To the power of seven

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Head of Corporate Training and Development at Pfizer PaulMallinson explains why he introduced the famous ‘habits of effective people’ tothe UK subsidiaryWe have been using FranklinCovey development programmes at Pfizer in the UKfor more than five years and they are still having consistent and beneficialeffects throughout the organisation. However, we stumbled across the solutionsby chance. In the1990s, on the way to the US, l was looking for something to read atthe airport and picked up Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople. After reading it, I contacted a FranklinCovey facilitator to discussthe possibility of doing some work on culture change at Pfizer. It was important that I fully understood the whole learning process, so tostart with I attended the two workshops, The 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople and The Four Roles of Leadership, which enabled me to observe theexperience at first hand. Personal development The strength of the programme is that it goes deep into personal motivationand effectiveness, facilitating organisational change by starting at a personallevel. The philosophy of the course is to teach people to change from theinside, within a framework of universal, timeless principles. The material focuses on a work/life balance and aims to improve both theprofessional and personal sides of the attendees’ lives. Thus, part of the 7Habits course is to develop a personal mission statement, which encouragesindividuals to think about ‘who they are and where they are going’ in life, andto look at both short-term and long-term goals. The course teaches a‘whole-person’ approach where personal and professional goals and events arenot mutually exclusive and making improvements in one area will have positiveeffects in the other. Another key message of this course is the paradigm shift – encouragingpeople to see what can be done rather than focusing on restrictions. A powerfulway of illustrating this was to learn to juggle three balls. At first, many participants might not see the point in this, or mayimmediately feel they are not capable of doing it. But it taught us a simplebut important lesson. We were taken though the practical skills and steps neededto learn to keep three balls in the air, and by focusing on the goal and byadhering to these steps, we were soon able to keep three balls in the air atthe same time. The lesson was that if you allow yourself to see thingsdifferently and are proactive and prepared to apply yourself to a task, withwork and perseverance and by focusing on the objective, the task is achievable.Time of change One of the key benefits of the FranklinCovey solutions is that they can beadapted to suit different needs and requirements, because they are based oncore human principles. We recognised the potential of the material in keybusiness areas such as corporate culture and leadership. When I introduced thepersonal development philosophy at Pfizer, the company was re-evaluating itsculture and in the process of developing its own values. Many of these valueswere echoed by what we found in the Covey systems. Perhaps the most importantthing is that the 7 Habits is not just a theory – it is a pragmatic way ofmaking principles and values live and of sustaining long-term behaviouralchange. Once we had experienced the programme, I worked on adapting the coursematerial to suit Pfizer’s structure and specific requirements. To begin with,the courses were offered at management level, with the aim of exposing thebusiness’s top teams to these new methods and models. Often in large companies,change is not normally an easy thing to implement ,but the simplicity andapplicability of the FranklinCovey material meant that managers were soonsinging the praises of the solutions and senior management bought into theprogramme from the outset. Realising the potential of the material to improveproductivity, the senior sales management team cascaded it down to every levelin the sales force and as a result, most Pfizer sales teams are now living theprinciples of the 7 Habits. We also used the 7 Habits course for team development. With guidance fromFranklinCovey, we set up courses to provide ‘experience learning’, withdelegates including their own material and models. I’m please with the way weput our programme across – it is very challenging and this personalisationgives the sessions added power and relevance. More than 500 people have now attended Pfizer’s internal 7 Habits programmeswhich, as a licensed and trained facilitator, I now run. People in any part ofthe business can nominate themselves onto the programme as part of their ownpersonal development plan; line managers have access to a full catalogue oftraining courses, to build skills, knowledge and abilities and to improvebehaviour; and of all our learning solutions the 7 Habits is by far the mostpopular. This is largely due to word of mouth recommendation as those who go onthe course find it not only enjoyable but also invaluable to their improvedwork performance. Positive change The underlying principles behind the programme focus on the inner desire ofindividuals themselves to become more effective. In addition to imparting theknowledge, FranklinCovey provides the tools for building effective leadership,empowerment, planning and communication. Although these sound like businessbuzz-words, the course provides a simple yet powerful framework which can bringlasting personal and professional benefits. The atmosphere on the courses is normally excellent, with people sharingideas and experiences. A general desire for self-improvement and to help fellowgroup members to do the same is demonstrated. While our courses provide theknowledge and the tools, they also encourage each individual to use and managethese solutions to the best of their capability. Responsibility is in one’s ownhands but the 7 Habits steer individuals in the right direction. Paul Mallinson is Head of Corporate Training and Management Developmentat Pfizer Limited. VerdictBecause Pfizer operates in a fast-moving and ever-changing industry, returnon investment in such training can be hard to calculate precisely. However, itis obvious to me and senior management that the impact the principle-centred,behavioural training solutions have had can be judged by the effects on keycompetencies. For example, the sales teams that have been through the 7 Habitsprogramme are among the best performers in the business. The popularity of the workshops is another qualitative measure of thebenefit of the programme. The majority of colleagues who have attended thecourse and put the 7 Habits into practice at work and at home, say they haveseen definite improvements in their personal and professional life.As a large and complex business, one of the cultural difficulties at Pfizeris how to develop sustainability of ideas, when people and structures areconstantly changing. For this reason, the 7 Habits training is a never-endingprocess. Several people have gone on the course more than once and benefitedmore the second time. The continued use of the principle-centred learning anddevelopment system contributed to our top ranking in the Sunday Times survey.The task now is to maintain awareness of the 7 Habits course and its principlesin the face of continual change, and to add a new level of personal developmentby increasing uptake of the Four Roles of Leadership course. This applies notjust to those in senior positions, but all who need to have leadership.Like many organisations, we are finding that employees must have the abilityto be self-directed and self-led. Because in today’s world, command and controlhierarchical systems are increasingly irrelevant. This is ultimately what the 7Habits are about – teaching people to be proactive, to lead themselves, to behighly productive and effective, and to positively influence others. To the power of sevenOn 1 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Read Full Article