Our work at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources combined professional development with strategic planning in a one or two-day workshops over two months. A newly assigned department manager brought her twenty-five person department together to help the sometimes fractious group work more productively with her and with each other, to develop a strategic plan, and to begin implementation. Giving them hands-on experience using the systemic tools enabled them to see their operations in a new way, to talk about the relationships among the parts, and to see areas needing attention. In addition, to address some stuck interpersonal situations, personal team building exercises were also performed which resulted in a breakthrough, personalized understanding of a commonly occurring dynamic, escalation. Conversation tools to work through misunderstandings, and to show mutual respect were offered and incorporated into the toolset.