Kindly allowed to be re-produced from an internal staff magazine of one of the clients of Ngagementworks.
Ngagementworks, the new buzzword
If you haven’t heard about Ngagementworks, it won’t be long before you do and, like a lot of your colleagues, start to have conversations using a colourful language of behaviours that is having a positive and profoundly marked difference on employee engagement, teamwork and effectiveness across our organisation. In this feature, we interview Nick Fewings, MD of Ngagementworks, the driving force behind our cultural change.
So how and when did your relationship begin with us?
It started just over 5 years ago. I was speaking at a conference in London in front of about 300 senior leaders from different sectors about the top attributes that staff wanted to see in their leaders. I shared the results of some recent research in which the top 4 attributes were competent, inspiring, visionary and most important of all honest. I then shared a colourful model of human behaviour, based on the work of Carl Jung, the Father of modern day psychology and discussed how great leaders know themselves well, build a team with complementary skills around them and are adaptable in their style to meet the needs of different people. At the end of my keynote presentation, a number of leaders approached me to discuss working with them and their organisations and one of them was the Operations Director from your company.
Conference delegate quote ““Nick spoke at our annual Leadership Conference in London, having spoken at a number of our regional events in the UK in the past. Nick makes an immediate impact with his informal, almost fun (yes, fun!) approach to presenting. That said, Nick has an important point to make and make no mistake his style ensures everyone takes something away whilst enjoying themselves into the bargain. I’m sure we’ll be inviting Nick back to share his insights again in the future.”
What were the problems that you initially helped address?
The leadership team I worked with had been through some difficult times, they weren’t perceived in a good light by the other business areas, some team members had left and others had joined and their staff did not see the leadership team in a good light as fed back in their staff engagement survey.
How did you address these issues?
I agreed a set of objectives with the Operations Director, namely to get the leadership to understand each other better and their team dynamics, start the process of playing to each other’s strengths, get some clarity around their objectives and then agree an action plan on how to re-engage with their staff to inspire them to achieve their goals.
How long have you been working with the team?
Changing behaviours doesn’t happen overnight and I have been working with the team for over a year and delivering a series of learning programmes that continue to build on previous learning using the colourful model of behaviour and unique individual profiles as the under-pinning links that draw it all together and provide continuity.
Leadership team member quote “Nick’s grasp of the colourful behavioural model, the profiles he uses and how he applies it to the challenges of a leader and being part of a leadership team are extremely effective both at an individual and team level.”
You use a personal profiling tool as part of the programmes?
Yes, as part of the foundation programmes, delegates receive their own unique Insights Discovery profile. I have been a licenced practitioner of Insights for over 15 years now. Whilst there are other profiling tools on the market, I haven’t come across another that is so accurate, easy to understand and useable for a long period of time as a personal development tool. I refer back to the profiles in almost all of the programmes I facilitate to ensure continuity and to ensure they continue to be used. Other profiling tools are also very good however I prefer to be an expert in one rather than average at using a variety.
Does the colourful model and profiles you use work with different teams?
Yes, word of mouth has gone around other teams and I have worked with operational teams, project teams and also job role groups such as PAs in the organisation.
Are the learning programmes the same?
No, I always discuss with the decision-maker what their issues are, what they wish to achieve and how we can measure what success looks like. Each team has different learning needs and objectives to achieve so a standard programme wouldn’t work, hence each one is bespoke. Sometimes it’s about enhancing relationships within the team, sometimes about delivering objectives and a clear vision of what needs to be achieved. With project teams it’s often about how to become more effective at engaging with stakeholders. With the PAs group it was how to ensure their relationships with those they supported were as effective as possible as often they support more than one person and very often these people have different needs. I’ve also been working with the HR Team to develop values and behaviours that can be used as part of their performance review process to ensure these are inclusive and support the diverse people in their workforce.
Project team member quote “In my 20 years working in project teams and delivering change, this has been the most beneficial of all the learning programmes I have attended, and there have been a lot. Just wish I had experienced this 20 years ago, life would have been so much easier.”
