Shakespeare at Work


Posted by Jan Lawrence


The background to and benefits of a “Shakespeare at Work” workshop

The background

Back in the early 1990s when her life and business were becoming very challenging, Gillian Bridge found that she was spending a disproportionate amount of time each day churning issues around in her mind, trying to find positives, working out new norms and attempting to plan for the changing future.  Looking back she realised that everything was so ridiculously complicated because she had no template or model for how she should be thinking in such critically different circumstances.  She had no formula for directing her inner thought processes in a dynamic and business-like way.

Then, whilst watching a production of “Twelfth Night”, something wonderful happened.  Gillian knew Shakespeare’s work well being an English graduate and teacher but she had never thought of him as a modeller of modern reality.  Yes, he was a profound commentator on human psychology, but a provider of business solutions, no. He wrote works of genius, but was he a genius at work?

Well, the answer, of course, is that he was.  Not only was he the world’s greatest playwright and poet, he was also a consummate businessman, running a very successful enterprise that involved making and selling one of the world’s most successful and enduring products, managing a large staff, staging productions which changed over at a rate unthinkable today, holding a property portfolio, and keeping abreast of a regular storm of litigation.

Gillian had so far only looked to conventional wisdoms for guidance but having recognised the transformational power of “Twelfth Night”, Gillian re-read Shakespeare’s other works with a new mindset.  She realised that what she was looking for had been available all along, in the plays.  They were, in effect, a series of instructions for dealing with challenge and change, “scripts” for how to inspire others to join in the enterprise.

This new understanding was of such great personal benefit to Gillian that she wanted to share it with others and thus developed a unique new training to offer to businesses in the South West of England.  Her first master class in “Shakespeare, Language and Leadership” was delivered in 2001 to a most appreciative audience of Training Managers from banks, building societies and IT companies in Bristol.  The training has since gone from strength to strength and is now available nationally.

The workshop

Any organisation, executive team or individual that wants to function and communicate as effectively as possible, at any time, would benefit enormously from a Shakespeare Workshop.  They are of particular relevance in today’s climate and listed below are just a few of the topics which are particularly applicable to the current conditions:

  • Strategic thinking in times of change
  • Maintaining loyalty during phases of restructuring
  • Fitting language and communications to the need of the moment
  • Retaining the capacity to listen during periods of stress
  • Keeping faith with the future – communicating a vision of how things might be, when the past no longer provides templates
  • Having the inner confidence to identify trailblazing solutions
  • Gaining the trust of people in a fast changing world – appealing to a wide and diverse audience
  • The mind science of persuasive strategies
  • Knowing the critical questions to ask

Shakespeare-based training can provide you with an exact model, a word for word template of what needs to be done, how you have to think, speak and behave in order to achieve your preferred outcome.  It is this clear, simple template that has worked so well in giving direction and confidence to so many of Gillian’s clients over the years.

No previous in-depth knowledge of Shakespeare’s work is needed to attend or benefit from a workshop.  All that is required to get the most out of the course is an intelligent readiness to move past any perceived difficulties with language and the open mindedness to be ready to do some visionary thinking about every day challenges.

Shakespeare is for everyone and Gillian can supply a modern “translation” if clients would prefer this approach.

The feedback

Senior executives, even Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of major international institutions, have benefited from the leadership aspects of the course.  Managers with diverse teams to run have found inspired ways to communicate and team members, at all levels, have developed new strategic thinking skills as outcomes from attending the workshop.

As one happy and successful CEO said, the course

“… has provided real opportunities to take the inter-personal communication and understanding to another level.

There is now a conscious well-structured foundation on which both individuals, and the team as a whole, build to achieve an increased level of effectiveness.  This is only surpassed by the views of many of the participants who have highlighted it as the most enjoyable and effective piece of personal development they have undertaken for years.”

Typical responses to the Satisfaction Survey sent to clients following the completion of a workshop include:

Would you use these services again?         “Indubitably”

Would you recommend these services?    “Have already done so”

Interested?

If you would like to find out more about the “Shakespeare at Work” workshop, please call Alastair Taylor on 0845 548 8054 or send an email to [email protected].

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