Grundfos is one of the world’s leading pump manufacturers with companies in more than 50 countries throughout the world.
In 2001, Grundfos invested in their commitment to build sales competencies with the design of a global sales and leadership curriculum. This focus initiated a search for a learning philosophy that could serve as a platform for the design and delivery of the curriculum. The Grundfos faculty was searching for a learning platform that met the following criteria:
- Grounded in sound pedagogy, yet was not complex
- Could be easily adapted by trainers, also outside PDJA
- Could support learning beyond the formal learning environment
In 2000, Grundfos chose 4MAT as their model and began building competency in applying 4MAT. The Academy completed 4MAT certification and began the work of designing the global curriculum. The process of moving from basic to advanced application of 4MAT began with the team’s awareness that Grundfos was very good at “what-how” teaching with room for improvement in “why-if.” The momentum around building skill in 4MAT accelerated as the training team began to see immediate results in both learner reaction and learning results. Lars Holmgaard Mersh, Senior Learning Consultant at Grundfos, shares, “As you start practicing it, you can very quickly sense the difference when you are more ‘full circle’ rather than ‘what-how’, as we used to be. You can see that it gives results. Your own motivation grows very fast.”
Sharing a Common Language of Learning
With companies in more than 50 countries, building a common language for learning was critical. 4MAT became a shared language amongst trainers globally in Grundfos. “If you were to listen in, you might think …. ‘Wow, what language are they speaking?’ It is a tribal language, I suppose,” shares Mersh.
Global Grundfos trainers are introduced to the 4MAT language as they participate in the PDJA “The Grundfos Trainer”. The “tribal” language of learning and performance began to spread as Academy participants discovered their learning style preferences using the Learning Type Measure. Line Wilgaard Wittrup, Learning Consultant at Grundfos shares “It is a language we use to understand our individual and team preferences.”
Moving from Basic to Advanced Skill in 4MAT
"It warms me that from a simple concept you can keep on learning in new areas. There are always new dimensions to it."
For over 10 years, PDJA trainers have experienced basic- to advanced-level skill development in 4MAT. “What I like is that you keep on discovering things. In terms of getting enlightenment as you go through the years. You keep learning with 4MAT. It warms me that from a simple concept you can keep on learning in new areas. There are always new dimensions to it,” shares Mersh.
Skill development in applying 4MAT begins with self-awareness of individual learning strengths. As 4MAT skill grows, the ability to impact performance at broader levels in the organization grows.
- Foundation for leadership and coaching skill development—4MAT is a simple framework for leading, managing, coaching, and performance improvement.
- Model for execution—the 4MAT four-step model is a framework for getting things done. Project teams can utilize this framework to build a plan and identify potential barriers for successful execution.
- Improving the impact of training—4MAT dramatically increases the measurable impact of training by focusing on the essential content and eliminating the non-essential.
- Framework for engaging others—the four-step model directly applies to planning meetings, sales presentations, coaching and marketing.
- Building complementary teams—team members and leaders can apply 4MAT to communication, conflict resolution, and assembling teams with complementary skill sets.
- Increase self-awareness—individuals discover how their natural styles interact with the styles of others.
Focusing on the “Why” Frame
In Grundfos speak, the first part of the 4MAT Cycle, Engage, is referred to as the “Why Frame.” There is great emphasis on making learning relevant in the hearts and minds of learners in the Grundfos learning culture. The Grundfos team has recognized that without this critical component, learning is less likely to extend into the real world and create business impact. “4MAT is a more wholesome approach and also a constant reassurance that this is going to bring something new. Training does not become an event. Quite often, when you talk instructor-led training, whether online or face-to-face, it is out of context. But, we must address the daily context of participants. The learning is initiated in their hearts and executed in
their their business context. That’s an advantage from having a common language,” shares Mersh.
Creating Engaging Online Learning Experiences
The PDJA was tasked with extending the global curriculum into an easily accessible online learning format along side the class room learning to build a truly global blended learning architecture. PDJA was committed to maintaining the personal connection to the learning content that begins in the first step of 4MAT. PDJA challenged themselves to develop 4MAT-based designs that moved learners through the entire learning cycle. Line Wilgaard Wittrup shares, “Rather than focusing on the technology, we focused on how the technology could support the learner moving through the complete learning cycle. We asked ourselves ‘What is good learning? What elements must be present? Only then did we ask, ‘How can the online learning features enable this.” This focus enabled PDJA to develop creative strategies for extending offerings into engaging online programmes maintaining high learning impact.
As Mersh shares, “You need the full 4MAT circle to perform. People like that. They like performing and they get rewarded for performing.”
What We Can Learn From Grundfos
- Share 4MAT as a performance language. PDJA brought 4MAT into their culture. The language spread as global Grundfos trainers experienced 4mat and the Learning Type Measure in their Academy courses.
- Build a professional development plan for instructors and trainers using 4MAT. From basic awareness of learning styles to organizational performance consulting, 4MAT provides a framework learning professionals can build on to continuously contribute at a higher level.
- Focus on the “Why?” Begin by assessing which parts of the 4MAT learning model you currently emphasize and which parts need greater focus.
- Focus on the learning process when designing online learning. Focus on leading learners through the complete learning cycle when designing online learning. Consider how you can extend effective classroom learning strategies using the features available in the online learning environment.