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Learning & Development to Facilitate Culture Change


"If an organisation has grown rapidly in the last few years yet their culture has remained the same throughout its expansion, and as such does not suit a larger, more complex, corporate driven organisation, how can learning and development can facilitate cultural change".

Helen Woodall

6 Responses

  1. Learning & Culture Change
    This is a big, big question.
    I guess I would look at three main strands. Firstly, how do you learn what the culture should be or what it might change to? Perhaps looking outside to other cultures might fire some ideas. Internally, teams or focus groups could probably contribute.
    Secondly, how do you move forward the thinking, behaviours and attributes? There might be some direct role for training, perhaps around processes, but initially it is more likely to be indirect eg re-educating people about role modelling, what they praise in others, how the management team operate.
    Thirdly, how do you embed learning in the culture so that the culture can continue to evolve healthily and not be left behind? Much has been written about Learning Organisations but if I were to pick out just one point it would be the presence of some form of forum. Perhaps, using a framework (like the Business Excellence Model), perhaps using Action Learning, or perhaps Change Workshops.
    Rapid growth may have contributed to the current challenge but is also worth a look to the future too before throwing too many babies out with the bath water!

  2. Culture Change
    Hi Helen,

    This is a big topic area that warrants explanation with case histories, learning & development models and discussion about your soecific situation.

    I am currently working on a number of initiatives with large organisations where L&D is a key enabler to culture change and would be happy to share some of my experiences with you. Please feel free to give me a call or drop me an e-mail.


    [email protected]
    0871 288 1355

  3. Communicating Change – a useful resource
    Hi Helen
    Have you read: ‘Communicating Change – winning employee support for new business goals?’ It’s by TJ Larkin and Sandar Larkin and is an essential read for changing the culture of an organisation. Although it doesn’t focus on learning and development per se, it should help you focus your learning and development in the areas where it will have most impact.
    Justine Gaubert

  4. Leadership is the key
    Hi Helen,

    As the other replies have indicate, this is not a simple issue which a single silver bullet will solve.

    A culture that is stuck in the past is first and foremost a leadership challenge. Creating a an organisation that adapts to change should be a primary responsibility and focus of your Leadership Team. There are a number of ways of engaging the people in your organisation in sharing learning to build a new culture together; but the need and desire to make it happen has to come from the top.

    I hope this helps; feel free to contact me if you would like any further clarification or ideas to address the situation.

  5. Been there, Done That!
    Hi Helen,

    I work solely in the construction sector and 6 years ago was brought in to help a company change its culture whilst it was expanding rapidly. From no form of appraisals, no training, lousy communication, totally non-people focused and with 450 people, it grew to 1,000 people in just three years and recently won its industry Training & Development Award and got into the Top 100 Companies to Work For.
    I used the Investors in People framework but had the total committment from the Chief Executive – although certainly not all of the the other senior team – until they saw the benefits!
    It took 3 years and was driven from the bottom up with focus groups for various aspects of the change.
    I won’t put my photo on this, as it seems too self-promoting but if you want to chat, or see if I might help, please let me know.
    Incidently, we are not a training company, despite the name – we are an outsourced service for the management of training and development. In other words, I’m not trying to flog you a management course!

  6. You must have top level commitment for change
    Helen. It is a problem I have often seen in delivering Corporate Management Development programmes. You have no hope unless you have complete commitment to change from the very top. It is normally from here the culture is driven and replacement in the top echelon often involves senior management from a similar culture area. It will take 3 to 5 years if it is not a people friendly culture so bon courage. It is worth looking for a really good team to help, once you have established the top level cover. A team worth talking to are Q4 Solutions. ( Stephen Mackay


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