A Professionnal Development Workshop led by Valerie Asselot on 23rd January 2018
We focused on two main questions: How do the choices we make impact our style of leadership? And how does our behavior impact our professional relationships.
We started with brief introductions : all participants introduced themselves and explained their expectations, and thus finally the reason for his presence. This gave the latecomers time to arrive and allowed for their integration.
This was our first behavioral experience: making sure that everyone was included despite varying arrival times.
This phase of inclusion was carried out in an authentic and benevolent climate, we were then able to get to the heart of the subject with a presentation of the Human Element ©, an approach developed in the United States by William Schutz, and its 3 basic principles: Self-awareness, Choice and Truth.
We plunged straight into the theme of choice through an experiential activity. I really appreciated the trust of the participants who played the game and were able to learn about themselves and more specifically about how they make their choices.
This exercise is a tool I often use so forgive me not totally revealing how it works, it could jeopardize its effect in a future workshop.
At the beginning of the experiment, each participant had to make a choice in silence, and then move around the room without exchanging with the others. I then asked them to stop and do something specific. This order gave them the opportunity to act as per their initial choice. I noted that most of the participants made a spontaneous which was different to their initial choice.
We then debriefed: I first asked them to think about their initial choice, their eyes closed and without talking to the others, and to consider whether they had gone through with this initial choice and, if not, what had maybe prevented them from doing so. And we then discussed whether this attitude and way of functioning was a reflection of the choices they generally make in their lives.
Once back around the table, everyone was able to express themselves on what they had experienced, their blocking points, their reflexes, their strategies with others - and whether they had acted and act for the benefit or at the expense of their personal choices. The exchange was very rich: it was about pro-activity and passivity, determination and letting go, pace, exchanging looks and consideration for others.
I then presented William Schutz's choice spectrum on a scale of 0 to 4 that goes from level 0 : "I do not have the Choice" to level 4 : ”I choose everything in my Life" through level 2 "My choices are determined by my education, my environment and genetics". The participants then correlated what they had experienced to the corresponding level of Choice. And reflected on the the levels of Choice that they usually implement in a professional context.
We then made the link between Behaviors, Choice and Leadership. I briefly explained the different dimensions of Behavior as proposed by the Human Element model ©: Inclusion defined as social contact, Control corresponding to the impact on the relationship and the Opening embodied by the authenticity of the relationship. And since the Human Element Approach © is above all experiential, we left the room again for a larger space. Each participant had to find their rightful place as a Leader along an imaginary line… in silence and without sharing a position with another participant. The "game" lasted until everyone had found “their place". I challenged them on several occasions to ensure they were in the right place along the line. The exercise could have lasted even longer if I had asked everyone to move those who were not, in their opinion, in the right place.
It was then time to debrief on the reasons for their behaviour, on the choices they had made and on the link with their type of leadership. Several questions guided our reflection:
I was struck by the difficulty for some of finding their “right place”. This difficulty was of course heightened by the fact that those present do not function as a team.
I also noted the energy of some and the “laissez-faire” attitude of others for the sake of consensus and harmony. We shared our learnings way beyond the time scheduled for the end of the event.
Warm thanks to Agnieszka Jaros and Romaine Johnston, PWN Professionnal Development co-VP, for their organization and help during the evening and to the participants for their active participation and their interest in this workshop.
Valerie Asselot, Executive Coach
Béatrice Castaing de Longueville & Sarah Haddane - CO VP Mentoring at PWN
The Professional Women Network Career & Leadership Mentoring program, started in 2017 November, found a strong interest. As VPs of this initiative, we have been overwhelmed by applications and struggling to positively answer every demand. Around 70 women are now in a mentoring process, the maximum even reached. It is inretesting to undertand what is behind.
Being mentored raise women awareness on their capabilities and behaviors. They gain tips and techniques to reach their objectives, be more confident and make the most of their potential. This experience helps them define the right strategy for their career. When matching the candidates, we were so surprised to have excellent professional doubting on themselves and not daring asking for opportunities, obviously within their reach.
