Developing presence – a cross-functional initiative
Bertrand Montagner, Human Resources Director wanted to introduce new managerial practices at Omega Pharma.
“We are in the midst of rapid transformation from a seriously centralized top down model, historically speaking. I wanted to develop a new form of accountability – “empowerment” to use the Anglo-Saxon term. There’s a ton of management training out there, but I wanted our managers to think about their managerial posture in a really serious way.”
Bertrand Montagneralsohappens to be an amateur musician; It’s clear that his passion for music made himnaturallywell aware of the link between our interior state of being and performance.
“It was a friend at SNCF who told me about the Presence & Leadership Institute. The practices he described seemed both original and with a direct bearing on real work situations.”
He decided to offer the Leadership Embodiment training on a voluntary basis only. A dozen managers quickly showed interest in the proposition, even though it required a certain level of commitment: 1 day of Introduction, followed by 2 months of practice, then one day to go further in-depth. They met as a diverse group, ranging from an industrial director, head of marketing, department heads, a major account manager, to a supply chain manager – all with very different personalities.
Teambuilding based on Embodiment
“What’s really good about this is that after an hour or so you stop asking questions, everyone is fully engaged and working together and doing things they never thought possible before,”said one participant. Even if Presence & Leadership Institute doesn’t present the training directly as a teambuilding, it is, nevertheless, a collateral benefit. In fact, as soon as we engage in simple body exercises and create conditions to encounter each other just as human beings, the barriers of hierarchy and function disappear. It’s a deep,collective experience;the openness to share one’s limitations and the pleasure of being your best self with others.
Experiencing Managerial Posture
« LE training is like no other managment or leadership training » says Bertrand Montagner, « Leadership posture is a buzz word but here we really see the difference of impact when we actually change our posture; it is very concrete. This can even be a little disconcerting for some people. It’s good to let people know this up front.”
All of a suddenparticipants have access to resources they normally wouldn’t even think of looking for.As usual, participants appreciated that the insight they gain also comes with a “tool box” they can use going forward.
As one participant revealed “It’s simple; I have a presentation to make in front of my board of directors, I now know how to prepare, how to put myself in the optimum state and finally, I have the clear feeling that I make more of an impact.”
Speaking effectively in a meeting
It’s particularly interesting to see what happened back at work over the first couple of months. Each person implemented the practices they felt were most useful to them. Among the testimonials is L. from Marketing, who transformed the way she now presents projects in meetings. L. developed her own ritual to use right before speaking, combining centering and techniques to fire up intention. She finds a significant improvement in her confidence level and connection with others as a result.
Putting Embodiment into practice in Client Relationship Management
Another interesting testimonial came from V, Head of sales for Major Accounts. In his job he had to regularly endure difficult situations differently, including humiliating conditions imposed on brands by the buyers of large retail chain. In the session, he described the pokey hallway, overheated waiting rooms, being made to wait for ages, the interview room where the salesperson is placed against the wall in front of a table with a panel of buyers talking amongst themselves, loading on the pressure…
We worked specifically on ways that would enable V. to recreate, under these same conditions, a broad space where he felt freer, more relaxed and stronger. He is now capable, in his meetings with Auchan, Leclerc and Carrefour, of centering and entering the room with a feeling of spaciousness and power: that practice improved his balance and performance. V. now considers that the work on his presence is an integral part of his sales skills. He now knows that he always has a choice about how to respond.