Developing the Next Generation of Leaders – Are You Ready?

Across this holiday season, there will be many opportunities to take a moment and reflect. Whether you are reflecting on the things that you are grateful for or the things you wish to change, reflection in itself is a healthy and necessary exercise both this season and in our everyday lives.

As I think back on my past year with ExecOnline, I am reminded of the forward-thinking excitement in the atmosphere at our ExecConnect conference in October. ExecConnect brought hundreds of engaged L&D professionals and global thought-leaders to NYC for three days filled with thought-provoking sessions, networking, and knowledge-sharing.

The theme of this year’s conference was next-gen leadership – what are the capabilities leaders should be developing to shepherd their organizations into the future? Throughout the sessions, leaders reflected on the state of leadership development within their respective organizations and discussed effective strategies to develop tomorrow’s leaders. ExecOnline also shared the emerging findings that our advisory team collected from conference participants. Two statistics in particular resonated the most with the audience: 

77% of participants stated that their organizations did not offer learning around next-gen topics. Additionally, 68% reported that they did not utilize data and analytics in their leadership development planning.

As participants made their way from plenary sessions to the ExecOnline booths, we heard a consistent story. “I don’t know how to begin introducing these topics in our learning portfolio.” said one conference-goer. Another stated that she wasn’t confident in these areas herself, so she felt hesitant to approach these concepts with business leaders. Next-gen capabilities as we found it were quite opaque all around – Where do I begin? How do I know if I’m measuring the capabilities correctly? What do I need to do to fill in the gaps?

This is not necessarily a surprise to those in the L&D space. Dr. Ron Thompson, Senior Director of Product Management, explained, “Understanding the needs of next-gen leaders starts with the leaders themselves, tapping into their current state capabilities and helping them develop into the leaders of tomorrow they want to be. This modality directly leads to the development of high performing leaders of tomorrow.”

Furthermore, across ExecOnline’s 300+ clients, we are seeing more focus on next-gen leadership capabilities for all levels of the organization. Jenny Salpietro, Head of Client Advisory, believes that this trend will continue as organizations will continue to evolve leadership frameworks to include more future-focused competencies. “Across the number of competency maps that we have collected from our clients, we are seeing an increase in competencies related to technological savviness, learning agility, conceptual thinking, and ethical usage of information.” We should expect that as work continues to evolve with more interdependency of data, technology, and intelligence, there will be more demand to upskill the workforce.

There is a popular adage that goes, “What got us here today will not be what we need for tomorrow.” This is true in many areas of business but particularly as it relates to upskilling talent for the future. In era of constant technological advances and changing consumer habits, tomorrow’s leaders need to be savvier, more proactive, more fluent and more nimble. As Stephen Bailey, CEO of ExecOnline, stated to close out the ExecConnect conference, “The need for leadership development has never been more urgent. You can have great strategies and resources, but ultimately what determines success are our leaders.”

Are you ready to introduce next-gen strategies and topics into your organization’s learning portfolio? Schedule a conversation today.