When a client asks you to design and implement a skills development programme to support the delivery of a business-critical strategy in nine languages across sixteen countries in Europe, how do you ensure its success?
Miradorus received this opportunity at the end of last year. Now the programme is well into its delivery we’ve been reflecting on what we’ve learnt about facilitating training across diverse cultural and international boundaries and come to the conclusion that there are some key elements, that when you get right, will avoid unexpected hiccups and deliver a successful implementation
For a programme to be as relevant and well-received in Russia as in France, Germany or anywhere else in Europe, there needs to be involvement from every country. “This is ok for the UK but won’t work/doesn’t apply here,” is an accusation we knew we had to avoid.
We held a series of data collection meetings, based on the client’s top project outcomes, with key stakeholders from each region. We used the information we collected to cluster together common themes and requirements and created a skeleton of key content to be included in the training.
We then worked with a team representing each sales region to agree on the key learning outcomes. From those we generated client-specific examples and activities that would resonate with participants in all languages and countries and would enable them to practice and apply the skills and concepts they were learning. This same team signed off the overall programme design and provided further specific exercises to refine the programme as and when we needed them during the development process.
Engagement and buy-in was critical in setting the programme up for success. It was key that all participants had a common understanding of what was behind the programme and why it was happening. For this reason, the most senior manager in Europe recorded a short video to be shown at the start of every workshop.
We launched with a pilot programme with some key stakeholders and opinion formers, which enabled us to review and fine-tune some content and activities.
The client requested meetings or calls prior to delivery, with every trainer in every country, to ensure a fit with the business. With the Miradorus team of trainers across Europe, we were able to deliver in all the languages the client needed. We used our tried and tested agency to translate the training materials and both the local Miradorus trainers and client contact “sense checked” them for cultural nuances.
We briefed the trainers thoroughly to ensure they understood the client’s business, the context for the training and any particular local requirements that had been identified during the data collection calls. Then followed a meeting with the client which was as much to help the trainer get to know the client as it was for the client to get to know them.
We then ran a series of “train the trainer” sessions to ensure they understood the content, how the programme was likely to run, why it had been designed the way it had been and how to facilitate the client-specific activities.
Prior to the rollout, the Senior leaders who had contributed to the original data collection participated in an executive session, so they not only knew what their people would be attending, but also experienced some of it themselves. This also helped to maintain momentum as they gave their support to a speedy implementation that would drive business improvements– quickly.
Self-sufficiency and long-term behaviour change was built into the programme from the beginning. Each country has selected “champions” – participants who completed the training, and whose role now is to reinforce the learning and embed the new behaviours on the job, on a daily basis.
This is a huge programme, and we’ve successfully navigated some logistical and delivery challenges along the way. It has been successfully received and is making a significant difference and meeting the client’s objectives with results that exceed their expectations.
Are you looking to enhance the skills of your sales and service teams across countries and continents, but are daunted by the size and the challenge? It can be done, and we can help you – just reply to this email.