Business Filming Method

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Emotional Driver – Employee Engagement – Business Profit Formula

Hello, My name is Yulia Reinshmidt. I'm a CEO at CastEffect, Business Filming Method.

I want to present you with a successfully implemented and tested method to raise your financial and organizational results – Business Filming.

Business Filming method is all about implementation and upgrade of existing methods and knowledge in the organizations: improving sales, customer service and management results and make more financial incomes – make more money.

One way we do it is by identifying the emotional driver that makes people to perform effectively in the organization. This emotional driver is one of the big secrets a company may make a real positive difference in its financial results and make more money.

This is the formula:

Emotional driver for better performance brings to better employee engagement. Employee engagement drives higher profit to the business.

Emotional employee engagement = higher profit to the business:

There are many recent researches and reports on this issue. One of them, the Gallup Q12 Meta-Analysis showed a study of 23,910 business units compared top quartile and bottom quartile engagement scores and found that those in the top quartile averaged 12% higher profitability.

So, how do we identify the emotional driver? Here are the initial steps:
There are 2 powerful tools we can use:
1. Visualization
2. Creative writing
These are tools that scriptwriters use to create an entire new world of content for their masterpiece.

Try visualizing and imagining your employee at his workplace:
1. How does he appear to work every day?
2. Does he choose to stay alone ("a lone rider") or contact his team members ("team player")?
3. Is he active in your team meetings?
4. How does he behave when meeting his direct manager?
5. Is he dedicated to his missions and tasks?
6. How does he manage his time schedule?

Think about:
• His mood,
• His concerns,
• His dilemmas,
• His behavior when he's confused.

Explore his drivers and motivators:
What is he looking for to achieve as a personal success: Self fulfillment? Power? Control? Recognition? Friendly environment?
Ignore the financial reward part: as most of the researches prove, people will stay at their workplace if they feel happy and satisfied due to their contribution and personal impact on significant decisions.
Arrange enough time in your busy schedule for this imaginary tour – this will be worthwhile for you!

Creative writing:
Once you're able to imagine in details the situation, take a pen and write (actually write, don't type, no computers here!!) an imaginary dialogue between you and your employee.
Think about explorative questions you'll use. These are the questions you'll need in order to understand your employee's needs and motivators. Think about possible answers, and how you'll react to them.
Finally, find a friend, colleague, family member or any other person and exercise.
Do that at least 5 times, until you feel that you actually have already been at this meeting.
Schedule a meeting with your employee – don't wait until annual feedback and appreciation meetings occur.

Now you are in the way to identify the emotional driver for performance. This is your chance to grow your profit through your committed people.

I started here to present you with a successfully implemented and tested method to raise your financial and organizational results – Business Filming.

As our potential customer, we offer you to pay us our basic expenses,
and the rest - from your success.

Join us!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Providing feedback with supportive leadership scriptwriting tools

Today's leaders are looking for the right models, which better increase business performance, employee motivation, workplace relationships, relaxed work atmosphere and employee satisfaction. In parallel, they strive to create high business results, efficiency, commitment, cooperation and cohesion among their employees. They are actively taking part in a work environment, where employees do not see themselves develop long-term commitment to their organization, and are not afraid of frequent changes and shifts from one job to another.
One of the key management concepts that provide the best outcomes for today's leaders is called "Supportive Leadership".
During innovative corporate workshops, "supportive leader" learns to be a competent manager who applies various skills, including:
• Communication skills
• Inter-personal skills
• Professional expertise
• Delegating
• Excellence encouragement
• Awareness and understanding of the concept of compensation
• High technical capability

They are expected to behave as understanding, considerate, trusting, respecting, helping, caring, sharing, encouraging and empathic individuals. According to one study, a supportive leadership exists when managers allow their employees to fail without fear of being reprimanded or punished. This enables the managers to earn their employees' commitment and control the effort of fulfilling the mission in time using more effective manner (Brown and Lee, 1996).

