Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Big Debate: Creative ways to inspire and motivate talented employees

In May 2013 DMGT hosted the first debate in the classic British Parliamentary Debate format at Cambridge Union Society as part of the DMGT Leadership Development program.  The feedback from the initial event was extremely positive as a way to develop core skills for individuals within the business.  In July 2013 I was requested to take part along with another 15 employees from different roles within businesses in Europe and USA, continuing motion discussions on entrepreneurship and innovation.

When the request arrived in my mailbox my initial feelings were anxiety, excitement and recognition.  I had never taken part in any kind of structured debate before so had no idea what to expect, fortunately we were coached through the two weeks leading up to the debate by colleagues that had attended the first session.  At an early stage it was clear everyone selected was in the same boat and the leadership selected us knowing we had the determination and skills to succeed.

On the morning of the debate we were given further coaching from AGL which provided an intense crash course to develop the key skills needed for a successful debate.  These skills in the main are common sense that some of us take for granted, be knowledgeable on the chosen topic with facts and not assumptions, deliver a confident coherent argument whilst building trust with the audience by being authentic and honest.  This all seems quite straight forward as an individual but debates are dynamic and it needs a well formed team to be successful in countering the competition.

Once the training was complete the teams were taken to the debate chambers to become familiar with the surroundings we were about to perform in and we were advised which teams were for or against the motion.  Now it was time for our team of people who had never met until that morning to formulate our argument and plan a strategy.  We rushed off to a break out area where in the next few hours we very rapidly started to Form, Storm and Norm before we stopped for a welcomed head clearing break and networking reception prior to the debate starting.   

The debate started and as a team we had built confidence in each other that we were ready to engage, making sure we guided the audience through our argument whilst listening to points of information from the counter team and audience.  The surroundings provided a level of drama with both serious and humorous performances.  The ability for individuals to listen, formulate a counter response and combine it with the key points they needed to get across whilst delivering it with confidence in a timed slot was very impressive.   The most valuable skills to any negotiator and coach are the ability to listen and persuade, these are also valuable skills to have within a business environment.  The most inspiring part for me was being around other very talented and successful individuals with such passion to encourage and coach people.

Would I do it again?  Just try and stop me, it’s as exciting as skydiving or bungee jumping and you get to meet amazing individuals whilst developing skills to take back into the business.

So why are DMGT doing this?  To remain a High Performance Organisation you need to attract and retain people that have an incurable curiosity, want to be challenged and want to excel in life.  DMGT is a place that offers variety, support and continual personal development to help individuals realise their dreams.

Colin Blears
Business Development Manager

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