Max Presutti is President/Founding Partner of Connectance, a network created to draw learning models and development of individual performances and organizations focused on innovation and change and learning contexts where emotions, insights and actions can promote the growth and development of talent. Max is certified in Organizational Vital Signs and Coaching from Six Seconds. Connectance is based in Rome, Italy. I spoke with Max and Director, Melania Mecenate about their vision for bringing EQ to Italy and why he decided to become a preferred partner at Six Seconds.
“We fell in love with EQ and there was no reason why we wouldn’t go for a preferred partnership.”
Tell us a bit about your connection to Six Seconds and how you became a Preferred Partner?
Max: A couple of years ago we discovered about EQ, and we were all curious and we went to a meeting with Lorenzo and he explained the meaning and we went through the SEI certification, Six Seconds advisor, and we made a decision, it was like love at first sight. Then we discovered through EQ we can regulate our relationship in the best way. It became our way to relate to each other.
Before Six Seconds, what field were you in. Were you coaching already?
Melania: Yes, we are facilitators, training programs and workshops and most of us are coaches. We decided to go with EQ, it was a way to complete our services with something completely new. We are always engaging in cognitive areas, and we discovered that through emotions.
Six Seconds has a theme this quarter of collaboration and teamwork. What are some examples of how you work with teams and how EQ comes into play when there are issues?
Max: At the moment we are fifty people. At the moment we are using the SEI advisor certification. It’s a nice way to work together. When we design a learning activity, always we connect with other people in terms of teamwork, it’s related to the emotional connection. When we hire a new guy, the way we let him get on board, we share our emotion.
Melania: It’s everywhere in everything we do. If we have a new team member, and talk to our customers, the EQ awareness has to be there somehow. Also, it is in the way we use EQ in our relationships and the way we are working. When there is a new team member, the first thing we do is to share emotions, why we are delivering the project, how that went. What is the vibe you are getting? The other thing, the x-factor that characterizes us; when we go to our customers, we co-design together with EQ, meaning there also we raise awareness of what we’re feeling, what they’re feeling,if that’s going in the right direction.
How do you approach the issue of conflict between group members when they are having difficulty cooperating?
Max: It’s not easy to explain the concept of EQ and its impact without having an experience of EQ. We invite the customer into our group work activity, so they can get a sense of how EQ works and how we discuss and share things, and how we get to a decision. We try to engage one of the customers in our group work activity. Then they become like an ambassador. They will tell what the experience was like to their team members. We deliver part of the activity in terms of training and coaching together with the customer, we engage them in the activity as much as possible.
Max: Most of our clients are in the pharmaceutical sector, that’s my background. One of the best cases, it was a pharma company, it was Intermune-Roche, and we delivered one of the huge training programs in terms of EQ. It was a three- year project. We started with the SEI, we had the profiles, the impact of EQ in business, and their relation inside the company. Then we had training on the emotional competencies. Then we go for the first block on self-awareness, we have exercises to name the emotions (literacy), then with management we did two or three sessions with the competencies.
We use a game or simulation that they have to display, then we go to the field, then practice, then we debrief. Then we go through the last stages which was about the direction.
At then end we delivered the SEI again and we discovered the kind of improvement no one would expect. Most of the competencies were raised 10%, the outcome in some cases was more than 25% improvement.
Were the results what you expected?
Max: I could imagine that it would improve some competencies, but consequential thinking increased as did navigating emotions it was more than we could imagine these results in terms of improvement.
Melania: I have to choose one? Personally I believe there is more than one. One for me it is the ability to make a choice, the consequential thinking. Because if you are really able to choose and you’re aware of the choice you are making, then everything goes through the right direction and the right channel and you can do a lot. The other is emotional connection and insights and empathy. Because empathy comes when you have your own emotions clear and you are able to recognize and accept other’s emotions.
I teach a lot of students in their twenties. I notice when they have to do a team project, not everyone pulls their own weight. How does empathy play into that?
Melania: There are lots of competencies involved in efficient team work, but I would choose consequential thinking and empathy.
What’s coming up that you are excited about?
Max: We attended the program with Josh in Italy in February, so we have a lot of projects in process. One of the most important is the talents development. In the beginning I’ll be honest.,it was not easy to explain. In theory the best thing you can do is help an organization to grow. But sometimes it is a struggle to explain that this model is better than others.
We want to help companies understand the meaning of this model. We are discussing what would be the talent for their work force. If you see the pharmaceutical industry from outside, it seems quite similar, but inside it is different. We are going to assess the talents, and compare the ideal model, then we are going to assess a group of people who already have this kind of talent, and we are going to mak find out about the future talents. It’s going to be big challenge.
Is there anything you can say generally about working in Italy in terms of EQ?
Max: If you see an Italian guy you can see a lot of emotion
Melania: Yes, we are very emotional, but we do not so easily accept the theory or the model of EQ competencies. We can show emotions, but we don’t really understand what they are telling us. Getting EQ to be accepted might be harder than other countries, because the fact that we show our emotions, it doesn’t always help us navigate them because we don’t always reflect on their meaning. It’s like showing it, but not taking advice from it, because once it’s gone it’s gone, we don’t take much from it.
How could you shift that ?
Melania: We focus on the advantages of the results they can get. If they become competent in EQ, it means they can get better results, impact wise, in their relationships, in their balance and their health. When they get the importance of the results they can take home, then you have them.
Thank you for talking with us. I wish you the best of successes.
To see all of Six Seconds Preferred Partners and search by region, go here.
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