Learning & Leadership Development at HCI

  | November 27, 2013

Last week I attended the Human Capital Institute’s 2013 conference on Learning and Leadership Development. The conference spanned two days and was held at the Boston Park Plaza. With over 400 individuals attending, it was a great opportunity to learn and network. The many good presentations from a variety of large companies, universities, and associations focused on three key principles to organizational success: 1) creating transformative leaders; 2) building a continuous culture of learning; and, 3) understanding the new tools and skills for leadership and learning to stay relevant.

The conference sessions were diverse as they focused on a variety of topics, however a common theme emerged:  tomorrow’s leaders cannot be successful with today’s thinking or antiquated systems. Albert Einstein’s quote, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” comes to mind as we think about developing future leaders. As our world and business continues to evolve rapidly, the entire landscape of leadership is changing as well, and leadership and associated development processes and systems must adapt quickly.

Learning leaders find themselves having to train more people in less time with the same or less amount of resources. To address these challenges, we must develop scalable communities of learning and practice built upon process and technologies. Learning leaders need new knowledge, skills, and competencies with greater understanding of technology (social and mobile) and decision-making methodologies (big data).

Conferences focused on innovative and proven methods of leadership development, such as those from HCI, are important to help learning leadership stay sharp and continually improve. Below are just a few issues that emerged during the event that the learning and development industry are facing today:

  1. Most leadership development initiatives are not working as intended.
  2. Traditional leadership development programs must shift their focus to produce transformative leaders to address our challenging and changing times.
  3. Confidence in new leaders is low.
  4. Executive confidence in middle manages continues to decline and gaps in leadership pipeline continue to be an obstacle to growth.
  5. Transformative leaders excel in environments of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
  6. These leaders seek out opportunities to collaborate and look for innovation wherever they can find it.
  7. Traditional learning models must shift from only the 70/20/10 (on-the-job/coaching and mentoring/courses and reading) development model to continuous and process-based models with formal and informal learning.
  8. New technologies, innovation, and rapid change necessitate leaders with new competencies.

Investing in managers and leaders drives organizational improvement, increases productivity, and improves the bottom line. And in today’s rapid-paced business world, investing in leadership and learning is more important than ever.



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