🟢 Layered learning in service of culture shift

Based on a programme we designed and have been running for a few years with a French administration facing critical changes, let's illustrate and share our approach to layered learning in implementing cultural change.

🟢 Layered learning in service of culture shift
Photo by Appolinary Kalashnikova / Unsplash

Culture is the embodiment of values and mindset and is observable via the behaviours of the employees (how they work, communicate, the techno they use, etc.) With any culture shift, new values, mindsets, ways of working, and processes are being introduced. Still, the real cultural shift will only happen if the newness is being embodied in the organisation not just for one month but as a sustainable practice. Using the example of one of our clients, ADEME (French Agency for Ecological Transition), and one of their innovation programme called ADEME Innov', let's explore how we can work through the various layers of learning so that the new mindset and ways of working with innovation can permeate the whole organisation.

Layer 1: Content Ingestion

This is the layer that most trainers, training participants, and HR know about learning. The idea is that content - be it spoken live, read, watched online, or otherwise - is being shared with people, be they managers, leaders, or employees. I will only focus here on learning in organisations rather than individuals.

Our experience has shown a few key principles that we live by:

  • Form is important. The wrong format can kill any content, however clever, insightful, or brilliant it may be. And I'm not just talking about what visual to use in a slide presentation 🙃 The design of any sharing of content must include a reflection about the format (face-to-face or online, visual slides or drawing on a whiteboard, keynote speech or small group interactions, etc.) When the client imposes the form because of their constraints or preconceptions or because you have to fit in something else (like an event), unfortunately, it can lead to a mismatch between content and population or between expectations and needs and be very inefficient.
  • As trainer-consultant, it is our job to negotiate our inner conflict between empathy for the client and its expressed needs and assertiveness about what we know to be "the right" way of sharing our content. And, it hence becomes our responsibility to have a keen understanding of learning behaviours as much as our subject of expertise and be able to convey this to our clients.
  • Willingness and engagement of participants are conducive to better receptivity and content ingestion. That seems very obvious when I write it, but in actual fact, not many consultants, trainers, and clients are aware of it. Indeed they are often in love with the content (I am guilty of that too 😘) and assume that people will be willing to learn from them just because. We have found that helping our client communicate about our content way before our sessions or interactions is key to not only "get bums on seats" but to ensuring it triggers enthusiasm and receptivity. Nothing worse than getting people in a room (real or virtual) who were "pushed" into it.