Taking the pulse of leadership development

By Guest Author September 10, 2018

David Wells of the FT | IE Corporate Learning Alliance and writer, editor, commentator, speaker and broadcaster Bob Little review the findings of the Corporate Learning Pulse (an independent study of  attitudes among high-ranking executives, commissioned by FT | IE Corporate Learning Alliance). What do these findings tell us about shifting attitudes towards the long-term benefits of learning and leadership development?

The 2017 survey found that market growth and strategy development are the major challenges facing global senior business executives. Over a third of senior professionals identify business growth as one of their top three business challenges, followed by strategy development and cybersecurity. While there are higher business priorities than executive education, the survey clearly shows that senior professionals understand and recognise the long-term benefits of learning and leadership development.

Here are the main findings of the study relating to executive development:

Developing talent through L&D and addressing talent management issues are top-of-mind for senior leaders.
These learning priorities have remained consistent among senior professionals in the markets surveyed by the Corporate Learning Pulse in both 2016 and 2017.

Learning and leadership development are highly valued, although not always highly prioritised.
Senior professionals understand and recognise the long term benefits of learning and leadership development programmes, even if it wasn’t a number-one priority for their organisation in 2017. Additionally, senior leadership teams see it as a future area of emphasis for their business. It will be interesting so see how much attitudes have changed when the 2018 survey is published.

Corporate learning programmes still need to close the gap between expectations and delivery.
To date, learning and leadership development programmes have not quite lived up to senior professionals’ expectations, but they’re optimistic that future programmes will be worth the investment. On that point, the 2017 research shows a disconnect between senior leadership (C-suite, company presidents and managing directors) and other senior professionals on overall performance of learning and leadership development programmes. Senior leaders rate past-programmes more positively than do other members of the organisation.

While views on organisations’ abilities to measure corporate learning programmes vary, the bottom line is that effective measurement is still needed.
Although organisations have attempted to measure the impact of executive education and leadership development, they don’t always succeed, despite this being a priority when choosing the most appropriate learning programmes for their organisations. Interestingly, when looking at the impact of executive education and leadership development on the organisation generally, senior leaders tend to take a healthier view of success than do other members of the organisation.

This is an extract from The Curve – Issue Seven. Click here to download the full magazine – for leaders in learning. 

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