Scriptwriting techniques for supportive leadership feedback test
One of the major opportunities of "supportive managers" to utilize supportive skills and behaviors is during processes of providing feedback. It has been said about this process that "Few managers want to deliver it, most subordinates don't want to receive it. Yet, there is little improvement without it "(Murray Johannsen). Feedback is also an opportunity for the "supportive manager" to examine the employee behavior in the past and to reflect the expected behavior in the future. However, in order to succeed in the task of "providing supportive feedback" and turn it into a positive growth mission, the manager has to develop his understanding skill. Understanding should relate to an exact identification of the employee's motives to behave in one way or another.

To help managers implementing the feedback successfully, I usually use a scriptwriting technique taken from the film making world during my leadership training workshops. In movies, characters exist only if they do something, describing the behavior or their particular character trait. Imagine you're scriptwriters are working on a specific scene, depicting two characters, a manager and an employee during a feedback meeting. To make this meeting interactive you should write a dialogue.
To create your audience identification with your dialogue you build a "preliminary background story", in other words:
What was going on before that made you decide this scene will be of feedback meeting?
What each one of the characters had done before and as a result of their actions you felt you should insert a feedback meeting scene?
What were the motives of each character behavior and were these motives in some way connected?

Supportive feedback meeting (illustration)

Let's take for example the following "preliminary background story":

An employee was asked by his manager to prepare an important document for his company's major project – a type of strategic tender offer. The management set very tight and demanding deadlines for this project. The employee's assignment included quite a big task of information gathering from his colleagues. He became stressed and tense as a result of lack of time. The document wasn't prepared on time and the delay dragged the other project-related tasks. The project manager also found himself in a stressful situation due to senior management dissatisfaction of the way he controlled the project process. He asks the employee to come to his room for an urgent meeting.

Now, our manager character has to implement a supportive technique of asking questions and reflecting responses. It will be effective for you to use the two following tables:
1. Recommended questions to ask based on their related "rules of thumb" to assist the manager to identify employee behavior motives.
2. Possible responses with their related possible motives characteristics

Supportive Feedback Meeting questions - Table no.1
Question (manager)"Rule of thumb" for employee behavior motives identification
"What did you feel when you received the task of preparing the document?"1. Decide to take the first step in identification of problem solving by using Powerful Questions. Use less 'Why?' And more "What" and "How" |
2. Strive to understand than to be understood
"What was the exact phase when you felt you couldn't accomplish the task? Did It happen when you had to provide the document or a few days before?"Remember that there is much more than meets the eye - Understand that behaviors are the result of one's point of view
"Which obstacles have you experienced?"Remember that people are different - employee behavior should be examined in respect to his skills and limitations of his personality
"What did you expect from your colleagues? Did you expect them to assist you? Did you ask for their help?"Reflect the results of choosing to behave that way or another - without judging and without comparing between other employees' performance
"What do you think will happen in the coming days?"Allow the employee to understand his own motives and offer a solution acceptable to both parties
"If you could, how would you change what was happened?"Make sure the employee understands what the purpose of a feedback is, and why it should help him grow and develop personally and professionally
"What do you think you can do now to improve the situation?"Always remember the purpose of the identification: to change behavior – not to change people
"How would you like me to help you next time you face the same situation?"Make the feedback being a memorable experience of empowerment and motivation to produce positive results

