Introducing the concept of a learning organisation to managers.
Mölnlycke Health Care is a world leading manufacturer of single-use surgical and wound care products and a service provider to the health care sector. When it became clear that offering further skills training would not have the desired effect on performance, Primeast offered a programme that gave an overarching structure for learning and its transfer within the organisation, helping participants to benefit from their training and implement what they learned in the workplace.
Primeast worked with Mölnlycke Health Care in the Czech Republic, initially involved in the delivery of specific training events. Primeast then became trusted consultants for the broader strategic design of developmental activities. In line with the culture of many Swedish companies, Mölnlycke Health Care invested in people development on a regular basis. Whilst there was a steady stream of training offered to different groups by different providers, it was found that training was not providing the expected results. In particular, learners were less able to take the benefits from training and implement them in their work. Primeast was asked to design a programme for their managers responsible for plant operation. The group was well trained, but needed support to apply skills in their work.
It was clear that offering further training for a specific skill (such as prioritising or leadership skills) would only add to the options previously tried and not have the desired effect on performance. Primeast’s programme offered an overarching structure for learning and its transfer. Crucially, participants chose the skills they needed to develop. The concept Primeast introduced was that of the “learning organisation”, with a focus on working with the managers to establish the conditions in which their skills could be best used and transferred further from person to person. By doing this, a much higher level of engagement for all involved was achieved, and the principles of a learning organisation were established within the operational practices of the plant.
The development seminars contributed to a long term change in organisational culture. This was not only about helping the organisation to learn, but helping them to rediscover a passion for continuous personal development. The ideas covered during the seminars were important enough for the team to set up a special meeting two weeks after they were delivered to review their understanding and strengthen their commitment to the implementation of the learning organisation principles. The team not only arrived at a shared commitment regarding leadership style, which led to consistency of behaviour and messages within the management team in applying the principles of a learning organisation, the managers also became aware of their responsibility to encourage knowledge sharing and growth. This lead to a renewed organisational interest in learning new skills, in particular around the themes of conflict resolution and stress management.