In 2006 one of the world’s most widely recognised brands and a leader in the field of jet engine manufacture asked The Forum Partnership to work with its international leadership team on managing feedback between peers at senior levels.
The first step was to interview a number of senior managers and employees to understand the feedback culture of the organisation. From these interviews, The Forum Partnership created two scenes that were presented to an audience of two hundred senior managers.
Techniques of Forum Theatre were used to make the session more engaging and ensure the learning experience had the greatest possible impact. These techniques centred around the Forum Partnership team involving the audience in the action so they could make suggestions and see them played out in real time.
First, The Forum Partnership facilitated a discussion around the behaviours of the characters in the scene the audience had just watched. The audience were able to offer alternative language, behaviours and strategy to the character who was trying to give feedback to a peer in the scenario.
Next, The Forum Partnership team fed these alternative ideas back into the scene and played it out to see how it would change. The team then encouraged the senior managers to put themselves into the action, taking the place of the actor, so they would come up with new suggestions and try out more ideas.
Forum Theatre is a very powerful way of both delivering a message and embedding new ways of thinking and working to a wide audience. The result was that the audience went away with a deeper understanding of how feedback worked, how they themselves might behave and an ability to explore new and more effective ways of interacting.