Supportive Feedback Meeting possible answers - Table no.2
Question (manager)Possible AnswerPossible Motive Characteristic
"What did you feel when you received the task of preparing the document?""I felt that I won't be able to do it. I didn't have enough time, but I decided to try anyway and cope with the stress"Employee characteristic - increasing demands | Task characteristic - tight deadlines | Organization characteristic – strategic tender offer
"What was the exact phase when you felt you couldn't accomplish the task? Did It happen when you had to provide the document or a few days before?""Actually, I don't remember. I felt that way all the time. I wasn't sure what to do"Employee characteristic - lack of self confidence | Task characteristic - requirements to implement creativity in fulfilling the task | Organization characteristic – inflexible procedures and strict targets
"Which obstacles have you experienced?""Well, I didn't know who I should talk to about that. Everyone was so busy with their assignments. I also got an impression that I'm expected to do this all by myself. After a day or two I realized that I need some more information from other guys, but I didn't know who might help me with that. You know, I'm new to this business..."Employee characteristic – insecurity, lack of knowledge and experience in fulfilling the tasks, expectations to get assistance from the executives | Task characteristic - a task too structured and inflexible | Organization characteristic – reorganization in teams' structure, entrance to a homogeneous and cohesive team (not open to new perspectives)
"What did you expect from your colleagues? Did you expect them to assist you? Did you ask for their help?""No, I didn't. It seems they have their own habits...They didn't like the ideas I presented in our last team meeting"
Employee characteristic – expectations to get assistance from the executives | Task characteristic - lack of opportunities for personal expression and lack of teamwork | Organization characteristic – reorganization in teams' structure, entrance to a homogeneous and cohesive team (not open to new perspectives)
"What do you think will happen in the coming days?""I'll be happy if you could advice me..."Employee characteristic – expectations to get assistance from the executives | Task characteristic - requirements to implement creativity in fulfilling the task | Organization characteristic – indisputable authority of the managers
"If you could, how would you change what was happened?""I would try to ask my manager to have a team meeting and discuss the possible creative solutions for completing the task. Maybe then I'll feel much better and do my best. And get to work with the veterans here – they probably can help me a lot!"
Employee characteristic –expectations to get assistance from the executives | Task characteristic - requirements to implement creativity in fulfilling the task | Organization characteristic – strategic tender offer timely submission
"What do you think you can do now to improve the situation?""Talk with you every time I feel that way and try to ask for assistance from the team"Employee characteristic –expectations to get assistance from the executives | Task characteristic - requirements to implement creativity in fulfilling the task | Organization characteristic – strategic tender offer timely submission
"How would you like me to help you next time you face the same situation?"Talk with me :)Employee characteristic –expectations to get assistance from the executives | Task characteristic - requirements to lack of opportunities for personal expression | Organization characteristic – strategic tender offer timely submission

And now imagine the real world: you're a manager and you need to provide your employee a feedback and identify the motives for his behavior. Write the same dialogue when you are preparing for the feedback meeting and try to think about possible answers to your questions. Try to reflect in your own words your employee's answers.

Done? You're ready to go!

After the meeting prepare a "supportive feedback" to yourself:
• How did I function?
• Have I understood exactly the motive of my employee's behavior?
• Was I able to reflect the results of his behavior?
• Did I suggest possible solutions to the complex situation?
• Did we find together the solution that best suits me?
• What would I change next time I provide feedback?

Good luck!

Note: This article is partly based on the results of a recent discussion entitled "Necessary communication skills in providing a feedback" I initiated in LinkedIn.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Conflict Resolution with Point of View technique

What is a conflict?
definitions - a : competitive or opposing action of incompatibles : antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons) b : mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands (Merriam-Webster)

Conflict within the organization can exist between people, teams or different departments in the organization. Conflict can carry positive or negative character, requiring attention and resolution.
Positive conflict is a healthy process of disagreement between group members due to differences in style, character, ideas or decisions. This group recommended process prevents stagnation, peer pressure and motivates innovative thinking. It makes members identify with the group assignments and outcomes and become cooperative and active. Positive conflict is particularly effective in a group driven by a specific task to perform. Negative conflict is a phenomenon, which can be intensified in heterogeneous groups, whose members come from different backgrounds, with opposing ideas and different levels of motivation. Such conflict can occur between different factions in the group, between the head of the group and its members and between different departments or teams within the organization.

Importance of group's conflict resolution
While the group should encourage positive conflict performance, which empowers its members, in case of negative conflict - the leader of the group should consider designing a solution as soon as possible. Negative conflict has a direct impact on the decline in productivity and morale of the group, a fact that affects the group's mission accomplishment. In addition, negative conflict tends to grow and "swell" if not provided with a quick response. In this case, the message sent to all employees is that it's a legitimate behavior to ignore different and unconventional views. Hence the conflict becomes personal and causes far more damage to the group and the entire organization.

The conflict resolution technique - Point of View (POV)
The main key to deal with group conflict is communication. "Positive conflict fans" is a group that encourages communication through various means. One of these means is the use of an interesting technique, inspired by cinema, literature and theater works, called Point of View (POV). In films, POV refers to the concept of a short scene, describing the character watching something (through "camera eyes"). This scene is located generally between a shot of the character and what he sees and a shot of the character's reaction to what he just saw. This technique is one of the major elements of film editing work and is also known as "subjective camera". POV technique can allow us to experiment the role of "observer" or "hidden person" just by changing perspective, in other words:" I just want to see him, I don't want to be him". This observation capability enables us to examine each situation in several different ways, and hence draw conclusions about our particular response and behavior.

