technology connection across the world technology connection across the world

Global Training Initiatives

4 Strategies for Enhancing Global Learning Implementation

By David Yesford

Organizations today, ranging from global leaders like IBM, GE, and Walmart to relatively small companies, are generating increasingly higher revenues outside the U.S. and conducting this business through employees located worldwide. If you are in Learning and Development, you need to have a global approach to developing your people.

For years, organizations have been investing in globalization with varying degrees of success. A study conducted in the late ’90s predicted that the amount of investment in globalization would increase 12 times during the 30-year period ending in 2027. However, such investment has actually increased by more than nine times in less than 15 years. As we are trending at a much faster rate, if you are not already globalizing, you soon will be! When implementing training on a global scale, the path to success must factor in many beliefs, norms, and cultural expectations.

 

To really make 'global' work, you need to ensure that you have globally effective people who have a global mindset and skill set.

Building a Foundation for Global Effectiveness

What makes a learning project global and successful? From the start, it’s important to set a context of global awareness and effectiveness. Many companies operate on a multinational, instead of global, basis. They launch projects in countries and regions without taking into account local cultures, customs, and procedures. To really make “global” work, you need to ensure you have globally effective people who have a global mindset and skill set. When such people take on a project, they approach it as many local projects aligned globally, versus a global project implemented locally.

In addition to being aware of the differences among people of different cultures, the globally effective person is versatile in communications and interactions. Simply defined, versatility is the ability of an individual to modify his or her behavior so that others are more comfortable.

For example, a large global pharmaceutical company wanted to drive performance at the manager level to encourage higher employee engagement worldwide. Concepts such as “engagement” are understood and demonstrated differently by different cultures, so we spent time interviewing managers, employees, and businesses across multiple countries and regions. We wanted to know how the company’s employees operated. Once we found out, we used that information to help the company define how to implement the learning project in a culturally appropriate way. A clear but flexible set of best practices was developed and followed successfully at the local level. The company met its overall objectives of driving engagement and saw an increase in its overall efficiency and revenue.

4 Strategies for Successful Global Learning Implementation

Getting culturally aware people involved in the project is really just the start.

Four strategies—Alignment, Inclusion, Sustainability, and Integration—can provide a flexible framework around which to build a successful global learning initiative.

David Yesford

David Yesford, Senior Vice President of Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc. and Managing Director of Wilson Learning APAC, has more than 30 years of experience developing and implementing human performance improvement solutions around the world. He brings valuable experience, strategic direction, and global perspective to his work with clients. Mr. Yesford is an active member of the Wilson Learning Global Executive Board, with current responsibility at a global level. Over the years, he has held strategic roles in our core content areas of sales and leadership, as well as e-learning and strategic consulting. He has also held managing director positions in both China and India.

Mr. Yesford is the contributing author of several books, including Win-Win Selling, Versatile Selling, The Social Styles Handbook, and The Sales Training Book 2. He has also been published in numerous business publications throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. Mr. Yesford frequently speaks at international conferences and summits, focusing on issues such as sales and sales strategy, leadership, employee and customer engagement, brand, and strategy implementation.