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Drama enriches skills at Accenture


Accenture, the firm formerly known as Andersen Consulting, is using professional role players from Steps Role Play, the drama-based training specialist, to professional role players from Steps Role Play, the drama-based training specialist, to supplement development initiatives designed to enhance counselling skills within its HR community, interviewing skills for consultant managers and mentoring skills for consulting partnerswithin its HR community, interviewing skills for consultant managers and mentoring skills for consulting partners.

One of Accenture's goals is to enhance the growth and development of its people over their full career span. To achieve this, the UK practice utilises a range of innovative development approaches. It first used drama-based training as part of a skills-building exercise for the London and Manchester HR community.

“We wanted to help our HR professionals to counsel individuals facing difficult situations,” said Samantha Clark, a senior HR manager at Accenture. “The challenge was to present the issue in an entertaining and thought-provoking way. Having investigated how best to deliver this aspect of training, we briefed Steps Role Play and they helped us design a drama-based training element.”

In front of an audience of around 100 HR professionals, from juniors through to the Director of HR, role players from Steps portrayed different individuals with problems or issues and members of the audience were invited up on stage to give them advice.

“It proved a very effective way of getting people to think about the issue and the key skills involved,” said Samantha Clark.

Following on from this, Steps provided role players to act as ‘guinea pigs’ to help new consulting managers practise their interviewing skills, live on stage at an established internal conference, in front of around 300 people.

“We used to hold interviews with real-life candidates on stage at this conference but we decided to use role players from Steps as interviewees instead,” said Samantha Clark. “The role players also portrayed interviewees for small break-out groups at the conference, to give individual managers a chance to practise their interview technique in a safe environment.”

Steps has also worked with Accenture’s HR team to develop a workshop on career counselling for around 20 partners and associate partners in a sub-group of the consulting practice. The objective was to help them address some of the issues they might face when acting as mentors for managers or junior consultants within the firm.

Samantha Clark says that Steps characteristically provide convincing role plays. “Steps have become very familiar with the terminology and jargon used in our organisation,” she said. “They’ve also been quick to appreciate the issues that our managers and consultants have to contend with. As a result, their role plays are always very credible.”

She adds that Accenture often breaks with convention when it comes to training. “We don’t have a very traditional classroom-based approach to learning,” she said. “It’s more about varying the vehicle. Drama-based training has high impact, it makes you sit up and listen. It’s entertaining, often quite comical, and it brings out some very memorable learning points. It engages people, provokes group discussion and it has proved a very effective supplement to other forms of learning.”

Contact Richard Wilkes at Steps Role Play on 020-7403 9000 or see

Background notes - On January 1, 2001, Andersen Consulting, the $8.9 billion global management and technology consulting organisation, changed its name to Accenture (pronounced: ak-SEN-chure, similar to ‘adventure’ and stressing ‘accent’ + ‘future’). The firm has reinvented itself to become the market maker, architect and builder of the new economy, bringing innovations to improve the way the world works and lives. More than 65,000 people in 48 countries deliver a wide range of specialised capabilities and solutions to clients across all industries. Under its strategy, the firm is building a network of businesses to meet the full range of client needs - consulting, technology, outsourcing, alliances and venture capital.

Michael Dawson


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