Helping Teams Communicate Better, Together: Marketing, Legal and the GDPR


We've been thinking a lot about the new GDPR legislation coming into force on the 25th of May. Many businesses we've talked to are worried about it — especially their marketing teams. Worried about their marketing no longer working the way it used to. 

This legal change is quite a change programme: a good example of how changes to the way a company communicates needs to be carefully managed.

So our Sabine interviewed Dorit Noble, change expert extraordinare, about turning that change into an opportunity.

Watch the video here — or read the transcript below.


Sabine:  Today I’m talking to Dorit Noble, who is part of the From Scratch network of experts. Hi Dorit!

Dorit: Hi!


Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.

I’m an award-winning trainer and a certified individual and team coach. I support teams in organisations who are going through a transition phase.


This is about getting legal and marketing to work on this together because it’s a challenge that is facing them both.
— Dorit Noble, award winning team coach and From Scratch change expert

The GDPR is prompting a rather big change in marketing at the moment. How would you approach that kind of thing?  

The first place I go to is the company mission statement. That‘s the place where the legal and marketing departments are aligned. They both want what’s best for the organisation. 

Next, I want to find out what challenges the company is facing in terms of this new legislation. Then it’s about working with them, bringing them together so that they can first of all become aware of how they are each dealing with the challenges, and then get an overview of how they can work together on the challenges. 

That tends to shift how other teams or departments work: it’s when they actually see the bigger picture of what’s going on, rather than just looking at what’s going on for them.


Do you have any more information about how you would achieve that?  Are there any specific kinds of workshops or tools that you might suggest?

The coaching that I do is systems coaching, and it’s quite interactive. We use lots of very experiential tools. 

One exercise that pops to mind at the moment would be contracting between them, so that there’s an agreement about how they actually work together. That makes a huge difference first of all.  

But there’s also another exercise that works extremely well which is ‘Lands Work’. It’s like looking at the teams as different kingdoms and building an appreciation between them of how things work for each other — and then work out how they can bring the best of both kingdoms to move this change forward for the company in the best way possible. There are other tools as well, but these two would be my first choice. 


How long does it take for teams to see a change in how teams work together? For example, thinking about the GDPR right now, how long would it take for them to feel like they are both working together rather than against each other? What’s your experience?

Usually I run it as a one-day workshop with a morning session and an afternoon session. That would be enough to shift and bring them into alignment. It can fail if teams are in incredible competition with each other and have no incentive to collaborate. But with legal and marketing I see that they are already aligned in the sense that they are not in competition with each other, and they are both wanting to make this happen in a way that is most successful for the company. So I would imagine that within that day there would be very substantial changes in terms of pointing them in the same direction. The logistical part of getting the actual project delivery happening, that gets designed. That’s part of the action and accountability piece that we do at the end, in the afternoon.


What do you mean when you say “that gets designed”?  What does that entail?

The last part of every coaching session is to bring some kind of action plan into fruition, to set a timeline, and then take steps in between that. If they are saying, “Okay, we need to deliver this within two months,” then we need to create the milestones for each point and ownership and accountability for the project management part. 

As a coach, one of the most important things is that we don’t just have these fantastic conversations where people surface a lot of new information. That’s part of the coaching, but what’s really important is that whatever the agenda is, gets driven forward.
— Dorit Noble


So the work really only starts with the workshop, and it continues afterwards. There are quite a lot of changed behaviours, changed ways of thinking and tools that stay with the people even after you’ve left them. 

I think the reason the change is so transformational rather than incremental is because you are going deeper.  You are going to that emotional level, where it leaves a resonance that lasts. It just keeps going and will also have a ripple effect on other projects that they run, that they need to work on together.


Are you still involved at the stage when they have got that action piece and the different timelines that they are working towards?

When I’m working with an individual client, there can be an accountability piece where I get told what’s happened, by when, all of that. But when I’m working with corporate teams, this is really something that they will then take on themselves.


It sounds like you can achieve quite a lot with one day’s worth of workshop time and really make a huge change in how teams relate to each other and how a company works.  

Are there any conditions or pre-requisites that teams have to meet before it even makes sense to work together with you?

Well, the first thing that I always ask for is that we meet up. There’s no obligations attached to it. It’s just an opportunity to meet up and hear what is going on for them. They can ask questions and we can see whether coaching is the right fit for them. And then there’s an assessment process before we actually meet on the day for the workshops.


Tell us a bit more about the assessment and what that means.

If it’s a really large team — let’s say 100 people — then it would probably be some kind of survey that’s sent to everybody. If it’s a smaller team, it could be phone interviews. It’s basically either some kind of written assessment, phone interviews, or both — depending on time and budget.


Sounds like the work you do on the day is really tailored to the company you are working with. No cookie-cutter-type approach! You get to know the company and the people in it.

Yes, absolutely. The assessment is something that we would be designing with HR.  We’d be looking at what they want exactly and we’d be collaborating on creating it together.


Over to you

If you are in the middle of some kind of change management initiative such as the GDPR or some other communications change and you do need support, we can help.  

Simply book a no-obligation chat such as the one that Dorit’s just outlined — and we can find out if we are a good fit. 

Or ask your questions right here in the comments, and we'll do our best to help you here!


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