Capability Development by Stealth – What subtle initiatives can you use to encourage and support organisational capability and cultural goals?

Capability Development by Stealth – What subtle initiatives can you use to encourage and support organisational capability and cultural goals?

Developing capability and culture by stealth…

So, my recent article ‘Is this the best L&D related advert ever?’ about Sodastream’s ‘Join the Revolution’ video prompted a completely reasonable question from one reader… ‘Yes, it’s a clever recruiting video that’s well executed with clear culture messages, but I’m struggling to see how this is a Learning and Development video’.

A fair point and one that actually opens up a much wider question about the additional strategies that can be employed to encourage and embed our organisational capability and/or cultural goals.

Before I expand on that, here was my response to the original question…

‘My view would be that capability development is (of course) MUCH more than just training initiatives and can/should include a wide range of other strategies that all align, interlink and support each other (no one strategy alone will ever achieve the best rest result after all). I genuinely believe that such a video would encourage and support an organisation’s shared values and (in this example) a culture of pride, initiative, innovation, acceptance, caring and much more…all things that I think most modern organisations would aspire to and that would form part of an L&D team’s organisational development goals.’

Ok, that’s obviously just a ‘world according to Sam’ statement, but I’m pretty confident that most people would share that view.

We’re already aware of (and increasingly using) the more obvious additional capability development resources/strategies we can use to support the traditional (but still extremely valid and important) face-to-face workshops as a part of a good blended learning solution aligned to the 70:20:10 model, such as e-learning, Mooks, virtual learning, coaching and mentoring, etc.

But what about the more subtle strategies that support these learning initiatives and mean a workforce is truly immersed in an environment that promotes, encourages, and supports them?

Well, the Sodastream video is (IMO) a good example (I don’t know about you but I’d feel a lot of pride in my company if I worked for Sodastream and watched an advert like that), but what else? In no particular order, here’s some ideas off of the top of my head…

  • Company communication channels (e.g. newsletter, intranet, etc) promoting positive messages from the SLT
  • Leaders at every level (but especially at the top) embracing the need to display the values and behaviours they want the whole workforce to embrace
  • Company communication channels promoting staff successfully completing major projects (and, in particular, detailing the knowledge, skills and behaviours that enabled this success)
  • Company communication channels promoting staff successfully completing learning initiatives (e.g. photos from graduations) and how this will positively impact on the participants, their teams, and the organisation
  • Awards for excellence in achievement, behaviour, etc
  • Positive images/symbols around the workplace
  • Including the whole organisation in determining the shared values, behaviours, etc so that they own them rather than being told them
  • Including values and behaviours in EVERYTHING from recruiting, employment contracts, on-boarding, and training through to KPIs, performance appraisals, incentives, promotions and everything in between

And they, I’m quite sure, are just the tip of a VERY large iceberg.

If you have anything you’d add to the list, please, please share them.

Thanks, as always, for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. Please be sure to like, comment, follow, and share.




About the Author:

I’m a self-confessed Learning & Development tragic. In my work-life, I’m a an Industry Engagement Manager for the University of Queensland’s Business School, meaning I work with clients to design, develop and implement ‘end-to-end’ blended capability development solutions.

If you’re interested in having a chat about how UQ Executive Education can help transform your organisation via our tailored executive development solutions, our public short courses, our Graduate Certificate in Executive Leadership, or the full MBA, please feel free to email me on

I’m also a keynote speaker on topics including (but not limited to) ‘Creating the workplace culture you want to work in’, ‘The future of organisation learning’‘Simple strategies for maximising transfer of learning to behaviour’, and ‘Speaking C-Suitese, not L&Dese, to win L&D budget approval’. If you’d like to engage me to speak at one of your events, feel free to contact me on the email address above.

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