Becoming a change influencer

The Innovation and Learning team at a leading global law firm wanted to improve their facilitation skills.  When we spoke to the team leaders we found that underpinning this was a challenge that will be familiar to many business service leaders in professional service firms.  An organisational change had been agreed at top management level and communicated to everyone in the firm.  This initiative was intended to change the way that services were delivered to clients.  The driver for the change came directly from clients, who are looking to law firms to deliver in more commercial and cost-effective ways than ever before, and would also create efficiencies and better collaboration across the firm.

The Innovation and Learning teams were tasked with driving this change.  The team were all experienced, smart and highly motivated people, some of whom had been recently recruited to lead on various aspects of the change.  What could possibly go wrong?

Successful change depends upon a number of complex elements working together:  consistent leadership;  support for behavioural change;  systems and processes that support the change.  Even better is when organisational change is the result of a blend of leadership and participation, supported by a culture that encourages independent thinking.

In a less than ideal world, delivery teams often find themselves in a place in which this is far from the case.  This can be a difficult time for a team, with some team members, often the team leaders, high on enthusiasm and vision, while others struggle to see a way to deal effectively with the organisational culture, and to deliver what's needed from them, and which they can see is a good outcome.

The presenting problem may vary:  'We need to improve our facilitation skills', 'We want to be more confident and effective in meetings with partners',  'We'd like our teams to work better across boundaries and silos'.  Underlying all of these is the question 'how to influence change when we don't have control over others'.  This is a fundamental issue not just for business service teams, of course, as the notion of 'having control' within an organisation is a mythical one.  But for business service leaders and their teams, it's a perennial problem - and one that today's highly qualified and experienced professionals intend to solve.

Here's how we helped this team

In conversation with team leaders and team members, we devised a series of three half-day workshops for the ten team members (including leaders).  The objectives of the programme were:

  • To amplify the team’s ability to communicate and influence effectively in the firm and with clients
  • To develop a coherent approach to facilitation that will promote a recognisable and positive ‘team brand’

Session 1:  Impact of personality

Personal strengths and preferences:  Using the Lumina Spark personality framework.  Lumina Spark is unique in its combination of the well researched '5 factor' psychological framework, with the more intuitive psychological archetypes, based on Jungian psychology.  This is blended into a robust but easy to understand 'portrait' which gives a complete picture of everyday strengths, hidden strengths, and potential weaknesses or derailers.

Creating a 'thinking environment':  This approach, based on the work of Nancy Kline, focuses attention on the quality of listening and thinking in the group, enhancing the ability of everyone in the group to do their best independent thinking, and to contribute equally.

Team strengths and differences:  In the context of their role as facilitators, exploring how their shared and individual qualities contributed to their success, and where there were opportunities to leverage strengths and manage weaknesses.

Creating 'user Personas':   Based on design thinking principles and the Lumina Spark personality framework, creating four typical Personas for their client audience.  The four Personas represented the varying needs and goals within their client group.  Focusing on each in turn enabled the group to create more compelling communications and facilitated events for all of their clients.

Session 2:  Advanced facilitation skills

Six Elements of facilitation:  A deep dive into extending and deepening the skills and confidence of the group as facilitators.  Introducing a framework for analysing the elements of facilitation to enable improvement, and increase the group's ability to flex their facilitation style.

Personal resilience:  How to build confidence and resilience.

Real life scenarios:  Small group work, exploring real life scenarios and using peer coaching and practice to develop strategies for dealing with difficult situations.

Session 3:  Influencing change

The legal context:  The lawyer personality and partnership dynamics.  How to influence in law firms.  Practical lessons drawn from real experience of organisational change in law firms.

Making change stick:  What neuroscience and social science can teach us about how to support change, and potential barriers.

'Self as instrument'':  Situational influencing.  How to manage and develop yourself to be an influencer of change.

Solutions:  Practical planning for following through.

Following through

A crucial part of this programme was to ensure the group had the skills and intent to continue to learn and practice.  Through a programme of regular meetings and structured reflection and planning, the group have continued to implement what they have learnt in the workshop sessions.


Contact us to discuss how we can help your team become better change influencers.