Naresh is the Managing Partner of one of the largest property companies in the UK. One of his fellow Directors, Raz, was a lateral hire and had never shown any understanding or willingness to adopt the company’s values. Raz’s aggressive behaviour and boardroom antics, which included interrupting, talking over people and turning up late/leaving early, had upset staff and were having an adverse effect on meetings and morale. However, Raz brought in millions of pounds worth of business. Naresh wanted Raz to adopt the values of the company and stay within the firm but Raz had reacted aggressively to an attempt to give him feedback on his behaviour, and pointed out the financial gains he made for the company.
Damian Gaskin of The Forum Partnership, met with Naresh on two occasions. In the first they discussed the Managing Partner’s objectives, the history with Raz, what had been tried before and the circumstances. They then began rehearsing a meeting to explore ways in which Naresh could talk to Raz so that he listened and reflected on his behaviours. It was vital that Naresh felt in control of himself and the meeting, and not be pushed off-message by Raz’s very strong manner.
In the session, Naresh conducted himself as he would in a meeting and Damian took on the role of Raz. It was clear that the character of Raz appeared to have greater focus and higher energy levels than Naresh. Naresh had a deliberately moderate-paced and round-about way of saying things, while ‘Raz’ was direct and quickly moved onto questioning the commercial point of the meeting. In this first rehearsal Naresh and ‘Raz’ were soon engaged in a very unhelpful conversation with ‘Raz’ becoming highly agitated.
Damian suggested that Naresh’s behaviour and speech patterns might actually be triggering Raz’s reaction and they also looked at ways to keep him engaged. Given that money and status seemed to be key motivators, Naresh explored how to introduce these themes early to gain Raz’s interest. Matching Raz’s energy level would have been uncomfortable for both parties but it was clear that there had to be some increase in pace. Accordingly, Naresh found ways to raise his energy to an extent and keep a tighter hold on the aims of the meeting.
At the second session, the meeting was rehearsed several times and various different behaviours and approaches were trialed in order to get the best possible outcome for the firm.
After the sessions the Managing Partner commented: “Well, what do you have training for? You have training to provide confidence and it definitely did that.”