Case study: Influencing Change in organization

Improving employee relations and establishing a common identity through influencing skills.

The Mission and the Challenges

The Italian division of Alcatel Lucent, a leading telecommunications company was carrying out a range of organizational changes. These changes varied from acquisitions and mergers through to making important changes within its organization.

These changes had led to the creation of new missions and values for the workforce as well as the establishing of a new post sales function; the Quality Assurance & Customer Care (QACC) department.

The purpose of QACC was to guarantee the post projects delivery customer care and the department was staffed with a mix of new hires and internal transfers. This brought together a group of employees with very different cultural and professional backgrounds which led to conflicting assumptions amongst the department over job roles and expectations. There was also a lack of a common identity amongst this group as well as a lack of understanding of the overall role of the team.

The HR Department and Managers within the organization, developed the QACCability Project, which began with the conducting of a brainstorming session in order to discover the root of the problem. This session was attended by employees from a range of levels within the company. The outcome of the session was that the working environment could be improved through better communication and understanding of the team role in the corporate business.

The company should do more to position QACC as a key part of the business. The project was launched at both a corporate and local HR level, who then subdivided the project into three orientations: Organization, Cross-Function Training and Influence Skills Training. The company contacted GSO, our Authorized Partner in Italy to handle the influencing phase of the project.

What GSO Did

Rather than QACC employees giving a standard response to situations, GSO would help them learn and understand how to utilize subtle influencing skills through knowing themselves and others. This training would then work to help the participants independently find solutions to produce results.

The decision to use DiSC® as part of this process stemmed from the opportunity that the DiSC applications offer, to better understand the way in which people interact with one another, and to learn how to be more flexible within a role. The DiSC Model was used in conjunction with a specially developed training program called the Motivation Center®, to help improve awareness and to enable participants to support the implementation of the project before beginning the influencing skills training. GSO provided the framework within which to establish the personal development project of Motivational Competency.

During a workshop, the participants were led to explore and separate their personal motivations (taken from McClelland), from the implicit motives that influence behaviour in a more continuous manner over time and in different situations.

The personal knowledge that the participants gained through recognizing and understanding their DiSC® style was built on with in-depth analysis. As many of the participants were in a managerial position they were encouraged to understand their own motivations and accept that while their position often urged them to maintain influence over their peers, it could have an adverse effect on their staff who were becoming demotivated, unwilling to collaborate and not committed to a team objective.

The energy that resulted from this workshop led to success in the influencing sessions. DiSC offered a rich starting point for the participants to better understand themselves and others, which then helped in facing the issue of reducing conflict. Participants were asked to work to create a map of appropriate behaviors which could be adapted to suit each style, through use of both hypothetical and real life situations. Every participant was faced with a specific situation which they had to analyse the content of, before suggesting a solution. They were then challenged by the others. The added value of this session was that the participants then went on to receive internal coaching sessions supported by the company. This action served to send a positive message that the organization was being both proactive and responsible in trying to turn around the negative working environment.

The end of the session was marked with the participants being asked to prepare their Individual Motivation Plan, to help them become more aware of their personal motivational orientations. A proactive attitude was encouraged in the hope that this will become a shared approach within the company.

The final phase was handed over to the internal HR objective of increasing training results. The participants were encouraged to organize training for their peers which would define the key points of what they had learnt in their sessions, and to establish mini versions of their training.

The Results

Luca Grieco, Manager of Talent Development commented, “I am very satisfied with this project: today the people involved are demonstrating a higher awareness of their role, understand its importance and know that the way in which they interpret it will influence the business chain…In short, they implemented a ‘product analysis’, introducing improvements which reduced the working times and triggered energies, time and resources which they utilised to give their internal customers a service with a higher added value. For example the case of a highly demotivated person who today has completely changed their behaviour. Indeed I even saw them taking part in official events, motivated and committed in managing activities linked to the Quaccability project”.

The Project helped to not only define the contribution that the department could make to the organization, but the individual roles of those working within the department. By exploring their own motivations together with gaining an understanding of their own and others’ behavioural styles, the team were able to work better together which created a more positive and effective working environment. This in turn reflected well on those placed outside of the department who began to view the department in a more favourable light, so that collaboration and communication improved, and the role of the team was more fully understood and valued. As the employee’s engagement grew, selling activity increased. As the results of this project were successful, the company is now looking to replicate the project with different areas of the organization.