How do you get people who don't like interacting - who'd take a nice quiet book over group huddles - to attend a two-day interactive workshop with a room full of their peers?
You could make it an absolute requisite that these people take on new management responsibilities and throw them in the deep end, enforcing a great deal more time interacting with other people. However, instead of seeing this as a quick fix solution, Trayport quickly identified this as the very thing they wanted to avoid.
Kirsty Fairclough - whose role focuses on the development of people at Trayport - was in no doubt that the people who had entered the company on the strength of their technical clout would need to be trained in softer skills to develop leadership acumen. But how do you give hard thinkers soft training?
Maynard Leigh consulted with Kirsty to understand Trayport's needs, and found a fascinating company with a dynamic leadership team. Their recent growth from a small to medium sized company meant that technical employees needed to take on more management responsibilities. Kirsty was concerned that those being trained would not be confident that the directors of the company would understand their approach or behaviour.
"Initially it was planned that we work with the four, very different, directors to get more alignment", explained Deena Gornick, the associate leading the project. "Yet on investigation, it appeared the difference in leadership styles was one of the strengths of the company."
Deena suggested ways of addressing the relationship between the layers of management to ensure confidence. This meant coaching the organisation to think of management as not only downwards, and occasionally sideways, but also - importantly - upwards.
After assessing Trayport's culture, Maynard Leigh approached the science of relationship building, with an emphasis on "managing in all directions."
Deena devised a two-day interactive workshop for groups of twelve, entitled the Alchemy of Gravitas and the Science of Creative Leadership. The programme was designed to enable the participants to examine not only their own communication style, but to watch and learn from their colleagues.
For those who like their soft skills soft, it may be taking things a step too far to suggest that a leadership workshop should be treated as a laboratory. Additionally, Kirsty had advised that the technically-minded people of Trayport would resist anything too "wacky". And yet, Deena created an environment that was similar to a human Petri dish - creating a workshop full of role plays that dealt with real life concerns and on the spot analysis of communication as it happened.
For one participant on the course, practising a real life conversation she needed to have with her boss was useful not only because she got to reflect on the way that she communicated, but also because of the feedback and ideas she got from her colleagues. Those colleagues in turn could learn by proxy before having their own go at practising a tricky piece of communication.
Despite Kirsty's well-grounded fears that interactive training wouldn't go down well, the participants found themselves enjoying the immersive role play and real life approach. They agreed specifically that it was "better than just being told."
According to Caitlin Farren, who attended one of the workshops, she continues to present herself with a subtle difference when communicating with colleagues. She puts this down to having more of an awareness of the dynamics of communication.
In retrospect, Kirsty told us "it was the most successful external training we've ever had." For Deena and the Maynard Leigh team, the project will also remain memorable, not least because of the depth of understanding that was gained of the company culture, allowing a truly tailor-made course that really did fit the people who were nervous of wearing it.