GLOBAL FMCG COMPANY:
POWERFUL COMMUNICATION FOR TECHNICAL
The R&D team of this leading global FMCG corporation is highly technical and important to the overall business because the business is built on research - identifying different recipes that will help fuel the company's growth while working within regulatory requirements. R&D is the only division that touches every point in the product life cycle from idea generation to quality measurement post product launch, providing the team with a unique opportunity to drive innovation that will support achieving desired business outcomes.
However, the team's R&D ability to influence organisational strategy -- including food science, recipe development, manufacturing, distribution, food safety, and the science of packaging -- had eroded. The existing R&D team struggled to sell its research to the business. Team members had gone in to R&D because they knew and loved the science. They were largely introverted by nature and uncomfortable speaking out loud about their work. The Learning and Development team analyzed six different R&D businesses globally and determined that the number one challenge was leadership, specifically, their ability to communicate the business value of the work they were doing.
The Learning and Development team asked Companies in Motion to create a program designed to take the R&D team "from technical and timid to TED." Physical Intelligence linked what these team members were being asked to do differently to science. There had been low engagement in the past following more traditional training programs intended to improve communication skills, because the R&D team felt they were more appropriate for sales and marketing teams than for them. Because Physical Intelligence addresses how to enhance performance by actively managing the balance of certain key chemicals in our bloodstream and nervous system and because the Physical Intelligence techniques are well supported by neuroscience, the R&D team responded differently. The scientific foundation gave the techniques credibility, increasing the team's receptivity to the information shared, and motivating them to try the techniques and ultimately to change their behaviour.
Participants were introduced to a framework for effective technical communication, as well as strength, flexibility, resilience and endurance techniques designed to address the unique challenges of the R&D role. For example, participants learned posture, breathing, and vocal techniques to manage their stress levels, essential for effective communication, as well as innovation and the ability to develop the mental strength and clarity to manage their threat response in the midst of innovation – linking their mindset to physicality. They learned how to foster creative thinking and deliver their messages in a more engaging way, tailored to each audience member and behaviour style, how to command a space and establish authority in a way that includes everyone and makes people feel valued and heard. They discovered resources to build resilience, including a breathing technique that helps address feeling panicked or overwhelmed and is effective when recovering from burn out and the importance of networks for resilience. As a team, they worked on how to have courageous conversations and effectively lead a Q&A session. They built endurance by working on how to see the long game and use the chemistry of determination. Throughout the training, they had several opportunities to practice sharing their research and recommendations as if speaking with the business and received feedback on their strengths and areas for improvement.
The Physical Intelligence training session was followed by one-on-one and small group coaching to help participants further prepare for key internal presentations on their research and recommendations.
Within months, and in some cases, only weeks of the training, many participants had been promoted up one or two levels and were regularly invited to participate in strategic discussions, viewed as business partners in a position to shape business decisions that will impact the organization for years to come. Their research projects have received funding and their recommendations have been green-lighted at an accelerated pace. Additional R&D teams around the world have requested the training and the ROI wave has followed. Participants' ability to effectively communicate their ideas and link them to business objectives and outcomes has been transformed and levels of confidence have increased. One participant has been asked to establish her own department, something the company believes could have taken years to achieve, if at all, but with Physical Intelligence was achieved within months.
"The program [Companies in Motion] developed for us is truly transformational. Every delegate – along with their managers – talks about the positive impact the content and practise has had on their performance, immediately and sustainably. We have had a number of delegates promoted or given high profile communication opportunities that can be directly attributable to Physical Intelligence and senior leaders are now championing the course as they visibly see the return on investment. It is seen as a critical and permanent part of our Technical Leadership curriculum."
Manager, Corporate University