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Culture Change Programme DB Schenker

Using Playfulness to Transform Culture
Increasingly we are working with clients who are seeking innovative ways to embed values and get meaningful cultural change.
DB Schenker is one of the world’s leading logistics companies, specialising in air, land and sea freight.
They employ over 73,000 staff in 2000 locations across approximately 140 countries. Much of their of growth has come through acquisition. 2017/18 was a great financial year but senior leaders recognising the need for change, have created their own burning platform.  

They understand that we live in rapidly changing times and that they must future-proof the organisation.  
A key prerequisite is the need for real cultural change, ensuring that the values truly underpin how everyone in the company behaves.
 Over 4000 leaders had already completed an online cultural change learning programme. The quality of material and thinking was awe-inspiring. But there was still one burning question, how does DB Schenker genuinely embed the desired changes and make them relevant to everyone in the organisation, irrespective of job role or location?   

When Yvonne Villinger, Head of Global Transformation, outlined the vision to AKD Solutions, it was an exciting proposition. We immediately saw the potential of applying our learning methodologies to meet this challenge.  

We were commissioned to create a learning map that would be used globally, with three tiers of staff; Leaders and Managers, Office-based, and Frontline staff. 
Playfulness is key to designing and delivering our learning solutions because it comprises two crucial components: creativity and problem-solving. In recognising that people learn through experience, playfulness is at the heart of AKD's approach, with every event offering learners an opportunity to be both active and reflective. In the classroom, we witnessed incredible energy, bundles of ideas and people actively identifying how things could change.   

Playfulness has greater human connectivity than other methods, and if you want real change, you need both an intellectual comprehension and a human connection to the subject. In the design and early rollout of the programme, we saw how play made the subject matter personal to the participants. They were able to see and feel how they can live the values.The messages stuck!   

For such large numbers of employees, a digital solution would be the obvious and' efficient choice'. But Yvonne Villinger saw things differently: "I felt the importance of connecting the core of human behaviour to the learning; this included creating the sense of a community or tribe. Digital solutions are notable to provide this. They can be a platform to bring people together, but cannot connect feelings".
We spent six months developing a learning map called 'We AreSchenker'. Using the scenario of an unethical competitor stealing Schenker's market share, this learning map brought to life the need for change. The way to win back their markets is for everyone to apply DM Schenker's values to everything they do. The game appeared competitive, but the only way to win is to collaborate, demonstrating the value of 'Win Together'. The lightbulb moments created were unforgettable.   

We ran pilots and trained 30 Super Trainers, and the feed back was overwhelmingly positive. Participants said they now really understood the values in practice and knew what they needed to do back in their regions. 

Can it work for everyone? We are confident that a learning map can be used globally. But we would say that wouldn't we, so we asked DB Schenker to respond:  

"Because there is flexibility in a learning map, in terms of examples and languages and translations, every person can make it their own". 
Yvonne Villinger, Head of Global Transformation

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"AKD facilitated an honest and powerful conversation about race, giving participants the opportunity to share their experiences safely and inclusively. It was an authentic and hugely important opportunity to hear first-hand experiences to help us to understand the issues better. I found the experience thoroughly interesting and insightful, and I hope to continue the conversation at my organisation".
Gary Jackson, Group Director of Marketing Communications and Customer Success Mears
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We want to make a difference, not just in what we do but how we develop our people. Through AKD, we have been able to on board individuals and teams to our culture through conversation and fun, regardless of their geographical location, language and level in the organisation. Visionary and solution orientated, AKD understand our needs and are able to respond with ‘just the right’ solution every time.
Yvonne Villinger, Head of Global Talent and Cultural Transformation DB Schenker
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“What Akin and his team offer is very different to what many experience as part of a leadership development programme.  Their focus is on experiential learning rather than typical theory and classroom-based training.  AKD have partnered with us to challenge our approach and push the boundaries of our thinking to create and deliver a bespoke, innovative development programme for our leadership team.  The results have been truly inspirational and have left a lasting impact on all participants.”
Alison Bell, HR Director MTR Elizabeth Line
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