Experiential Learning in the Auto Industry

The European branch of a global car manufacturing organisation was looking for an innovative and engaging approach to their leadership and management development within their Information System and Information Technologies teams. Their ultimate aim was to help the two departments, who were experiencing a degree of fragmentation, to become more cohesive and effective in working together.

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Background

Background

Background

The customer organisation is the European arm of a worldwide automotive manufacturing company

The customer organisation is the European arm of a worldwide automotive manufacturing company. They manufacture a range of cars, which are then exported to various countries worldwide. As one of the UK’s major car manufacturers, a declining industry within the UK, they recognise the need to remain commercially competitive and employ a staff of well over 5,000 who are key in the continuing success and growth of the business. To ensure their staff feels confident in handling the challenges of the present and the future, they provide a comprehensive development programme to all staff.

Problem

problem

The Problem

The customer organisation is the European arm of a worldwide automotive manufacturing company

Within the organisation it had become apparent that the senior management team within the Information Systems and Information Technology departments were not working in alignment with one another. Despite a strong correlation between their departments, it was felt there was considerable disparity between the two. The organisation therefore wanted to deploy a solution that could help bring the teams together and help them work as one function rather than in separation. To achieve this, the organisation wanted something different, innovative and engaging to ensure maximum impact of the training.

Solution

solution

The Solution

The customer organisation is the European arm of a worldwide automotive manufacturing company

In order to design the most appropriate and effective solution, TLD had to work closely with the customer organisation to explore what exactly the intended outcomes were, and what methods of training would be most beneficial to the managers being supported. The organisation were clear in their desire to encourage the managers to be taken out of their comfort zone, and to be faced with a very different situation that would impart the knowledge they needed in a unique way. To this end, several solutions were proposed by TLD, offering a range of different options to achieve the desired outcomes. After further consultation and consideration on the part of the customer, they elected to implement a three module programme focussed on three of their internal competencies: self, team and business. Each module was designed to address a specific competency, while carefully linking them all together, to help the team appreciate how a better understanding of all of these elements contributes to improved outcomes for the team and the business as a whole. In accordance with the desires of the organisation each module included an experiential activity that would take individuals out of their comfort zone; these included equine guided learning, a tour of Twickenham Stadium, and a group exercise to design and create the team values.

Training

Training

The Training

The customer organisation is the European arm of a worldwide automotive manufacturing company

The training provided was a truly innovative and different experience for the attendees; the focus was on utilising unusual activities to help individuals consider their behaviour in a different context.

The first module, addressing ‘self’ was a two day programme, and started by asking all delegates to set out their personal direction for their development, following on from this the group were administered psychometric tests to better understand their natural tendencies and drivers. This information was then explored and discussed within the group, and a consideration was given as to some of the external stimuli that impacted individual’s behaviour. The second day of the module comprised of an equine guided learning session, where the group were taken to a local equestrian centre and tasked with leading a horse within the centre. The purpose of this experience was to help the team develop their communication skills and build trust. The use of horses was intended to help the individuals find ways to communicate with more than words, and establish a bond of trust with the animal which they could then use to lead it.

The second module of the training focussed on ‘team’ and involved the team attending Twickenham stadium, and they were exposed to the experiences of an elite team. During a guided tour of the facility, the group had the opportunity to speak with the team who run the international day events at the stadium (where up to 700 contracted staff come together to run the event), the group were encouraged to explore how they are able to ensure successful communication and cohesive working between such a large team. They also heard from a guest speaker who explored this issue further and described some of the techniques needed to create and nurture an elite team.

The final module focussed on ‘business’ was an opportunity for the individuals to take what they had learnt previously and use it to establish their own unique set of team values to help them achieve better cohesion moving forward. A troupe of actors was also used to explore and solve real life challenges faced by the team, and the group then discussed how they could better react in a similar situation with the benefit of their new skills and insight. To conclude, the team were asked to present their chosen values to the Vice President of the company.

Challenges

Challenge

The Challenges

The customer organisation is the European arm of a worldwide automotive manufacturing company

High degree of scepticism – the most significant challenge faced when delivering the training intervention was the high degree of scepticism from the delegates. Many of the team had not experienced anything like this in their development before, and they expressed concerns about how it would help. To address this it was important TLD were able to clearly explain the potential benefits of the activities, and facilitate further discussion with the individuals to explore how it relates to their personal goals and aspirations. This enabled the group to have a completely different training experience, and the feedback received showed that almost all of the delegates were significantly impressed with the approach and experienced considerable benefits as a result.

Outcomes

outcomes

Outcomes

The customer organisation is the European arm of a worldwide automotive manufacturing company

The programme was designed in partnership with the customer organisation, but while they had ultimate say over what would be implemented, TLD were primarily responsible for sourcing ideas and designing the training according to the brief. Once this had been agreed upon there was very little that was changed as the training progressed. The outcomes from the event found many delegates reporting significant changes in their outlook, with one individual commenting on how the equine guided learning helped him reassess him approach to stressful situations and provided him with the feedback needed to make a substantial change to his behaviour. Similar stories were reported by many others, and the programme was rated so highly, the organisation asked TLD to design a similar programme for their team of junior managers as well.

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