Laughology goes global with Fidelity
At Laughology we often get asked if humour travels and whether it works as a learning tool in different cultures. The answer is yes, however, different styles and content work for different people and cultures and to be effective, you need to understand what works where.
In October, Laughology went on a global learning journey when Stephanie Davies and Dave Keeling delivered an impact engagement programme for wealth management company Fidelity International in a range of diverse territories. We delivered in Germany, Luxembourg, Bermuda, China, Hong Kong, Japan and India, and in each one we had to carefully tailor our content and style to make sure the trademark Laughology fun and dynamic learning hit the mark.
The sessions were designed as a module of a management journey that senior leaders from across the company were embarking on in order to develop a whole range of skills. Our delivery focussed on creating the right environment, growth mindset as an effective management tool and FLIP.
We learned a lot. In Germany, for example, Stephanie discovered that asking delegates if they need a ‘wee break’ is too informal. The phrase ‘wash your hands’ is considered more polite. However when she dug a bit deeper she found that the informal phrase is pinklepause which literally translates as ‘pause for pee’.
In India the onus is very much on two-way involvement and delegates enjoyed sharing some of their own expertise, as Stephanie learned when she was taught Bollywood dancing.
In China, Dave had to put the brakes on his usual high-speed delivery and found new ways to connect with and draw out thoughts, feelings and ideas from a traditionally reserved audience who were always incredibly courteous, kind and respectful and loved Dave’s energy, physicality and ability to find a collective sense of humour of the room.
In Tokyo, Dave discovered that the Japanese are even more shy and reserved than the Chinese and have a culture built on obedience and respect for hierarchy ( which means that no one really wants to discuss what is wrong or needs improving within the company). Despite this difference in approach, the group did eventually open up and were honest in their desire to create better and more proactive relationships within their working environment and were genuinely intrigued and entertained by Laughology’s unique and creative approach to learning.
So what did our intrepid explorers learn that can be shared?
- Leadership engagement – leaders from the business attended the launch and shared their stories online about chats and conversations that have helped them develop.
- Doing things differently – online learning can be a flop. You need to create excitement for learning and a reason to watch. Using people who worked in O2 to appear in the films encouraged this and made it fun.
- Easily accessible cheat sheets as reference material.
- Engaging with a team of champions who can help promote and steer the project.
- Setting up early adopter groups and focus groups to get real-time feedback and action points.