Leveraging technology to accelerate leadership development

Leadership development has become a critical business strategic priority for a lot of companies in this rapidly evolving business environment, and no more is it just another yearly budgetary task.

Recent studies show that 77 percent of businesses believe that leadership is lacking at every level within their organizations, and only five percent of organizations believe that they have been able to develop the capacity of their leaders across the board; businesses are struggling to find and develop leaders.

For this reason, the Learning and Development (L&D) departments in a lot of organizations have rapidly expanded their value as top management has come to appreciate the significance they add to the different layers of the organization. Capacity-building interventions are being executed in droves.

However, while organizations strive to develop their leaders across levels, especially through the deployment of conventional interventions: Workshops, in-person seminars, and conferences, it has been found in a recent Fortune survey that, “only seven percent of CEOs believe their companies are building effective global leaders, and just 10 percent said that their leadership-development initiatives have a clear business impact.”

The statistics clearly indicate that there is a problem. Indeed, there is a gap that has to be filled in order to accelerate the leaders’ learning experience, consolidate learning, achieve business results, and deliver on set objectives, it is imperative to make leadership development not just a learning session or one nightstand but a continuous learning experience. Businesses need to utilize the overarching power of technology to support their leaders on their development journeys.

Can technology help firms’ access sustainable leadership development intervention? Can it equip them to get immersed in continuous learning even when workshops and in-person training have ended? Can technological interventions consolidate learning and drive the achievement of business results? Well, the answer is — yes. Many organizations have already started piloting new Learning & Development models enabled by technology.

So do we discard conventional practices? Absolutely not! Though there are limitations in common L&D practices such as workshops, seminars, and in-person training sessions, these high-valued, informative, and tailored best practices are not going away anytime soon. What the current scenario demands are the integration of the new technology with existing models to drive and consolidate leadership development interventions.

Modern interventions are utilizing technology to enhance the learning experience of high-valued and executive-class professionals. Web 2.0 tools like podcasts, e-modules, lifestyle mobile applications, webcasts, simulation-based learning, and so on are used to help executives retain and recall the information and the key learning they acquire in workshops that will eventually impact business decisions and results.

Today’s professionals and organizations are dealing with the challenges of time, finances, sustenance, and accessibility when it comes to developing their leadership competence, and this is exactly where technology bridges the gap.

Technology can play a major role in building leadership development programs that are faster, more flexible, accessible and digital platforms enabled.

A lot is happening already!

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LeaderX, Knolskape&Leaderonomics are organisations taking the lead already. For example, through LeaderX, Africa’s pioneer leadership development mobile application, we built a leadership mobile application that helps professionals develop their leadership skills by providing access to bite-size transformational leadership content that serves both individuals and organizations as a whole, providing an array of development tools: daily leadership content, podcasts, book summaries, games, fireclasses, mood music and so on.

These interventions have been able to blend technology and traditional practices of leadership development to consolidate and accelerate leadership skills across every level within the organization and are delivering significant results for individuals and organizations.

Many other companies around the world have realized the gaps in leadership development and are building solutions enabled by experiential technologies like simulations, tailored e-modules, gamification, etc. to accelerate leadership development.

Now what becomes interesting is seeing the amount of significant impact these new technology-driven leadership development programs will have on the strategy, culture, and overall growth of an organization.

So, while we see how these interventions continue to change the status quo, forward-thinking organizations should not be caught moping.