How to Create Training Programmes That Resonate Throughout Your Organisation

You might want to devise a leadership programme that resonates with your lower-level managers up to your CEO.

Or you could be looking to unleash a work management system that you want warehousing, engineering, and finance to adopt.

Or you’d like to encourage a collaborative framework to bring disparate teams to work together from far-flung corners of the world.

As you look to roll out company-wide training initiatives, how do you ensure that your training programmes resonate with the engineer, the accountant, the receptionist, and the CTO all at once? It was the big question in everyone’s minds as we designed a series of workshops on encouraging collaboration for (let’s call them) Company K. 

To create training programmes that resonate with the entire organisation, our first step was to,

Ask Everyone, Then Listen

You’re a crime scene detective that’s trying to solve a mysterious blood-chilling murder. You only find a strand of hair that’s not the victim. In a scene this complex; with so many plausible explanations, the different witnesses, and the contradicting statements, where do you start? How would you find the answer to this mystery? A clue – you start with asking the right questions. And depending on what you ask, the answers you get might lead you closer to solving the mystery.

Similarly, creating programmes that resonate throughout an organisation starts with asking the right questions while keeping an eye on getting to the core of the organisation’s issues. 

With Company K, we had a problem to solve. How do we create a series of leadership workshops that can be rolled out company-wide – when everyone working on every level from every department has different problems, concerns, work functions, and work habits? 

Design Training So That Everyone Can Relate

Here’s the big question, is it possible to design a training programme where one size fits all? How do you cater to administrative staff and management at the same time, and in the same programme when they use different methods to get work done?

Administrative staff might require prescriptive methods to get a task done. They need the work steps laid down clearly – the A’s, then the B’s, then the C’s. With the work steps laid out in front of them, they can then get the job done.

Management, on the other hand, appreciates the freedom to create their own ABCs, to shape their work and how it gets done.

With such different styles of working, how do we cater to everyone? In the end, we co-designed four workshops with Company K:

  1. The first workshop, for all, is designed to help people to discover how they can collaborate.
  2. The second workshop is designed to help managers to facilitate collaboration – how to run effective meetings and have crucial conversations. 
  3. The third workshop is for managers and is about gaining influence.
  4. The fourth workshop is for everyone and is about how to communicate commitment. 

Two of these workshops are designed just for managers. But, two of the other workshops are designed for everyone in mind. This is to create congruence in language – a way to build a common understanding when different people or different teams try to collaborate. It might be futile for chickens and ducks to try to communicate, but not when they can both speak cat. For example, when trying to solve a problem, using a fishbone diagram is useful to identify possible causes of a problem and to sort ideas into useful categories. 

An actual fishbone diagram used in Company K’s workshop

But, if engineering knows how to do a fishbone diagram, while accounting wonders why the engineers keep talking about leftover food, then the language barrier threatens to derail any collaborative intent.

Therefore, having everyone in some of the programmes is essential in creating a common language on that they can base their future collaborations. 


“It might be futile for chickens and ducks to try to communicate, but not when they can both speak cat.”


Design Training That An Individual Can Relate To

Some of the concepts that we reveal can seem simple for high-level managers while being intimidating for base-level staff. So how is it possible that we have senior managers in charge of strategic planning attend the same workshop as receptionists? We use fun examples to demonstrate how a tool is used before they apply the tool to their daily work. 

When we reveal a tool, we don’t go straight to tackling a work problem, because a manager’s work problems are different from an administrative assistant’s. So we start with fun examples that everyone can relate to:

  • Trying to convince a friend to try durian. (Unless you’re that friend who doesn’t want to try durian).
  • Getting to know someone for the first time. 
  • Asking a local about getting to a tourist location.

When we use fun examples, we can have base-level staff use the same tools as the higher-level managers while working together in the same group. 

Then later, when they apply these tools in a working example, they are paired with their peers to allow for deeper discussions.

This way, everyone in the organisation, regardless of their position, gets to mingle. Then they can work on complex problems with their peers later. 

Have Your Cake While Eating It Too

It’s possible to create training programmes that resonate throughout your organisation – to design common programmes that appeal to people working at all levels. What we did to make it work at Company K is to:

  • Listen, then discover common patterns that emerge – patterns that we then use to design our training interventions.
  • Design training so that everyone can relate. With a congruence to the language used, anyone within the organisation can then collaborate through the use of common collaboration tools.
  • Design training that an individual can relate to – through the use of fun examples that transcend organisational levels and work functions. 

Talk about having your cake and eating it too. 

Hi, I’m Choong Yin, a learning and development specialist at People Potential.

I’ve served and worked with multiple NGOs locally and internationally, having spent a significant part of my life in Kampong Speu (Cambodia) working with more than 50 villages in the areas of education; water and sanitation; food banks; and sustainable agriculture while working with survivors of HIV/AIDS.

My diverse background makes me a different kind of facilitator: I see nuances, appreciate complexity, and I’m able to distinguish patterns in complex situations. I work hard to grasp where my learners are, and what they need, to deepen their learning.


To talk to us about how we can help you to co-design training programmes that resonate throughout your organisation, email my colleague Mints at: [email protected]