Mentors experience a great opportunity to learn how to coach; finding the proper involvement to keep the mentee owner of her decisions and to help her at the same time. Mentors gain powerful skills in professional development and they add it to their leadership competencies. At the same time, they reflect back on their own career. They measure what they achieved and what made it happen. It is a great opportunity to boost mentors confidence and open the box of their next step in career.
Discovering other professional environments is also a powerful output. Many women are focused on their own company and tend not to open themselves on other professional realities. It is key to remain innovative, agile and prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.
On the top of it, relationship between mentees and mentors is often very deep and lasts even after the program ends. Experiencing selfless support is strong and demonstrates women solidarity. It reinforces the accuracy of a women network like PWN. Additionally, being part of such a program opens to training and networking. The experience help building a precise development track as the mentee identify the gaps to reach their professional objectives. The personal development workshops offered by the network provide a great opportunity to work on this development track with other members of the network.
All these reasons pushed major companies to build internal mentoring programs. Some are specific to women like Danone. It supports men/women balance in leadership position, a big issue for companies who want to attract talented women.
Some programs are not women focused. They bring strong value in career development, internal visibility reinforcement and cross functional networking for all involved employees. Building common culture and values is a key challenge for global companies. By creating cross functional groups and opening deep exchanges between people, mentoring is a great lever for transversality. It contributes to mobility throughout business units by creating original links between people. The company @Bacardi for example choosed to make its mentoring program cross boarder and cross department, making it a way to share the same company culture at the international level.
Digital distance training tends to develop in many fields and if you practiced Moocs or distance learning yourself, you might have felt lonely behind your keyboard. Again, mentoring can be a great added value supplementary to digital training. @Open Classroom is a great example of using mentoring as a lever of learning. Additionally to their online programs, this company gives trainees the opportunity to be mentored on their experience and outputs. It boosts learning and humanize digital experience.
In our society, we want @so much to be independent that we tend to feel alone facing our choices. Mentoring is a great way of breaking loneliness and reweaving social links. Individuals have the opportunity to create a strong one to one relationship and at the same time, to be part of a strong network.
It works internally in companies, as we mentioned, in professional networks as @PWN, and also in the city and leads to community involvement. Les Mentors dans la Ville experience is a great example. The purpose of this French network, organized in local groups, is to create link between people, cultures and neighborhoods. “Experience can’t be passed on but can be shared” says Laurent Bourdeau, General Manager. The growth of this initiative shows how powerful it is for people and the whole society.
You didn’t experience mentoring yet ? Choose your objectives and network, and try it ! No doubt you will be delighted !
Agnieszka Jaros and Romaine Johnstone, the PWN co-VPs Professional Development, hosted a session on the hot topic of conflicts, in English, on December 12th. The workshop was kindly hosted by the PWN partner TF1 and took place in a very cosy “common” room on the top floor of the building’s gorgeous Atrium, Porte de Saint Cloud. It was the perfect venue for the small group of curious 10 PWN members who braved the delays in public transport linked to the nearby ONE PLANET Summit and the metro strike ! The interactive workshop on this sensitive topic proved to be a great opportunity for connection and bonding. And for a brief introduction to a collective approach of conflict and how to address it. Participants expressed their appreciation of the experience and exchanged at length until we were “ejected” by the very patient security staff.
On December 7th, Minimes was the place to be to attend the International Program event “Ask For More: Negotiate Your Salary”. Organized by Erin Douglas and Elsa Delpal, leaders of the program, the event united around 25 members and non-members, all keen to negotiate better the next day, week or year. The overall format was pretty simple but it perfectly suited the atmosphere: starting with some mingling time so everyone could get to know each other and have a drink, followed by speeches from the experts and ending with more networking, giving participants the chance to talk more about the topic.
One of the events we are most proud of at PWN Paris is our yearly Christmas Party. For this edition, Maison Baccarat accepted to receive us gladly, giving us the opportunity to welcome 150 participants - members, non-members and partners - to spend an incredible night.