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Steps Drama is a training
organization based in London. Simon Thompson
is its Account Director. We are a drama-based
training organization, a learning consultancy,
and we use drama to bring issues to life. We bring case study to life
in order to enable delegates, our audience group,
to have healthy conversations around what constitutes best practice
in learning and development. So people that come to us
with an issue, an organization comes to us
with an issue, for us that’s often
things like leadership, performance management,
diversity, where behaviors
are really important, where behaviors
set the culture, and we work with
those organizations to help them understand
how to move things on. And drama is a brilliant way of doing
that, creates a nice, safe environment. We don’t ask
delegates to role-play it’s, you know,
we do the acting if you like, but we hold up
a mirror and we say, ‘OK, this is what’s going on,
do you agree with this?’ And because
the drama’s good, because it’s researched,
because it’s developed, because we’re very proud of
our associate delivery team, what happens in that room
with the delegates, with the audiences,
very quickly, is that they go, ‘Oh my goodness,
that is exactly what it’s like, yeah, and… and to be honest
sometimes I’m responsible for some
of those behaviors or my colleagues
are responsible. Now we can agree that,
now it’s out on the table, what are we going
to do about it? What’s the most
grown up, adult thing we can do about this to really
move the organization forward, to make it
a great place to work?’. What kind of training
do you offer? We’ve been around
for just… just under 20 years. When we started out,
we started out doing role-play, broadly for,
for medical students, so our role largely
was to walk into a room, complaining of
a particular ailment, knowing what some
of the symptoms were, to enable young GPs
or young surgeons to practice their bedside
manner if you like, and that was pretty much
what we were allowed to do. But as we’ve developed
our skills, so has the market, so now we tend to work at
the top end of organizations, um, providing end-to-end learning
and development initiatives, so we… we run
the whole thing and we, we… we develop and design
that with, with the client. Why do companies choose you
for their training programs? People come to us
in the first instance I think, looking for a new approach to,
to learning and development. We tend to work and target senior
leadership and work at executive level, so folk would come to us
when they’re looking to address issues at the top of
an organization. So often on things that will subsequently
cascade down throughout an organization. They come to us if
they’re interested in behaviors. I think this is
a very impactful, quite inspiring way to…
to look at behaviors and how you get
those right. Again, because
we hold up a mirror, we can work quite quickly
and get a lot of the issues out very quickly
with the delegate group because of the research
and development we do. Do you think drama training differs
from conventional training methods? I… I do think
it differs. It has added benefits
in so much as it allows us to very quickly
get to the issues and very quickly
get to the issues in… in a way that builds
trust with the delegates, and for any facilitator
running any kind of session, that, that, kind of, first 10 minutes
if you like, is absolutely critical. That’s when you’ve got to win
the friends in the audience, and drama’s a great
way of doing that. Once we assure people that
they’re not going to role-play and that they can relax and
enjoy the day and take the opportunity to pause and consider
the positive impact that they can make above and what beyond what they
may already be doing very successfully, um… they quickly start
to engage with the issues. But we also use other
techniques as well to… to get people
thinking about, ‘Well, what does this
really mean to me, what does this mean
to our business?’, and… and practically,
sensibly, ‘How are we going to move
this forward in my team?’ Because us
just giving, trying to give people the answers
is… is… is quite unrealistic. People need
to own stuff and I think drama’s a great way of
getting people to own stuff so that they can think about how
they move it forward for themselves and for their teams
and for the organization.

Reynold King

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