Let's get back to the communication issue as a key element of conflict resolution and examine it through the POV technique. "Positive conflict fans" will use the following means:

1. Listening without interruption, with full attention. Each participant will be able to imagine the specific perspective point of view used by his teammate: is it a POV of an active character in the conflict scene - the accused or the accuser? Is this a POV of an outsider? Is this a POV of someone who doesn't know what the conflict is about and doesn't understand it?
2. Sharing is conducted as a conversation, in which each team member suggests what he knows, what he thinks and what he feels would be effective for the group. Here the participants experience presenting in speech their own perspectives, as they try to convince the rest of the group of the benefits of taking their way.
3. Understanding. The head of the group needs to make sure that opinions and suggestions raised by the group members during the "sharing" phase and the group's task were fully understood by all group members, including understanding the motives of any member of the group which led him to think the way he thinks.
4. Mutual respect based on distinguishing between the person who's at the center of the conflict and the essence of the conflict itself. On the other hand, personal insults and accusations can escalate the conflict. The question which can be asked here: Do I identify with the participant's perspective and understand the benefits of this perspective without taking into account my personal feelings towards him?
5. Openness - the importance of being "open minded" and the ability to be pleasantly surprised. When there is listening, mutual respect and understanding the entire picture can be enlightened and the group members can discover the connections that can connect the various opinions.
6. Expression of own skills. Each member of the group has talents and skills, and a conflict is exactly the right timing to use them, to help resolve the conflict efficiently. If participants experience analyzing the different perspectives, they are usually able to find the strengths of the group members.
7. Recognition. Each group member must recognize the potential of his teammates. Conflict is an opportunity to encourage each member to use his own potential for the benefit of the group.
8. Mutual Aid - Helping team members have all the information and fill the gaps when required, in order to turn the conflict into a productive action.
9. Negotiations - the means to turn a negative conflict into a positive one, allowing free expression of different approaches and produce a solution acceptable by everyone. Different and even contradicted perspectives can exist side by side, as long as the team respects them as legitimate points of view.
10. Responsibility for progressing of the group - the group's ability to "manage" this entire process, such as helping the shy and quiet members, who are hesitant to respond or preventing other members to gain control of the dialogue.
11. Repeated reflection of the original group's goals and tasks to keep the group being concentrated on the main issues. Since POV is a visual technique, and the metaphor used is the "camera eyes", mirroring is a very effective mean in this case, especially when a real camera is present.
12. Matching expectations, often recommended at an early stage but it's also necessary during solving the conflict.
13. Leading and influence – the head of the group is expected to enable members who have these abilities to use it during the process.
14. Personal gratitude - when the conflict is resolved, it's recommended that members of the group will thank their teammates who contributed to the solution. With this gratitude they will express their recognition of their team mates' efforts, the ability to think creatively and the commitment to the group, expressed during this process.
15. Mutual trust, confidence in the group abilities and "togetherness". These are very important for the group progress towards its goals. It is recommended that the group leader will present to the group members their achievements as a group after the conflict resolution (in a manner of positive group feedback) and will indicate the successful joint observation of the various points of view.

Case studies - POV technique in use during a negative conflict resolution
During a management skills training workshop for sales managers under my guidance, one of the workgroups faced right in the beginning of the workshop the reluctance of its members to cooperate with each other which preventend them to proceed. These phenomena were due mostly to people's fear to expose their opinions or express their dissatisfaction from the company's senior management. The result was kind of total silence in the room and a feeling of pressure because of not meeting the mission time table. This is a situation which I name "a hidden negative conflict".
The head of the group with my cooperation decided to begin the process of sharing, when he volunteered to be the first to talk about his point of view. His openness and the message of "I'm one of you" soon led to the appearance of first signs of other members' opinion sharing, attention, respect and understanding. Another interesting thing happened when members were encouraging their stubborn teammates to express their views. Soon the group successfully passed the initial fears' obstacle and the negotiation stage which included presenting the various perspectives. The group eventually reached for basic solutions which were very important for the process, and received the most positive feedbacks from the management and from the other workgroups.

