User story:

Michelle Bignall
Smollan - Global People Specialist
I have recently been promoted and this is in part due to being on Mygrow. It has been a journey of discovering that I can do more than I thought or believed.
Beyond Metrics / User Stories / Michelle Bignall

We spent some time with Michelle hearing her growth story and the impact that Mygrow has had on her life. The following is what she had to say, shared with her permission.

I didn’t know much about Emotional Intelligence (EQ) development previously. I had done a few typical “learn what it is, define it, figure it out your own and try make it work” training programmes but this was my first proper EQ development learning experience.

When I did my 360 EQ assessment it really hit home how hard I am on myself. I think I rated myself lower than my peers rated me on almost every competency. It showed me how low my self-perception was and that my self-awareness was also low.
Having been on Mygrow for some time now, I think I would answer the self assessment very differently.

The Self-Perception module was particularly powerful for me. It was painful at times and a bit of a tear-jerker as it encouraged me to process some things that I had been ignoring for years. The presenter, Mark, does a really great job of sharing his story and pioneering vulnerability, which allows you as the viewer to do the same.

I have grown in how I view myself. I forgive myself more than before and am far more accepting of my mistakes and flaws. This has helped me to grow and be open to different feedback and discussions.

I have recently been promoted and this is in part due to being on Mygrow. It has been a journey of discovering that I can do more than I thought or believed. Previously I would have been extremely hard on myself if I didn’t reach my goals, but Mygrow has helped build my resilience. My view of myself has improved so much that I was willing to risk trying something new. I have been a generalist HR for 10 years, now I am specialising and completely out of my comfort zone, and I would not have been open to the change before going on the Mygrow journey.

When I finished the module on Self-Perception I challenged myself to speak at a national ‘Town Hall’, which is a Smollan artefact that involves presenting to 200 people within the business unit. I spoke about my leadership growth and how I had noticed things change over the past few months. We recently ran a campaign called “Leading with CARE”. And ‘CARE’ was abbreviated to Coaching, Assisting, Respectful and Engaging. I felt this aligned with the way in which I had grown, and therefore highlighted it in my speech. I took a page from Mark’s book and allowed myself to be vulnerable in sharing my story, which in turn connected me with the audience.

The feedback that I received after the speech was overwhelming. Many people shared how they could resonate with my experience of self-doubt and self-downing.

“My vulnerability and authenticity opened up the opportunity for them to also share their feelings, struggles and personal battles with me. This drew us closer and I started noticing the impact of actually connecting humanly with one another in the workplace.”

I have also noticed significant shifts in my team and beyond. For example, I had shared part of my story of improved self-perception with a colleague who is incredibly hard on herself. She is now also on Mygrow and recently phoned me to tell me she now understands what I was talking about. I have also noticed more openness in people. Previously I would go onto a call to discuss objectives and rush through the “how are you, I am fine” to just get on with the procedure. Now I take at least 10 minutes to hear how everyone really is, how their kids are and to connect with them. It has brought us closer, especially in the remote environment where we are no longer sharing a coffee station or bumping into each other in the hallways.

I now communicate differently and am able to explain myself much better. I don’t react nearly as much to the little frustrations and feel that I can express myself properly.

Mygrow has also shown me how important self care is. If you’re not okay then you’re not going to be of any help to anyone else. As much as I may have been conditioned to think that looking after myself was selfish, Mygrow has helped me change that perspective. It has given me permission to look after myself.

I think in general EQ is an important element of what we do as leaders, and for me much of the hesitancy with Mygrow at the beginning was wondering what I was going to learn in only 15 minutes a day. How will this be valuable? I have since seen that microlearning is becoming far more acceptable and has become best practice. And I have seen that if you want to really have that consistency in development, microlearning is the way forward.


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