It’s a play on words. The e was dropped from engagement as the letter N is used in conjunction with the colourful model to recognise that different people bring different skills and attributes to a team and organisation. The N goes through all four colours and behavioural styles. I always say begin with the end in mind so start with the Fiery Red Energy which is about setting the strategy, direction and timescales of what you want to achieve. The Sunshine Yellow Energy is about discussing and agreeing ideas and suggestions to achieve the end goals and being creative. Once these have been agreed, the Cool Blue Energy is about checking the ideas out for any risks and developing a plan of how to deliver. Finally, the Earth Green is about ensuring that the team are happy, have consensus of opinion and are committed to what they have agreed and importantly, that they also sense check it back to ensure what they have agreed to deliver works for their internal staff, customers and other stakeholders.
It is also used to link with why Ngagementworks exists, to engage with individuals (Earth Green), motivate teams (Sunshine Yellow) and in doing so help them transform (Cool Blue) to achieve greater success (Fiery Red).
What do you attribute your excellent feedback scores to?
There are a number of factors. Firstly, once the objectives of the programme are agreed, I engage with the learning group via email. This enables me to start to build a relationship with them and ensure they understand why they are attending the training, the objectives of it and what they will be expected to do differently after the training.
It also enables them to have some background information on Ngagementworks and myself by having links to the website, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs. When they arrive on the workshop, we’ve already started to get to know each other.
The workshops themselves are developed to ensure that different learning needs and styles are covered. Some people are more kinaesthetic, others more audio or visual. In addition some people need time to reflect, others to work in groups and some need to understand in more detail or have challenges set. Over the 20 years I have been facilitating learning programmes I have therefore ensured that all these elements are included. A lot of staff are amazed when they walk into the training room that there is music being played! There is a psychology behind this which enhances the whole learning experience.
Attendees also say they enjoy the anecdotes based on my work experience. Before focusing on learning and development and facilitation for 20 years I worked for Barclays, starting as the office junior and working my way right up to a Change Director so I have seen and experienced the good, the bad and the ugly of working life and lead and worked in many different teams. By re-counting these stories and anecdotes, it not only gives learners credibility about you, it makes it real for them as they can often empathise with what you are saying, as they’ve often had similar experiences. Basically, I say it as it is, worts and all.
Operational team member quote “The way in which Nick facilitates a team workshop is really effective. Every person is made to feel valued and appreciated and in terms of learning activities, there is something for everyone.”
There is also a lot of post-workshop support provided and contact with learners to keep the learning alive.
So what and who are you working with in the future?
Well, due to the positive impact the learning is having throughout the organisation, I am continuing to work with teams at leadership level, various operational teams, a newly-formed project team, the sales & marketing team and the PAs. I’m also discussing working with teams in some of your other sites in Europe and the USA.
When you are not working with us, what do you do?
Well, from a work perspective, I am working with various other clients in different sectors both in the UK and abroad in Europe, the Middle East and the USA. I’m also called upon to speak at various industry conferences in front of anything from 50 people up to 700+. When not doing this, I am keeping abreast on new thinking in the field of learning that I deliver to ensure the programmes Ngagementworks delivers are cutting-edge.
Outside of work, I love nothing better than travelling to new places on holiday with my wife, walking our dog and also taking photos of people in the street. I have built a reputation as an amateur street photographer and go under the name of ‘Few Peeps’ on my Flickr stream. I also use some of my images to develop motivational and inspirational quotes.
Finally, if you had to give a message to all our staff, what would that be?
Quite simply, be the best you can be in a job that motivates and inspires you and support others in helping them to develop and grow to be the best they can be. You are all unique with some wonderful diverse skills and competencies therefore ensure that you utilise these in a job that you are passionate about.
If staff would like to find out more about Nick and Ngagementworks, below are a number of ways to connect with him
LinkedIn: Nick Fewings, MD, Ngagementworks