Case Studies - POV technique in use during a positive conflict resolution
Another managers' workgroup, dealing with negative symptoms of the current company's corporate culture, decided to deal with an unpleasant incident, which had occurred just two days before the workshop. The "main characters" of this incident belonged to this group and had expressed from the beginning of the workshop a great openness to talk about this incident in front of the group - in order to communicate between group members about this incident, avoid unnecessary gossip about it and produce a healthy process to prevent recurrence of this type of incident. The group used all the communication means while examining the various perspectives: recognizing other approaches towards the situation, listening, understanding, mutual respect, reflection, mutual aid, gratitude and an expression of trust. In less than an hour this dramatic situation, which could have easily become an active trigger to a more severe negative conflict, accompanied by personal accusations, had become a state of dialogue, listening and positive energy. The group produced a suitable solution for the incident, presented it in front of the other workgroups and was proud of its achievements.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Improving Employee Engagement by Group Dynamics Principles

In recent years many organizations have begun to implement creative training tools, inspired by work techniques from theater, cinema, visual arts and music production and based on certain aspects of Emotional Intelligence (EI). These tools are implemented mostly during formal corporate group training workshops and team meetings and informal group conversations and even during lunch time breaks. These tools are based on group dynamics which is developed in these occasions.

Analysis of these meetings shows significant improvement of the participants' level of motivation and active engagement long after the sessions ended. Studies conducted over the past decade examined this phenomenon and have proved the following claim: A group activity, based on collaborative and creative problem solving, creates higher emotional involvement of the participants. The level of emotional involvement created during these group processes is directly related to the participants' motivation level and thus improves business performance.

To explain this claim we must first examine the main principles of group dynamics:

1. The individual need vs. group's need

Naturally, every group consists of individuals. Every group aims to achieve and accomplish goals, willing to produce a tangible product or result. Individual members of the group often desire to play a major role in the group, to influence and contribute. Participation in the group enables them to affect the progress of the group towards its goals and take joint responsibility for the group's results.

2. The emotional aspect of group behavior

In his early studies Freud has noted the difference in behavior between individuals and individuals as group's members. Belonging to a specific group makes people feel, think and behave in a more complete and clear manner. Uniform intensity prevailing at the group during activities increases emotional involvement of the group members and makes them want to take part in the group's unique atmosphere.

3. The organizational benefit

Another aspect of group dynamics is act of supportive leadership with an emphasis on collaborative creativity. This aspect was observed in many organizations. Participation in these processes develops both the employee and his manager, since it has advantages and benefits to both parties. When participation is active and the involvement of employees is consistent with the goals of the organization - both parties benefit. Therefore, one of the organizational challenges is to explore these standards and adapt them in various group programs.

4. Emotional involvement and inter-personal conflicts

Despite what was said before, one must consider also the flip side - the degree of emotional involvement of the group members has direct impact on the processes and results issued by the group - sometimes this effect is positive but in some cases it can also be negative. One should consider the existing connection between the group's tasks and the inter-personal relationship of group's members. The assumption is that conflicts associated with the task are significantly influenced by the group's ability to fulfill its goals, unless these conflicts lead to inter-personal conflicts and negative results. In this case, the task relies on team leader / facilitator's shoulders: he needs to recreate an atmosphere of team cooperation, listening and positive approach.

In this context, it's important to comment and say that the group leader's efforts shouldn't necessarily concentrate on achieving unanimity. A research on creative processes in the group by Theodor Adorno, a German sociologist, psychologist and musicologist, pointed out, that we shouldn't necessarily aim to create harmony of unanimity, which sometimes is in fact false, but rather to enable the appearance of conflicts and contradictions, which creates a valuable statement for the group and for the entire organization.

Let's examine one of the leading models of group dynamics and try to figure out the possible ways to raise the emotional involvement of employees in the organization based on this model.
The model is based on 4 stages and was developed by Dr. Stuart L Tubbs, Professor of Management Darrell H. Cooper Chair in Leadership, author, leading leadership consultant and a contributing editor for the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies.

