Rosie Stevens, head of HR and organisation development at Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association, charts the impact on participants of a well-known influencing skills programme
Personal Effectiveness and Power
Designed and delivered by Roffey Park,
Forest Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 4TD
Tel: 01293 851644
All employees – whether they are looking to be more customer-focused, intent on influencing key stakeholders, aiming to gain buy-in during periods of change, or simply trying to get a new idea or strategy to be accepted – need well-honed interpersonal skills.
At Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association (BPHA), which provides and develops housing across central, southern and eastern England, we understand the importance of personal effectiveness and projecting yourself with credibility and confidence. We know that to successfully influence people – or to overcome any difficult working relationships – our staff need the confidence that comes from knowing their own value.
They also need the communication skills to fully express themselves, and they would benefit from greater self-awareness, so they understand the impact they are having on other people. In short, they need to identify and develop their own personal style.
This is exactly the premise of the most popular development programme at Roffey Park, the Horsham-based executive education and research organisation. Personal Effectiveness and Power (PEP) is a five-day residential course that helps individuals improve their self-confidence, self-awareness and interpersonal effectiveness. Unusually, in the fast-changing world of personal development, it has been running since 1985.
The programme covers issues such as influencing styles and strategies, gaining support for your ideas, giving and receiving feedback, clarifying your needs and wants, the link between personal power and empowerment, and understanding the self-limiting beliefs/behaviours that undermine personal effectiveness.
Why it works
A deep personal issue such as low-self esteem can cause stress for an individual and hold them back at work and in life. There are many courses offering help with this, but most only have a short-term impact because they don’t address the fundamental beliefs that cause the person to behave in a certain way.
PEP is not just about building confidence. It aims to tackle whatever it is that is getting in the way of a person being truly effective. It can help with issues such as ‘learning to say no’, resolving conflict, expressing emotions effectively, and dealing with challenging relationships.
The programme has had a stunning impact for five individuals from different levels within BPHA. It helped them to find out more about themselves and their preferred ways of working.
A key factor in the success of PEP is that it is designed and delivered in a way that enables each participant to get what they need. On each programme, two tutors facilitate a maximum of 12 participants, so each person benefits from one-to-one time with a tutor and from smaller group work.
The feedback from our staff pays tribute to the high quality of the tutors at Roffey Park. They are insightful, highly-skilled at facilitating groups and at helping individuals to help each other on the programme.
As the participants’ comments show (see box below), Personal Effectiveness and Power can make a categorical difference to individuals. It is a development intervention that we will certainly use again.
Any organisation that strives for high performance needs to be well-managed – and good management requires interpersonal effectiveness.
This programme genuinely gives people greater confidence in their abilities, greater belief in themselves, and it makes them much more effective. This benefits the individual but we’ve found there is a huge knock-on benefit not only in their work but also on the performance of those around them.
Impact – excellent
Ability to meet business needs – excellent
Value for money – excellent
Participants speak out
Kate Francis, a community development officer, took part in PEP in July 2005
“This programme was a fantastic help. It gave me a better understanding of who I am and, as a result, I feel much more confident in my day-to-day work. I learned how to challenge my ‘inner critic’, and we looked at psychological theory around behaviour. The tutors were very know-ledgeable, open, calm and interested in every-one. It was real, practical, hands-on learning. It is rare – and enormously beneficial – to get that amount of time to think about yourself.”
Marie Taylor, BPHA’s retirement services manager, attended PEP in October 2004
“It gave me an insight into the way I interact with others, and it helped me become more effective at work. The atmosphere at was very conducive to learning. There was a tremendous mix of people from different organisations and backgrounds on the programme. You see big changes in people in the time you are together. The lessons I learned are highly applicable to a range of situations, from one-to-one work to team-building, and even your personal life. It’s great to now be able to pass on tips and techniques to colleagues in difficult situations.”