At the root of so many organizational and societal shifts lies digital disruption. Executive education, it seems, is no exception.
It remains a popular development tool among learning departments — in fact, 56 percent of learning leaders anticipate their total spending on leadership development and executive education increasing in the next 12 months, according to data from the Chief Learning Officer Business Intelligence Board’s “2019 Learning State of the Industry” report (Figure 1). A mere 4 percent anticipate a decrease in spending. Additionally, almost 71 percent report their organizations spend at least $1,000 annually per person on executive education (Figure 2).
The Chief Learning Officer Business Intelligence Board is a group of 1,500 professionals in the learning and development industry who have agreed to be surveyed by the Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group, the research and advisory arm of Chief Learning Officer magazine. This survey was conducted from January to March 2019.
Despite consistent spending levels, digital and technological transformation is requiring new approaches to executive education and leadership development.
According to BTS’ “2019 Trends in Executive Development Executive Summary,” the top five most highly influential conditions impacting executive development — topped by changing business strategies at 34 percent — all can be traced back to digital culture shock. (See Figure 3.) And these dynamic conditions necessitate executive programs that are increasingly tied to business strategy and context. The trends study was conducted by Executive Development Associates and is based on the direct input of those who oversee the development of the organization’s leaders for 270 medium and large organizations.
It makes sense, then, that the top skills being targeted for executive leadership, according to the CLO BIB “2019 Learning State of the Industry” report, include strategic planning, emotional intelligence, business acumen and leading innovation (Figure 4). This aligns with the trends report’s finding of the key leadership capabilities that organizations are hoping to address among senior leaders, including the ability to attract, develop and retain talent; the ability to create a compelling vision and engage others around it; and the ability to inspire others (Figure 5).
These priorities necessitate a variety of teaching methods that are anything but traditional. In these times of innovation and change, one thing’s certain: We’ve come a long way since the days of old school exec ed.
This article was originally published as “Top-Down Tinkering From the Ground Up” in the July/August 2019 issue of Chief Learning Officer.
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