; example: 1234576
  • Project Numbers begin with UR/GG/PG/ or CP and are followed by six digits; example: UR009999

Access the Register for a Course Employees job aid for detailed instructions.

Email hrlearning@columbia.edu if you need further assistance.

Course registrations should be canceled at least seven days prior to the scheduled workshop date to ensure the full cost is waived. If the cancellation is not received within seven days, the full cost of the course will be charged to the registrant. The cancellation period allows wait-listed participants an opportunity to attend.

Course Offerings by Category

Influencing Without Authority on 4/1

Presenting Ideas with Impact on 4/1

*NEW* Improv for Better Communication on 4/29

Resolving Conflict with PACE on 3/10

Strategic Career Planning on 3/24

Discover Your Strengths and Work Potential on 3/24

Presenting Ideas with Impact on 4/1

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People on 4/7 - 4/8

*NEW* Building Relationships with Emotional Intelligence on 4/15

*NEW* Creative Thinking and Brainstorming Techniques on 4/15

Giving Feedback to Your Team and Effectively Delegating on 4/22

Having Challenging Conversations on 4/22

*NEW* Leading through Communication on 4/28

*NEW* Effective Writing Skills on 4/29

*NEW* Improv for Better Communication

Essentials to Managing at Columbia University on 4/21

Giving Feedback to Your Team and Effectively Delegating on 4/22

*NEW* Leading through Communication on 4/28

*UPDATED* Performance Management for Managers on 5/6

Managing Union Staff on 5/12

Leave Management on 5/12

Microsoft Office – Excel 2016 Level 1 on 3/12

Managing Your Time and Priorities at Work on 3/25

*NEW* Project Management Essentials for the Unofficial Project Manager on 3/31

Microsoft Office – Excel 2016 Level 2 on 4/7

Microsoft Office – Excel 2016 Level 3 on 4/21

Microsoft Office - Excel 2016 Advanced Pivot Tables on 4/29

Microsoft Office - Excel 2016 The Fundamentals of Macros on 4/29

Turn a Good Idea Into a Great One with Creative Thinking & Brainstorming

Discover how to turn a good idea into a great one with the Six Thinking Hats methodology.
One of my most life-changing moments took place back in college: I was giving a presentation on a product I had been developing over the semester, and midway through my talk, the professor interrupted with a question that caught me off guard: “Can we see the other concepts you worked on?” My face turned red. The answer was no, because I didn’t have any. I was presenting the only idea I had worked on, because I thought it was great. The instructor was less than impressed. Walking out of the classroom a little while later, I looked down at notes my instructor had left for me on my assignment. There, scribbled in red pen, were instructions that would fundamentally change how I approach my ideas: “Research the Six Thinking Hats Method.” Six Thinking Hats is a system designed in the 1980s by the psychologist and inventor Edward de Bono. The process involves wearing different imaginary “hats,” which represent different mindsets and emotions, allowing people to look at an idea from various angles with a different focus each time. “The main difficulty of thinking is confusion,” de Bono has said. “We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls.” Originally developed as a way to make meetings more productive, Six Thinking Hats has since been adopted by the creative world as a way to critique ideas. The method allows you to be creative and bold in a safe space, while forcing you to also be honest and realistic. While you can use it in meetings, I like to use it on my own — I think of it as having a personal team of consultants, each with their own expertise. But in this case, they’re all living inside my brain. The Six Thinking Hats are as follows: The Blue Hat, also known as the Management Hat, is used at the start of the conversation to define the outlines of an idea, and at the end to summarize and draw conclusions. With this hat, you’re stepping back and getting the 10,000-foot-view of your idea, getting a sense of what to look at during and after the critique. Next comes the White Hat. When wearing this hat, you are looking for facts and data. This should be the first hat you use after setting your outline, as it allows you to establish relevant facts and information about your idea. Ask yourself: What is the concept, in its basic form? What is its purpose? Who does it serve? You should also use this hat to discover any gaps in your knowledge and understanding of your concept. The Yellow Hat brings a bit of positivity, and establishes the value of what you’re working on. Ask yourself: What is great about your idea? What benefits would it bring? Remember to keep your enthusiasm in check, though. Look for the true value in the concept, and keep expectations realistic. The Red Hat comes next. This is where you can get a little emotional. With this hat on, you’re looking for the emotive response you get from your idea. Ask yourself: How does this make me feel? What is my reaction when I first see this idea? Then think outside yourself — what would a user’s reaction be, if they had never seen it before? Now, we flip things upside down and get ruthlessly negative with the Black Hat. Ask yourself: Why wouldn’t your idea work? What are the issues and flaws? What are the drawbacks? By uncovering the potential problems, you can remove them and develop a stronger concept. Be careful not to bring in this hat too early in the discussions, as it can hinder any positive ideas that may come up. It’s time to let your mind off the leash with the Green Hat. Now that you’re aware of potential issues and flaws, how are you going to work through them? Ask yourself: What can you improve? What can be reiterated? Or is there a completely fresh idea forming in your head? If so, what is it? This is where you can get creative and begin fresh brainstorming. Use everything you have gained from the exercise to begin developing new ideas and directions. The day I learned about the Six Thinking Hats was the day I learned an important, if uncomfortable lesson: Even if you’re amped about an idea — even if you’ve run through it in your head a hundred times, sketched out a logo, and prepared to release it to wild acclaim — that idea may still suck. Or at the very least, it may need to be seriously refined. When you hold on too tightly to your original concept, because of your pride or your ego, it blinds you to the possibilities ahead. The Six Thinking Hats can transform your idea from something mediocre to something good, and from something good to something that could change your life.