In our most recent webinar, Tim Munden, former Chief Learning Officer at Unilever shared his insights into why leadership stands at the crux of steering successful change in organizations with a strong learning culture.

It’s crucial to understand that leadership is more than strategy and vision, but also about fostering a learning culture where change is embraced.

Fearless leadership for transformational change

The statistics are clear: employees rank leadership as the top driver of transformation success. This places an enormous responsibility on leaders to not only chart the course of change but to also walk the talk. 

Leaders must model change with vulnerability and actively involve employees in the change process. The mantra here is participation over imposition.

As Tim succinctly puts it, “Change programs go wrong when people fear it’s being done to them rather than their participating.”

Building skills and mindsets for change

In our technologically-driven world, the only constant is change. Tim discusses the need for a focus on both the ‘apps’ or technical skills necessary to perform work and the ‘operating system’ or the underlying capabilities, mindsets, and attitudes that enable readiness for change.

A successful reskilling strategy must consider the skills required to drive business in the foreseeable future and concurrently address how to prepare people to adapt to these changes. Leadership must foster a growth mindset within the organization and create a culture where continual learning and adaptability are valued and rewarded.

Creating a Learning Culture

Tim’s approach to fostering a learning culture centers around data. By obsessing over learning engagement metrics, such as the percentage of employees who engage with the learning platform, leaders can gain valuable insights into how, when, and what employees want to learn.

Further still, with technological advancements making it possible to go beyond just completion metrics and engagement rates, it’s possible to write a full story to understand not just what people are learning, but how they are learning too.

This is the difference between learning as an activity and learning as a culture.

All this data can be a goldmine, helping tailor learning initiatives that resonate with employees and meet organizational needs.

Purpose to Drive Change: the why behind the what

Perhaps the most profound takeaway from Tim’s insights is the power of purpose and the key role leadership plays in encouraging individual purpose.

When done correctly, this has a domino effect on the organization’s ability to change, improve performance, and foster employee well-being.

“Unilever employees who went through purpose workshops were then encouraged to align their personal purpose with the skills needed for the future of work.”

This will ensure that development plans are intrinsically motivated paths that employees are eager to embark on.

The Business Case for Reskilling

Tim also sheds light on the business case for reskilling versus the traditional hire-fire approach. It is key for leaders at all levels of an organization to understand the business case for reskilling.

By analyzing costs associated with severance, recruitment, and time to competence, Unilever found that reskilling not only made better financial sense but also nurtured the employer brand and enhanced company culture.

In Conclusion

The overall takeaway from Tim on the topic of leadership for change as we navigate the constant flux of organizational environments, leaders must step up as the agents of change, role modeling the journey, and creating a platform that nurtures a purpose-driven, learning culture.

Up Next…

We’re so excited to announce our next webinar.

Join us for an engaging conversation between the fantastic Natal Dank, author of Agile L&D, and our very own CEO, Laura Keith.

And there’s more! When you sign up you’ll be entered into a draw to WIN a free copy of Natal’s book.

Sign up now to secure your spot and get a chance to be first in line for the free book draw!

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