Skill Development for Organizational Learning in 2021
The start of a new year does not begin without a reflection on the past year. We’ve moved a lot of our training to online delivery over the past 10 years, especially technical and compliance training and some of the soft skills training important for managers.
However, much of our real leadership training is done face-to-face and through outsourced events. Additionally, we’ve spent about the same amount of time per person for training for the past several years (on average about 35 hours per year, but “leaders in training” get twice to three times that average).
What is a "leader in training?"
According to ALA expert, Bill Welter, leaders in training are high-potentials, identified in the company’s succession planning process, being groomed to likely take top middle-manager roles. However, their presence in the workplace is in danger due to the current pandemic. As of March 2020, just about all companies cancelled in-person training, refrained from sending leaders off to training events and cut their training budgets.
Yet, there is still a need to develop leaders, even though the future is unsure. Zoom meetings have become commonplace and exhaustive, and, we aren’t sure what development efforts look like to be on target and effective. Many leaders are wanting these leaders in training to self-develop, as there is a lot of free information available on the Internet. This option is also not effective, as the free information is disjointed, of inconsistent quality and there is no learning path for individuals to complete.
To support transfer of learning, applicable practice should be embedded into cohort assignments and discussions. The best way to do this is to engage trainees in solving our new challenges and keep them engaged in creating our new future while working from home. Also, we should use hybrid sessions to blend self-learning with the momentum of keeping together as a cohort on a focused, relevant, practical topic. The leadership development process must become an organizational learning program, with future implications beyond a set of training content goals.