Remote learning and training became the norm during the covid pandemic. With most of us locked in our homes, we were forced to look for new ways to acquire knowledge, to connect with people and, for many, develop new skills and capabilities. Those at the top of organisations, including senior leaders who are Members of our Community, had to navigate the challenges of leading their businesses remotely. How do you keep in touch with your executive team, your Board, your people and the outside world? How do you seek inspiration and advice, from colleagues, mentors and peers, in a lock down?
Online learning and training is nothing new. Companies have offered employees access to e-learning as a flexible and often cost effective way of upskilling teams for some time. The challenge of leadership development is more complex. For executives, it’s often less about learning a new skill, but instead understanding the business landscape outside of your immediate organisation and industry. It is no longer enough to have deep sector expertise, leaders need insight from a range of sources and across different geographies in today’s fast-paced environment.
Executive development using technology to let the outside in
According to our research, senior executives including CEOs, CFOs and HRDs consistently rate development opportunities like mentoring and peer learning as most effective to their roles and responsibilities. When lockdown hit back in March 2020, Criticaleye had to quickly adapt many of the learning experiences we offer our Members, so technology played a major role in keeping leaders current and connected.
In fact, when it comes to executive development, virtual meetings and connections with other leaders around the globe has become one of the major opportunities to emerge from the crisis. Our mentors are now able to combine face-to-face interactions with virtual conversations, creating a constant and consistent touchpoint for their mentee. Equally, and although we resumed our calendar of physical events last year when restrictions were lifted, the advent of more regular, virtual roundtables and forums at Criticaleye is enabling our Members to dip into leadership insight and be inspired by peers more than ever before.
Tech and Talent
If the way leaders are developing their skills and capabilities is changing, so too is the way they think about their workforce and talent strategies. Organisations need to adapt to remain competitive, and improve their understanding of both what it means to lead a distributed workforce. It’s about much more than remote working. Leading a distributed workforce should be intentional, strategic and it requires a shift in both leaders’ mindset and the culture of the business.
According to discussions we frequently have with leaders across the Criticaleye Community, executives need to ask themselves how they can create a new sense of belonging in a more remote working environment. They also need to question how they measure and maintain productivity. Overall, there must be a focus from leadership teams on retaining your best talent, and, going back to our Criticaleye Research, the C-suite consistently cites talent as their top priority for the year ahead.
Digital transformation is not just about the customer. It must also play a key role in how you engage your teams, what you offer in order to hold on to key people, how people learn and how leaders get the touchpoints they need to be successful.
Sreena Nadarajan, Head of Research UK, Criticaleye
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