Developing Leaders Equipped For The Future
Developing leaders equipped for the future means, first and foremost, developing leaders who are ready and able to embrace change in the workplace. All aspects of a leadership development program, then, should recognize the impact of change on the business.
A core aspect of developing leaders equipped for the future is a commitment to lifelong learning. While learning and training have always been a bedrock of the workplace, what is changing now is a realization that skills are experiencing a much faster cycle of obsolescence, thanks primarily to the adoption of new technologies in the workplace. Mobile, for example, is radically transforming how companies respond to customers, how organizations connect a far-flung workforce, and how new products and services must be tailored for mobile devices.
Companies now have a number of different options when it comes to online learning.
The traditional approach has been hiring an outside educational vendor, who can create customized training and e-learning modules for any organization. Thanks to the development of the Internet as an educational delivery mechanism, however, there is growing momentum around a specific aspect of the online learning market known as the massively open online course (MOOC).
Another aspect of developing leaders equipped for the future is a commitment to rotations around the business, both in terms of business units and in terms of geography.
This borrows from the traditional concept of the “high-potential employee.” According to this thinking, an organization should dedicate all necessary resources to the training and development of its best employees – those showing the most aptitude for management and leadership.
In such a scenario, a high-potential employee entering the company at the most junior ranks would be given the opportunity to experience different parts of the business, and then sent abroad for further seasoning. The goal is the creation of a future executive who understands and appreciates all aspects of the business and who is equipped for change – however it occurs – throughout the enterprise.
Finally, another aspect of developing business leaders equipped for the future is creating different management evaluation tools that emphasize change and innovation. While this might be something as simple as a scorecard, it might also be a 360-degree interview, in which leaders are evaluated not only by their bosses, but also by their peers. These peer evaluations might include everything from simple questions to psychological questions of how well a leader is equipped for change and how well he or she can handle conflict.
In a fast-moving, digital world, technology is a key driver of change. As a result, online learning might focus on technological topics – whether it is digital media, mobile, the cloud, or Big Data. A commitment to rotations around the business might focus on those that are most dedicated to change and innovation, such as an R&D unit. And management evaluation tools might be used to judge how well a candidate introduces new innovations to the organization.
Putting all these together, organizations can develop leaders equipped for the future – a leader who can respond to change quickly and who is ready to lead others who would like to embrace change as well.
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