Leaders want development that aligns with business goals

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"The Corporate Pulse Survey polled 1,000 executives from Europe, the Middle East, Japan and China, and found that 41% wanted their business goals and executive education to more strategically align. ...


Read More Graham Wilson
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Executive education and leadership development seem to be taking a backseat to other issues in the minds of senior leaders

Leaders want to see executive education and leadership development align better with their firm’s business goals, according to research from the FT and IE Corporate Learning Alliance.

The Corporate Pulse Survey polled 1,000 executives from Europe, the Middle East, Japan and China, and found that 41% wanted their business goals and executive education to more strategically align. A similar number (37%) desired better long-term planning of programmes.

Where senior professionals had measured the outcomes of past corporate learning programmes, they said they had tried to measure the impact on employee satisfaction (72%), customer satisfaction (72%), employee engagement (72%) and/or revenue, profit and margins (68%).

However, only 37% reported seeing a tangible impact on employee engagement. Similarly only 34% saw benefits in terms of customer satisfaction. Revenue, profit, and margins, and employee satisfaction both returned figures of 32%.

The report also found that executive education and leadership development seemed to be taking a backseat to other issues in the minds of senior leaders. Senior professionals’ top three priorities for 2017 were found to be in-market growth (33%), strategy development and execution (31%), financial management (26%) and cyber security (26%). Executive education and leadership development (24%) came in at sixth on the priority list. However, 22% saw this area as a challenge they had to address in the next three years.

VanDyck Silveira, FT and IE Corporate Learning Alliance CEO, said that there were options for employers who wanted to improve. “It would appear senior professionals agree there’s room for improvement when it comes to executive education and leadership development,” he said. “This research further highlights the place of corporate executive education and leadership development, along with today’s key issues in this area across a large proportion of the globe.”

He highlighted the positive impact of successful programmes. “Over 80% of senior professionals believe that executive education or leadership development has improved their skills, is vital to achieving business goals, and is more important than ever,” he said. “In addition, 58% of them believe that executive education and leadership development are the key to holding on to their best employees.”

Comments

"The Corporate Pulse Survey polled 1,000 executives from Europe, the Middle East, Japan and China, and found that 41% wanted their business goals and executive education to more strategically align. A similar number (37%) desired better long-term planning of programmes." I find these kinds of survey very frustrating. To be effective EXECUTIVE education depends on long-term changes in attitudes. This is achieved through supported reflective practice, and almost all respected programmes are designed in this way. If a "business leader" feels that the course needs to be more strategically aligned then I'd suggest it is they, rather than their staff, who needs to attend!


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A large part of this issue has been created by the orthodoxy of the learning & development professionals, inside and outside of organisations. The dominant model of Executive Education has not been fit for purpose for a couple of decades. And yet more integrated and embedded approaches - we work with many well-known large large corporate clients on what we call Applied Leadership Development™ (ALD) - can make some leadership development practitioners uncomfortable, precisely because the ALD approach is about using measurable business performance as the programme's learning vehicle. It also involves moving away from the educationally sponsored idea that leadership is some kind of body of knowledge to learn and then deliver. Our programmes are by necessity about the development and ongoing delivery of leadership 'practice' by individuals. This is quite different from simply loading up with new models and faddish perspectives. It takes an unusually mature leadership development professional with an especially mature ego to engage with what feels unfamiliar and therefore potentially uncomfortable. But doesn't learning require us all to experience some discomfort?


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