Carolyne French

National Learning and Development Manager

The Good Guys   |   Melbourne, Australia

Mastering Communication Program Graduate

“I can tell you after the first workshop there was no more resistance, people were walking away saying “that’s the best thing I’ve ever been to in my life. It’s changed how I see myself and my confidence levels.”

 

Carolyne French has the task of coordinating and implementing training across one of Australia’s largest retail groups – The Good Guys. Throughout a buyout, corporatisation and then a second buyout by JB-HIFI – all in the past two years – she’s had the role of implementing change and rolling out new programs and initiatives across the group.

Carolyne’s frustration prior to the program

Prior to the Mastering Communication Program, Carolyne’s senior team struggled to get messages to land. The staff were bombarded with information from many channels and nothing was sticking. To add to the challenge, senior staff were known to rely a little too heavily on slides during presentations – the kinds of presentations which inspired little action.

The solution to her team’s communication woes

Having been a fan of The Colin james Method® for some time, Carolyne decided it was time to get some external help in to train and coach the senior staff to use messaging and communication to inspire their teams.

That’s where a customised Mastering Communication Program workshop was developed.

What’s happened since the team completed the program?

Storytelling is now a must-use in the business – and it’s been adopted so well results started to shine through immediately. Plus, the once over-used PowerPoint slides are now a big no-no. “Post Colin James we’ve literally removed all PowerPoint slides. Everything now is run using flip charts, we build it and we draw it out. That’s had an amazing impact for us.“

Carolyne explains there are a couple of senior leaders in the business that have been speaking in public for years, who had never been confident in front of a group. “I think that was getting in their way, and it’s really changed how they use their body and how they tell their message,” she says. “They have stopped looking at their content as boring and now focus on how it can leave and make an impact. That’s been incredible to watch to be honest.”

How did Carolyne’s staff feel about the training before attending?

Some staff were incredibly nervous, “almost wanting to be ill,” Carolyne says. “But there wasn’t one person in that room who would not haven taken away some skills they will use constantly in life as well as at work.”

Carolyne combatted resistance from her senior management to the investment by proving the program’s worth

“When we first looked at the program and we looked at the investment there was some pushback. Because it was hard to correlate the investments to the results and the potential results we could get,” Carolyne says.

“I can tell you after the first workshop there was no more resistance, people were walking away saying “that’s the best thing I’ve ever been to in my life. It’s changed how I see myself and my confidence levels.”

Carolyne says that in the end it was looking at the long term, “what are we trying to achieve here? If we really want to achieve greatness, be the best and be exceptional, then we have to go with exceptional and not mediocre,” she says.

“From an investment perspective and looking at the results you get from it, it’s worth every dollar. For a business like ours that doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on training and development it was a hard pill to swallow, but the results were there. People were able to practically apply the skills they learnt very, very quickly.”

Who does Carolyne think should be on the program?

“I think anyone could benefit from the program – but for me as a learning and development manager, it’s someone who’s senior in the business who is potentially brilliant operationally but there’s something getting in their way of being exceptional.”

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