Fundamentals of Professional Practice




  • Developed for a firm’s “rising stars”; those with leadership potential to whom management responsibilities soon will be or recently have been assigned. Many FOPP alumni are CEOs or other C-level leaders of their firms.
  • Six months of remote study and practical research capped by a powerful 2½-day seminar.
  • Designed to emulate a small project the FOPP participant must manage and perform. Research shows that project risk is inversely proportional to project size and complexity.
  • Six months of role-play give participants simulated, almost-real experience dealing with the riskiest of all project types. FOPP participants each represent their firm in establishing and maintaining a relationship with a sometimes-unpleasant, curmudgeonly client representative who uses sometimes-caustic remarks to convey his expectations and the FOPP participant’s ability to meet them. Few FOPP participants have ever before experienced such “school-of-hard-knocks” learning…outside of a courtroom.
  • Important research, designed to improve the firm or the profession. The value some firms derive from the research project – e.g., develop a records-retention policy, analyze past projects to learn why they lost money, bring new clients aboard – more than pays for their cost of the course. Participants can choose from a compendium of 70-plus assignments or create one of their own.
  • Unparalleled writing guidance provided by John Bachner, the Harvard English major who created FOPP. John scrutinizes and comments on everything participants write for the course – every letter, every e-mail, every proposal, and every report – with an eye toward helping participants improve their writing skills (principally through simplification) while reducing ambiguity and risk exposure. John does this while playing the role of the unpleasant client representative.
  • Professionalism is strongly encouraged. Just as in “real life,” participants are “punished” (low grades, withering comments) for not asking questions, making assumptions, failing to follow instructions, submitting deliverables late, sloppy work, and similar common failings that often result in client loss and claims.
  • New knowledge about how professionals should conduct themselves in business. Practice Management for Design Professionals is the text. John Bachner is the author.
  • Each participant works with a mentor within the sponsoring firm, to provide reassurance, encouragement, and guidance.
  • Participants have described the 2½ -day course-concluding seminar as “amazing,” “revelatory,” and “inspiring.” Participants exercise public-speaking skills by making presentations to fellow participants. Working overtime, they analyze a case history then answer probing questions. Participants receive an inside look at what really went wrong at the Kansas City Hyatt. A top-flight instructor provides in-depth guidance to enhance active-listening skills. Participants engage in a dispute-resolution experience unlike any other then, on the final day, they look into the future to identify the challenges and how to overcome them. They also learn the importance of getting out of the office, into the community, where they can do well by doing good. Many participants return from this seminar with perspectives changed for the better.
  • FOPP seminar participants work mostly in small groups that are individually led by volunteer facilitators, many of whom are CEOs who requested the opportunity.

FUNDAMENTALS OF PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE begins in late August. No more than 150 may enroll. Space is available on a first-come, first-served basis; we can hold space without obligation, until tuition is due. Call 301/565-2733 or e-mail and/or for more information or to reserve space for the next class.


Mentors click here

See what FOPP 23 participants thought about their course!

See results of FOPP 20 participants' one-year-later survey!
See results of FOPP 21 participants' one-year-later survey!
See results of FOPP 22 participants' one-year-later survey!

 FOPP 24 Assignment Compendium

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