Over 35 members from Women in Transport attended ‘The Power of Persuasion: Enhancing your influence with Critical Business Stakeholders’ workshop on Thursday 18th July. This was facilitated by Mark Sharratt from Dale Carnegie Training and sponsored by Jacobs at their fabulous new offices at the Cottons Centre in London Bridge, with their amazing views of the riverside.
Laura Gardner, Technical Director at Jacobs, introduced the session by highlighting the exemplary steps her organisation is taking towards increasing diversity and promoting women in the workplace.
Examples of these initiatives include:
incorporating culture-based leadership metrics into annual executive compensation which encompasses inclusion and diversity goals for each senior Jacobs leader.
The executive team and direct reports have received mandatory conscious inclusion training and this programme is being rolled out to all employees this year.
A returners’ programme has been created to help staff who have taken time out to care for children to re-focus and re-invigorate their careers and provide them with the tools to embrace and succeed at balancing work and home life.
Women’s networks with around 5000 members.
It is a testament to these efforts that Jacobs’ executive team comprises 40 per cent women and that 43 per cent of their part-time employees are male.
The workshop was opened by Mark Sharratt, an Area Director at Dale Carnegie Training and a leadership development consultant and executive coach who helps companies grow by achieving greater alignment and removing some of the most common barriers to scale.
He kicked off the session by asking us for examples of successful leaders we have met through our personal and professional journeys and the qualities and features that have made these key influencers so successful.
Mark explained that such qualities have been broadly divided by Carnegie into three categories: knowledge, skills and attributes. One of my key learnings from the workshop is that knowledge actually plays a very small role in influencing people and that skills and attitude are the elements that have the most impact.
We put this to the test and showed how skills can be learnt and how a positive attitude makes a huge difference. Mark tried to persuade us that we were capable of remembering a list of 20 random words in only four minutes without writing them down…and guess what? We all managed to do it despite our confidence levels being fairly low at the outset!
Through this exercise, Mark demonstrated that memory is a skill that can be worked on using, for instance, mental images of the words, creating a storyline, and training our memory muscle through repetition and practice.
This was my second key learning of the evening: the only way to get results is to practise my memory muscle by ‘being more’ and ‘doing more’. It also showed that the right attitude unlocks our potential for achieving better results in influencing others.
In the second part of the workshop, Mark helped us identify some of our own characteristics on a spectrum from task to people oriented; and from active to reflective preferences. We did a short test and got into groups of four different personality types: influencers, drivers, social/steady and compliants.
After understanding our own preferences and chatting in our groups, Mark asked us to connect with someone from another group and find out:
i) What people from my group do that is particularly challenging for others?
ii) What would make it easier to work with me?
We then fed back to the wider group and made individual commitments about what skills and/or attitude we would look at developing in the future to engage better with other people’s personality preferences.
After the formal session there was the opportunity to network and enjoy the hospitality generously provided by Jacobs.
Here are a few comments from our members about the event:
“I liked the interactive element of the workshop and the practical demonstrations of how challenging your preconceptions works.”
“Gave me a lot of food for thought about how I influence and am influenced.”
“This has helped me to reconsider how I communicate with people who may have a different personality style to my own.”
“An interactive, fun and very informative session which really made me think about what sort of influencer I am and how to relate to other peoples' styles.”
“Excellent engaging session.”
Our thanks to Jacobs for their support and generous hospitality.
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