The Future of Leadership Development in 2021 and Beyond
By: Brian Hallahan
2020, the year disruption was normalized! For 2021, an agile leadership development program will allow you to stay on track to achieve your business objectives.
What characterizes an agile approach to leadership development? This post will uncover current trends in leadership development and outline the essential elements to include in your leadership approach in 2021.
Leverage technology to access and distribute content. In-person training is still risky due to COVID-19 or other potential disrupters in 2021, while technology has been king. However, using technology for technology’s sake is not the right approach. Think about the ecosystem of your leadership development program. Technology may be the form of delivery, but content, application, and reinforcement are critical elements for seeing true results. Mindlessly clicking in self-paced learning doesn’t move the needle. Effective development programs lead to sustainable behavioral changes and do so by combining content with coaching and accountability. Fortunately, technology platforms can deliver remote-live coaching and involve one’s manager to ensure the person is on track, applying the learned content.
Active design. You must specify your learning objectives, then intentionally put into place a program. Simply moving content previously delivered in-person to Zoom, or licensing a vast online library of videos and classes are not effective substitutes for having an intentional approach to leadership development. For the content to be effective, it needs to be relevant to the desired outcomes and integrated into how the person’s work is conducted. Choose content that supports your competency model, flows, builds upon itself to help a person reach their potential, and helps them perform their actual job with improved outcomes. If it is simply self-paced consumption of online content or a facilitation and PowerPoint on a Zoom call, don’t be surprised to see poor outcomes or a low ROI.
Broaden your scope. The beauty of leveraging technology as the platform to deliver leadership development is that it is scalable (you can include more of your leaders while geographic dispersion is no longer a logistical issue). Those still in the beginning phase of their leadership role will strongly benefit. A recent Forbes article states, “With the average age of the first-time manager being 30, we have entered the age of millennial management; nearly 30% of Millennials hold managerial-level roles.” The transition to a technology-based leadership development program gives you the ability to train your Millennial leaders in their preferred method.
Are you investing or spending? Your budget should reflect the notion that the leaders themselves are the priority. Budget lines that used to send cohorts to an off-site training, or fly in outside facilitators are finite. You can also spend a large amount of money, building a program entirely in-house. From instructional design to tech teams building and maintaining the platform, these resources can quickly consume your budget and leave little room for the leadership development program’s actual audience.
Hopefully, at this point, you are thinking of how your leadership development program can be ready for whatever 2021 brings. I invite you to take a look at Accelerator powered by ICC as a solution that gives you a scalable platform that blends technology with remote-live coaching to reach your targeted teams. Mapped to your competency model, Accelerator uses microlearning, reinforcement, and accountability exercises to deliver sustained successful behaviors. We would love to have a conversation about your 2021 leadership development plans.