1. Orientation: Group assembly, diagnosis of the problems to be solved and an initial assessment of options for solving. In this stage, the individual becomes aware of the opportunities for self-fulfillment and personal mark. He's able to actively participate in the discussion regarding problem solving, explore its various aspects and examine the source of this specific recurring problem.

2. Conflict: The group's members discuss and suggest possible solutions. The discussion is active and energetic, includes variety of opinions and contradictions and involves all the group's members. As the following stage of orientation, the individual is already part of the group, and is affected by the groups' atmosphere. He feels completely free to legitimately express his opinion and to take the opportunity to influence the rest of the members to identify with his thoughts. There is a role-playing recommended technique, taken from an actors' coaching exercise, which allows participants not only to express themselves but to experience the ability to adopt various points of view.

Some guiding questions that could occur at this phase and promote the work progress towards the next phase (consensus or agreement) are:
How the character might have thought about this situation?
What means would he use?
What action would he choose to take?
How would he try to explain the problem to others?

3. Consensus: This is the right time for the group to settle down, agree on alternatives and discuss the conclusions of the implementation process. During the consensus stage familiar feelings of "group pride" is formed. In fact, after the group has faced all the conflicts and contradictions in a positive way, and managed to get to a unified agreement, members experience mutual understanding and empathy. They realize that each participant has a personal part in the group task success. These feelings lead the group to formalize a tangible and applicable product.

4. Closure: This stage occurs after the group finished its tasks. The group's outputs are ready and now the executives expect to begin the process of implementation and integration. This phase is very challengeable for management level in the organization. The goal is to leverage the motivation created during the three previous stages and to execute all the decisions and conclusions being made. At this stage the individual expects to take an active part in the process, continue to influence and express himself.

Corporate leaders, who understand the significance of group dynamics stages in producing a culture of positive employee engagement, are able to increase effectiveness, improve performance and provide better business results in their organization.

Yulia Reinshmidt is CEO, Director of Training and Lecturer at CastEffect, cutting-edge training company specializes in innovative and unique training method for employee engagement and knowledge retention of leadership, sales and customer service skills.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What kind of team player are you? – Ten team player characters in the workplace (2)

In the previous article we met two metaphorical team player characters – the producer and the director. You can read about them here:

Let me now introduce two more team players, very close to my heart: the screenwriter and the editor.
As a screenwriter, who has spent many hours in editing studios, I can assure you that a successful team in the workplace can't afford itself to manage without these two team players. For years these role players have been underestimated in the film industry. Today, it's clear then ever, that their role in a film's success is very important.

The Screenwriter – is usually the first link in the chain. The screenwriter is the ideas' generator, the storyteller, the one who creates a picture in words with a strong personal statement. The screenwriter can observe human behaviors, conduct research based on pure curiosity, listen, having an endless desire for information and knowledge gathering.
Budd Schulberg, the famous screenwriter (Academy-award-winning screenplay for "On the Waterfront") said during an interview on 1998: "One thing you do in writing dialogue is that you make up as little of it as you can and you listen as much as you can. Watching it this evening, I was reminded how many times something in there was not really written by me, I simply wrote down what they were actually saying."

The screenwriter examines every detail through visualization point of view, seeking the most effective ways of the film medium to convey his message. The screenwriter often asks himself the question: "How exactly does it look like? How can I describe this picture in words?" To answer these questions, the screenwriter needs communication skills and high sensitivity to his story's environment, analytical and organization capability, and ability to clearly articulate a high level of getting the message to viewers. Screenwriters and directors are natural partners and work closely throughout the whole process.

The Editor is often named "Cut and Paste guy". Actually the editor is able to create a masterpiece out of a "raw" and "rough" material. His job is to create the specific work which reflects the artistic vision of the director and the screenwriter - this makes him a central team player in the staff.
The editor is an organizer, very responsible and creative, with a high team work orientation, high interpersonal communication skills and impressive time management ability. Often he plays the role of a "savior", because he has the ability to solve problems in a creative and interesting way.

Understanding the role of these two characters, we can now realize the power of many unforgettable films and the secret of their success.

Now, my readers please think about the following two metaphoric questions:
1. What kind of team player are you - a screenwriter, an editor or both or someone completely different?
2. What kind of conflicts you expect to happen when these two team players collaborate with the director and the producer characters?

