Capgemini is a global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The group commits to enabling their team’s potential through a variety of initiatives, including the Future Leaders programme. This eight-month course couples Maynard Leigh Associates with thirty distinct Capgemini employees for several training modules (including Vital Leader, Personal Impact, and Presenting with Presence). The goal is to unlock leadership potential not only in the individual but also in the group.
The leadership training that we went through during the programme was, if you excuse the cliché, truly eye opening. And that was the case for everyone. Some of us had bigger “aha” moments than others, perhaps owing to the size of the contrast between where we are now and where we want to be, or perhaps the shock at just how long we’ve been fumbling through as leaders without truly understanding why we behave that way.
I had my eyes (and my voice) opened to different styles of presentation, through the hilarious mediums of role play and acting. What this gave to me was the confidence and the proof that I can bestow a different presence and a different impact on my audience – being bold and assertive, or light hearted and friendly. As a leader, my presentations often have an aim or objective of something I want from the audience, and by utilising the right presentation style, I have been able to ensure this happens.
What we get out of the programme is very much determined by what we put into it. Whilst there are no text books, we do have a rich set of information that we gathered at the start of the programme. A compilation of anonymous feedback, an assessment of our leadership capabilities and the foundation skills that we learned. Working with our coaches, this information was used to help us identify areas that we wanted to focus on.
Having received initial training in coaching, I became hooked. I have since been developing my coaching skills with some willing volunteers who thought they might benefit from some coaching support. This has become quite a common practice for a few class members and, as such, we now have the opportunity to become certified as part of a Coaching Network across Capgemini. Having broadened my network and my skills, many more doors are opening, and becoming a coach is just one.
We are all different and our differences are celebrated. Most other leadership “courses” or programmes are geared towards teaching you a specific skill or tool for your toolkit, which can only lead to a very dull place where everyone is doing the same thing and trying to become the same leader. The Future Leaders Programme is infinitely more subtle and yet powerful in the changes it encourages in all of us, and made possible only by the fantastic support team across Capgemini and Maynard Leigh. I am immensely grateful for having the opportunity to make my own progress, but I am also privileged to have shared this with others and witnessed their growth too.
I live for lightbulb moments; the instant an individual truly comprehends a thought or concept. It’s a visceral split-second – eyes widen, focus blurs, the tempo of breath increases, the mouth opens, occasionally there is a faint smile. Helping others realise their full potential through these moments is my true passion.
Through a rigorous curriculum, Maynard Leigh deconstructed and reconstructed each of us around four central themes:
The experience was electric. Over the programme, our cohort learned together, experienced together, laughed together, and literally cried together. We became a family that helped propel one another to new heights – be it through voice, mindfulness, pace, or even song. Our capstone event was presented to our executive leadership on a collection of real, big-thinking business challenges – how to become more appealing to millennials, how to promote active inclusion, and others. After a month of research, it was time to coalesce our Maynard Leigh learnings into one group pitch.
Following a half-day of additional customised coaching, hands-on tips, and pointers, it was show time. And what a show it was. I watched individuals that not eight months earlier had been timid, suddenly overflow with presence and gravitas through their words.
We had learnt how to truly connect with each other as well as the audience and use our unique strengths to become authentic presenters.
This combination allowed us to imbue lightbulb moments in others; through our presentation skills, the executive saw how to bring their ideas – our ideas – from concept to reality.This adventure, this programme, and especially this result was driven by our Maynard Leigh experience.
The only question that remains in my mind is when I’ll next be able to use these techniques to inspire those quintessential lightbulb moments in others.
"I watched individuals that, eight months earlier, had been timid, suddenly overflow with presence and gravitas through their words," said John Kamler. "We had learnt how to truly connect with each other as well as the audience and use our unique strengths to become authentic presenters."