From initial engagement through to delivery including all aspects of design, administration, delivery and feedback, the outcome has been a great success.
Impact & Influence: The Soft Sell
The City of London Corporation is an historic and uniquely diverse organisation, with a wide remit that goes beyond that of an ordinary local authority:
- to support and promote London as the world's leading international financial and business centre and attract new business to the capital and the whole UK
- to work in partnership with local communities to increase skills, employment and opportunities for all Londoners, including through the City Bridge Trust
- to enhance the capital as a hub of culture, history and green spaces for Londoners – residents, workers, and visitors.
Customer Satisfaction Returns had highlighted issues of engagement with stakeholders, and it was clear the organisation needed more officers able to influence, explain, coach and get buy in to the organisation’s significant corporate change projects.
In particular, the Head of Procurement needed more members of his department to be able to influence stakeholders at all levels within the business. Increasing capability and capacity to create a compelling workforce would not only reduce the pressure on him thus freeing up time for other key tasks, but would enhance their collective ability to deliver their ambitious growth programme.
The participant group chosen for the programme comprised sixteen senior individuals being Procurement Category Managers, Finance Business Partners, and IT Business Partners, who had identified in their personal development plans the need to gain techniques and confidence in managing stakeholder communications in a range of different forums from small group meetings to presenting to leadership, elected members and category and other boards.
Key areas for enhancement include: an awareness of their own and others communication styles; understanding how to flex their style; acquiring an assertiveness and communication ‘toolset’ for use in discussions; presenting in a more compelling way to achieve greater influence and impact.
We designed a four day Leadership Programme titled “Impact & Influence: The Soft Sell” and launched it with a one- hour motivational seminar, led jointly by the Head of Procurement and KWC Faculty. The aim was to set expectations, get buy-in from all delegates, and create a sense of anticipation and excitement about the journey ahead. ....and the event did just that.
Over the next few months, the Progamme then rolled out:
- Day One: Communication and Engagement- Flexing Your Style
Focus on: assertive behaviours and thinking; understanding the concepts of social styles and versatility; flexing to the listener, situation. Including situational pieces for the team to link concepts and learning to their own roles and work challenges.
- Day Two: Stepping Up - Influencing with Clarity, Focus and Power
Focus on: the key EI skills of star performers; how to influence and persuade effectively; having your own short ‘elevator’ pitches and knowing when to use them; understanding the four stages of key meetings, and how to navigate through them to get a positive outcome.
- Day Three: Perfecting Your Pitch - Presenting Your Messages Effectively
Focus on: enhancing the ability of individuals and the team as a whole to present their information and expert insights in a more compelling way to achieve greater influence and impact (and assist in achieving their strategic business objectives). Includes presentations and video feedback.
- Day Four: The Key Meetings - Getting A Positive Outcome
Focus on: your most difficult meetings; asking questions; making it their idea; getting a positive outcome.
The client provided a variety of historic and creative venues for delivery, from the Barbican to the Guildhall, to ensure everyone would be in a new environment each time to keep the delegates thinking and intrigued in every aspect of the Programme.
The team felt drained (in a good way!) after each session but very reflective and committed to applying what they had learned about themselves and the technical aspects taught on the Programme. This was clear from the feedback and results in the months afterwards with 93% saying they had directly applied the learning to their jobs/roles. As one person explained, “A combination of training elements, including relevant examples, exercises and valuable feedback has allowed me to become more focussed and goal oriented and to worry less which has been liberating.”
Delegates reported that their confidence was much higher, and that they had an increased self-awareness of how to flex and adapt to others. They also reported examples of presenting more effectively in all environments, influencing and achieving better outcomes in various different meeting settings, whilst all the time nurturing their business relationships.
This is elegantly summed up by one delegate who said “My job role is all about influencing stakeholders and change management so the course was really relevant. The skills and knowledge I picked up about self awareness, an understanding of how other people tick, planning and delivering points of view in both meetings and presentations have been really useful”