Food for thought for you...

Best regards,
Yulia Reinshmidt, CEO at CastEffect - Costeffective Proprietary Corporate Training Videos

What kind of team player are you? - Ten team player characters in the workplace (1)

In recent years I met dozens of corporate teams from various organizations. They took active part in my scriptwriting and dramatization training sessions in front of a camera. One of the steps set out in these work processes was a role casting. This step is one of the most fascinating and engaging experiences, in which each person expresses himself in a role that matches his personality and the group decides together who will take part in what.
As a trainer and a filmmaker I am amazed every time I follow this fascinating process. My professional background and my origins come from a creative environment, in which filmmaking is the goal of all involved parties. The filmmakers' driving force is to create a movie or TV program or any other visual video format - and for this they need to work together as a team, being able to reach this artistic goal. Many artists consider this platform as an opportunity to express their personal statement, therefore the emotional element of interpersonal communication and “personal chemistry” is very powerful and critical factor for success. Team collaboration and personal expression of each individual staff member are examined in a process of determining the main functions contained in film cast, this interesting and multi-colored tapestry of people, which is supposed to create a single artwork. Who are those main characters? I chose to present here the characters of a producer, director, screenwriter, cinematographer, editor, art designer, visual effects producer, animator, sound editor and of course - an actor. This short series of articles will present these team players, each article will address two of them.

Producer - he is the starting point of every production – he is an entrepreneur, a prime mover, an enabler, a charmer who can mobilize resources and budgets and make things happen, an organizer with a sharp business and financial sense. He is the one who is supposed to deal with most of the risks, strives to cope with difficult challenges - qualities that may sometimes make him appear as an aggressive, not sensitive enough, dictatorial, “cut corners” guy, tends to be in conflict with people, someone who people tend to be afraid of or the one who is supposed to bring the bad news - and therefore other team players use to communicate with him in an unnatural and insincere matter.

The director is his natural partner to production management. An ideal director will be one with advanced communication and organizational skills, a motivator, someone who provides a personal example, leading his cast to its best performance results, wisely manages conflicts, knows how to deal with the pressures, constraints and fears of his crew. As a creator he has a personal statement, combines the architectural vision skill (the finished film is completely visualized in his mind even before the first shot is being taken) with the ability of a very profound, focused and detailed interpretation skill. However, his inherent desire for perfection may create fatigue and emotional stress among his staff. His personal statement can provoke some conflicts and resistance from the rest of the creative team players. It may simply establish an emotional situation in which his crew cannot relate to his personal statement and therefore cannot perform the tasks. It's also the classical accelerator of a constant conflict with the producer, who is in fact his employer and expects him to strictly meet budget and time deadlines.

Now, my readers please think about the following two metaphoric questions:
1. What kind of team player are you - a producer, a director or both or someone completely different?
2. If you manage team players with director or producer characteristics - how would you lead these kind of team players in your team?

Food for thought for you...

Best regards,
Yulia Reinshmidt, CEO at CastEffect - Costeffective Proprietary Corporate Training Videos

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Movietraining™ - knowledge distribution tool

Based on a true story - Ann, a training manager in a company with multiple locations has a headache

Ann, a training manager in a company with multiple locations, was until the morning proud of her latest achievement: two months ago all of the company branch managers passed a series of training sessions, where they were updated about the company's goals and learned innovative methods to improve their sales' skills. Managers actively participated and expressed interest in the material. At the end of the training she received great feedback and she was very pleased.

"This morning, before I set to talk to you", she tells me, "I went as usual at 8:30 to the office; I opened the computer and the first thing I saw was an urgent summons to my boss's office, VP human resources. I entered his office a few minutes later, and at the entrance I already felt that something was wrong..."

"Ann", he told me, "Yesterday Ned (our VP of Sales) stopped me in the hallway and he was very concerned and nervous. He told me he studied last month reports, and he was surprised to find no increase on sales, as everyone expected, and everything stays the same as at the beginning of the year – it seems too slow, salesmen are tired… "

"Yes", I said, haven't any idea how to respond.

