Working with emerging women leaders in Fortune 500 companies and universities and nonprofits, I have formulated my own opinions on what goes into making a truly great leader – someone who is able to articulate a powerful, positive and compelling vision. for organizational and individual growth, and who can generate the confidence and support needed to implement this vision.
To learn more about the best in leadership training today, I was excited to catch up with Ray Carvey, executive vice president of corporate learning at Harvard Business Publishing. Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning division partners with clients to create world-class leadership development solutions for managers at all levels in global organizations and governments.
I asked Ray everything about what top leadership training does now that it wasn’t 10 years ago:
Kathy Caprino: What lessons have you and Harvard Business Publishing recently learned about employee training that you didn’t know before?
Ray Carvey: We have learned that there are several key dimensions of leadership training that must be present in all of the programs we offer, if we are to help organizations thrive and succeed in today’s environments. These key dimensions are:
Develop a leader mentality.
To grow as leaders, managers must internalize the idea that leadership is fundamentally different from task management. Being a great leader means both managing tasks and functions well, but also understanding how to behave and “present yourself” as a leader. It may be difficult for some to grasp, but it can be learned.
There is a big difference between a learning organization and a training organization.
It surprises me how many training programs exist in a vacuum. They may focus on training specific skills like time management, budgeting, and coaching, for example, but they incorporate very little business context into their program design, and they measure metrics such as “l ‘use’ rather than the actual business impact. Top-level training organizations go beyond abstract learning to understand how to align what they do with key business goals.
Our clients who do it really well speak in business terms, not in training jargon. For them, learning and development initiatives start with what the company is trying to accomplish. Some of the business goals that we have helped our clients achieve are building innovation capabilities, improving customer / supplier relationships in high growth emerging markets or changing head office mindset. in one country to a global mindset.
If content is king, then context is king.
Context is so important to effectively embed learning in an organization. For learning, getting it right in the context of your organization’s needs is what makes it relevant, meaningful and ‘sticky’.
Leadership development is not and should not be the same in all organizations. For example, the way executives make decisions in a start-up in a high-growth industry will be very different from decision-making in a century-old organization in an established market.
Caprino: What does Harvard Business Publishing focus on in delivering its training programs?
Carvey: What matters to us in a program goes beyond traditional training measures. Yes, we track learner satisfaction and engagement, but our focus is on real business results. How do you move the needle on the business in terms of application to the daily tasks of leaders, career development and retention? What should the company see as a result of this program? The answers to questions like these shape how we design our programs.
5 things we believe a leadership program must have in order to be successful are:
Senior management involvement
Include senior executives in leader development programs – as sponsors, mentors and coaches.
Point: Invite leaders early on to know what they want to see in terms of results, then get them to commit to the role they will play well in advance.
Create interactive experiences that engage learners
Professionals are intensely busy, so you need to attract them to learn. You can motivate them by delivering content through engaging video, using competitions or other game elements, or allowing learners to make personal choices and indicate their preferences as they progress. For example, BD, a global organization, provides learning through an online collaboration platform that offers new content on areas such as communication skills to strategy as well as internal experts who have volunteered to lead. focus groups.
Point: Investigate what motivates and excites the leaders in your organization. Is it competition, exposure to senior executives, connecting with peers around the world, or working on challenges that will have a real impact on the business? Make sure the right elements exist in your business programs.
Define and agree on clear, measurable and well-articulated goals and expectations
Learning teams often respond quickly to a business need to deliver a program. For example, “We need a new program for high potentials. What is sometimes missed is what needs to be achieved through the program. What will success look like? A stronger leadership pipeline, good alignment with corporate strategy?
Point: Slow down and be clear on what you want to accomplish before you start.
Caprino: How do the key leadership themes and messages in your programs today differ from those of 10 years ago?
Carvey: The focus is now on preparing executives to anticipate what will come next in the rapidly changing business environment, so that they are ready to act. They need to be connected to their customers, competitors and markets, and be comfortable making decisions, even in the face of ambiguity.
Five key tips for today’s leaders:
1. Anticipate change and be prepared yourself, and empower leaders at all levels to drive transformation and be agents of change. This will require you to delegate.
2. Managing your talent well trumps all the rest. Your excellence in your functional area (like finance) is less critical than your ability to attract, inspire, and keep great people on your team.
3. A global mindset is being open to diversity in all its forms, which is much more complex than knowing how to present your business card when meeting someone from another. culture. Be open, be humble, and beware of wrong assumptions.
4. Encourage learning within your organization and make it part of your culture. Organizations that continuously learn and innovate will be able to maintain their competitive advantage.
5. Build and maintain your network. Leaders need to get things done through influence rather than authority. Therefore, relationships and trust with a network of key individuals across regions and functions will be essential to getting things done quickly and efficiently.
To learn more about developing successful leadership training programs for your organization, visit Harvard Business Publishing.
For help building a more fulfilling and successful career, visit kathycaprino.com.