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Comment Driving sustained change


Cog in the wheel

L&D programmes should be used to drive sustained change, says Jane Sparrow

In a world where organisations are continuously shifting and adapting, any performance dip that occurs when L&D slips from the radar is something that few can afford. Yet with the right focus and investment, L&D has the potential to drive much- desired changes deep into the culture. While change is inevitable, fatigue from

L Belief

This is about knowing the purpose and ambition of the business. This should drive the decisions that

enforcing endless initiatives needn’t be. L&D can make a real impact by creating a direct line of sight to the outcome, such as the need to be more customer-focussed or more inventive. For companies wishing to maximise their learning and development programmes to give their performance some leverage during times of change, it is vital that they build a clear picture of where their current investment is being directed. This can be broken down into three key areas:

earning is critical for high-performing cultures. L&D has long been invested in as a catalyst for performance but when change strikes, L&D can lag behind – or even stop altogether.

are made in the organisation and the behaviour people display every day. How many organisations, however, are full of people that really understand and believe in the organisation’s goals? How many really know how they make a difference every day? This is where L&D plays a huge role: to help people learn more about the beliefs, purpose and values of a company, and what they mean to them as individuals.

What we use – the tools and processes This is the main area where most HR investment is made, including recognition schemes, talent plans and succession planning. Despite so many processes at their disposal, many companies find that their culture hasn’t evolved to the extent they hoped for. Instead of being directed by beliefs and ambition, L&D programmes are simply established over time, and used because that’s the way it has always been. In other cases, they are focussed around competence only.


Cultural change happens when people do things. Yes, they need to share the belief about what is important and they need the right systems and tools in place to support it, but the one area that consistently fades from the spotlight is helping people to make it happen. If you want


AUTHOR Jane Sparrow is founder of The Culture Builders

Learning Magazine

to supercharge your culture, the focus needs to be on behaviour. It’s also where L&D remains a hugely underutilised tool, because only through development does behaviour change and, critically, stick. It’s not a one-off programme, but a series of interventions and encouragement that helps people live in new ways that are aligned with the organisation’s ethos.

In my experience, behaviour is a poorly- invested area for many organisations and needs more attention. High-performance cultures invest in L&D at all levels, particularly in their line managers. Such organisations recognise the immense influence line managers have over the daily performance of their teams and they actively encourage and reward them to be the best engagers that they can. Managers who believe in and fulfil this role are fundamental. Unfortunately, not all organisations recognise this, or are prepared to invest in their managers. Until they do, the most heartfelt desire to be a high- performance culture will never be actively lived. n

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