"Ned claimed", My boss kept firing at me, "that he made some checks yesterday and discovered that no branch managers had initiated any new move – they didn't gathered their teams for weekly meetings, didn't guided their deputies. Instead they continued to handle only the daily routine activities - inventory management, branch maintenance and dealing with customer complaints. He just can't figure out why the company decided to spend so much money on expensive training, which eventually yielded no results! He intends to request an urgent meeting with the CEO on this issue as soon as possible! "

My boss took a deep breath, trying to stay calm. While I focused all along the floor, frantically looking for an escape route close to me, to jump way down, probably directly to the main warehouse on the ground floor ...

"Ann", My boss said coolly after a minute of absolute silence, which seemed like eternity, "I ask you to submit to me an urgent detailed report on the latest branch managers' training. I want to know what was there every minute, I want to know who said what and when, I want to know who was breathing, who was blinking, who was scratching his head. I want to know everything! "

"Fine", I said.

When I went out of my boss's office, I felt as if all this company's future is laying on my shoulders right now and of course the future of its entire staff. And as you know me, I don't really have large shoulders ...
I went back to the office, I took several deep breaths and after a few minutes of thinking and focusing I decided to call Tom, a branch manager, who I like and have good contact with. I promised myself to take an objective attitude and especially to listen to Tom, but it didn't take me more than 5 seconds to tell Tom everything. He, in his turn, surprised me by saying:

"Ann, I assure you, there is no a single branch managers who doesn't agree that the training was excellent. But the problem is not with the training! The problem is something completely different!
When I returned to the office after the training I felt good - I felt I learned a lot, I got an important insight, but when I tried to remember certain subjects from the training sessions I found out that I only remembered the summary at the end of the day. I actually liked one advice based on a case study from another company, but I couldn't concentrate and understand how I can apply it in our office.
The next day we received a large new stock of products for the holidays. Two weeks later the IT team installed a new system of collection (you must remember what pressure we had during this time period), and I was fully occupied and busy with my daily work. Two weeks ago, when things calmed down a bit, I tried to actually remember some of the things we learned at the last meeting, especially the issue of how to handle sales objections, and I'll tell you the truth – I didn't remember anything.
I avoided scheduling a staff meeting - if I can't get myself to remember all the insights I have learned, how could I possibly pass them to 200 employees?? "

I stopped Tom for a moment: "Let me understand what you're basically telling me. You say that if you had the means to remember what you had learned, to know how to implement it in our branches and to pass all that knowledge to your employees – would you have done more?"

Tom said: "Absolutely! One can't rely on what I remember, it won't make me achieving better results, it can't provide me with tools to improve sales and it won't bring the expected change!"

"I understand you perfectly", I said, and for the first time this morning I had a smile upon my face.

I assume that you, the reader, as a training manager in an organization with multiple locations or an expert in sales training, probably had faced or will face the situation described here. How can knowledge be shared in large organization with multiple locations so it will make a positive impact on the company's business results? How can one find the solution which will have the optimal cost - benefit ratio for the organization?

Ann is smiling because she is aware of a solution to this issue.
Recently a new product called Movietraining™ , developed by CastEffect, was introduced to the market, which provides a solution exactly to this issue. The product is a short, focused and result driven process based on tools taken from filmmaking process. This process implements four principles which make it so effective:

1. Learning process - the participants create content for corporate training video using scriptwriting techniques, where they provide a unique and customized interpretation to sales skills and how to improve corporate sales. The customization enables managers like Tom to use the trained material for their specific needs.
2. Documentation of the learning process for using in future ongoing training – it provides a solution for managers like Tom, who only remembered a small percentage of what they learned during the training sessions.
3. Production of training video - directing, photographing and editing scripts from the learning process to be used for creating training video as working toolbox for managers like Tom to distribute knowledge acquired by them to their employees.
4. Additional Training Kit, which includes a list of written principles, conclusions and recommendations for future ongoing learning.

...on his way to distribute training knowledge...

Ann can still save the situation - she will gather the managers once again for a short training session. They will experience all phases of the Movietraining™ - and I'll wait for a phone call from her and read in the newspapers a report about the significant increase in her company's business results!
I would love to hear your opinion, share knowledge and experience.
Yulia Reinshmidt,
Co-CEO, Content & Production Manager,