People managers at big accounting firms have a very challenging role. They need to motivate, coordinate, and enable their teams to not only meet but exceed client expectations on a regular basis, often under intense time pressure.
Such firms realise that effective communication between managers and their teams is a key component to successful projects and satisfied clients. That’s one reason why all of the Big Four adapted the Think on Your Feet® programme in different countries.
This is the story of how a unit of one of the Big Four firms in Asia took the Think on Your Feet® programme in-house and successfully developed it into a common ‘language’ that everyone understands and uses to be more productive.
Experimenting with different formats
Initially, six internal facilitators were trained to deliver Think on Your Feet® to the people managers of the unit. They started with a 2-day format of the programme in 2015. To test if a slower-paced programme would increase training success, they split the training into four half-day modules in 2016. This experiment was a resounding success. The gaps in-between the sessions allowed for sufficient time for practice and reflection.
Today, the facilitators run Think on Your Feet® as an 8-week journey, which starts with a needs assessment. This allows the facilitators to get to know each manager and his or her challenges and circumstances intimately so that they can better tailor the programme to meet those needs. A half-day in Week 1 and a full-day in Week 4 are followed by coaching, practice, and follow-up. The programme closes with a final assessment and presentation in Week 8.
The benefits of the in-house approach
Taking Think on Your Feet® in-house has allowed for full flexibility in the delivery of the programme. In addition, the firm was able to fully customise and integrate it into their culture. They’ve transformed the programme from a one-time initiative to an ongoing experience.
To help managers practise their newly-developed skills and overcome any hurdles, they offer coaching calls between training sessions and host internal online groups to swap tips. Newly promoted managers are encouraged to join the programme through taster demos and videos of leaders speaking about the benefits that they’ve discovered.
Due to the popularity of the programme, the firm couldn’t complain about a shortage in facilitators: Several Think on Your Feet® alumni became instructors and Master Trainers themselves.
An integral part of the learning curriculum
A facilitator at the unit summed up the significance of the experience perfectly:
“Think on Your Feet® is an integral part of our learning curriculum. We use it to:
- build interpersonal and leadership skills
- get clear messaging across the organisation
- increase productivity
With rigorous practice of the Think on Your Feet® techniques we are enabling our workforce to be more clear, concise and memorable in their communications.”
There you have it – an effective programme for building crucial communication skills, successfully adapted by the Big Four accounting firms, that can be taken in-house and customised for any group of professionals and corporate culture.
Contact us to find out if Think on Your Feet® could be just the right programme for your organisation.