Large, complex global organizations have particular challenges when faced with organizational change. Many companies want to centrally motivate company-wide change initiatives, but it’s hard to generate real, lasting global transformations from the top-down. Change needs to feel organic and homegrown to be truly effective.
It is also logistically challenging and expensive to implement programs around the world while adapting to local language, culture and markets.
How can central leadership design and drive change that is responsive to local needs yet scalable to potentially thousands of employees around the globe?
The science of mass customization gives us insight into how to handle the challenges of localization and scaling. Mass customization is a design process based on the idea that a central organization can achieve mass implementation (including economies of scale, consistency of approach and quality standards) while treating each business unit—and individual—uniquely.
An organization’s star performers, coupled with learning tasks developed according to the latest neuroscience of learning, make it easy to develop and implement a mass customized transformation program.
The basis of the “mass” part is identifying the star performers’ purpose, how they achieved their mastery of leadership skills (what we call their “path to mastery”), and how they define mastery of leadership skills. These tend to be universal regardless of country, language or culture.
Developing applied learning tasks based on the star performers’ purpose, path to mastery and definition of mastery is the next step. Adapting these learning tasks to the local environment is the “customization” part.
What You Can Do:
- Assemble star performers from all key business units and countries and guide them to collectively define their purpose, path to mastery and definition of mastery.
- Create a list of learning tasks that provide many repetitions of the key ideas.
- Write the learning tasks so that they are focused on the key concepts, but general enough so that people must tailor them to be valuable.
- Set an expectation that people are expected to change the learning to fit their own environment while maintaining the objective of the learning.
- Hold people accountable for being proactive by examining and evaluating how they adapted the tasks. It’s not ok to simply do a task; people must adapt and apply each task.
By setting the expectation that people must customize and adapt the “mass” elements (purpose, path to mastery, and definition of mastery) to their own location and position, organizations can create effective transformation programs for all of their employees around the globe.
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