“TELL ME AND I'LL FORGET
SHOW ME AND I MAY REMEMBER
INVOLVE ME AND THEN I'LL UNDERSTAND"
In 2007, a colleague who worked in the CEO office of one of the Swiss banks approached Michelle Holmes with a support request for their upcoming Global Leadership Event. Knowing her acting background and that she was part of a theatre group in Zurich she was asked to pull together 16 actors for an intervention at the event. When asked what kind of intervention the client stated "I want the actors to reenact the worst kind of leadership behaviours that our employees tell us they experience and I want the leaders to look in the mirror and see just how they are perceived. I want you to create a 3D effect of our employee engagement results." It was brave and provocative and Michelle jumped at the idea.
Sourced primarily from her theatre group she pulled together 16 individuals who all had corporate backgrounds and experience and who were skilled in theatrical and improvisation techniques. Together the team prepared the scenes with the involvement of the client and as a result the impact was huge.
While confronting serious issues, the actors had license to inject some humour into the dialogue which built acceptance from the audience. Recognition of oneself in the scenes prompted a move towards action which laid the foundation for the rest of the leadership meeting. Michelle remembers thinking: how courageous an idea, how stimulating the impact....I wish we could be more involved with what happens next...
Fast forward 8 years and ACT has evolved from the courageous decision of one individual to a widely accepted and sought after learning methodology to create impact and awareness. Many of the key elements of success for the first experience are still very much at the core of what we do today:
we take time to prepare
we involve the customer directly in our preparation
we use actors with a corporate background who understand the situations they find themselves in
we apply improvisation skills to react to the audience in the moment, as our aim is to build acceptance of the issue from the audience not to create distance
we are more centrally involved in the outcome and what happens next
we use video based techniques to allow us to scale globally
we cover 8 different languages to meet the needs of an increasingly global client base
Our Corporate Actors
We train all our actors in the skill of feedback giving using the SBIS (Situation, Behaviour, Impact, Suggestion) model so they can debrief the impact of a situation clearly. Our actors are also trained in understanding the primary communication styles and preferences each individual has. They pick up on that in the dialogues and move cross preference to challenge each individual out of their comfort zone. Depending on the client's needs they can be more challenging or more accommodating.
Click here to meet our Corporate Actors.
Our creative thinking around types of methodologies has increased significantly since 2007. In addition to classic role play we have developed all kinds of approaches, often coming from the world of theatre, to support the impactful learning: real play, play back, back to the future, speed circuits, among others.
These techniques can be applied to many personal development areas such as:
Giving & Receiving Feedback
Managing Difficult Conversations
Diversity & Inclusion Awareness
Unconscious Bias Awareness
Public Speaking Training
Customer Management Techniques
Impact statements from our clients and our actors:
“Role plays are usually so unrealistic as we role play with each other. What I experienced by role playing with your trained corporate actors, is on a totally different level. It was realistic, challenging and I got fully absorbed by the conversation and forgot is was any kind of "play".”
“Great preparation made it easy to be at ease when in front of the candidate”
“Actors were professional and totally believable”
“Event was fun...no PowerPoint!”
“Your team are so much more than just actors, they are great coaches able to give insightful and helpful feedback.”