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7 factors to design the best L&D program senior executives require

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 2 July 2018 00:00

As corporate professionals, we are competing around the clock with the very best. This seemingly never ending battle is inevitable not only to outperform our rivals but also to keep pace with the revolutionary changes taking place across the business world. As the Late John F. Kennedy famously said, “Learning and Leadership are indispensable to each other”. Arming yourself with the latest insights in your field of specialisation would give you significant advantage in this professional battle.

On that note, quality learning and development programs are widely accepted for driving growth in business professionals and organisations. However, the big question is, how do we design the most impactful learning interventions for senior executives? Here are seven factors to be considered:

1. Understand the significance of L&D programs

According to research the global corporate training market will reach $ 440 billion in size by 2020. It is evident that the companies are investing heavily in L&D. But the question here is whether these L&D activities generate enough ROI? 

Just as one would invest on Eco-friendly automobile and smart devices, the value gained from effective L&D programs will have a favourable and sustainable impact on your organisation’s growth and efficiency

2. Always start with a business issue

 We tend to look at most of the L&D programs simply because we need sound leadership skills among our senior managers, more insights on Strategic marketing and so on. Based on this, we look for Industrial experts to deliver the training programs. However, it is desirable for you to sit with the CEO/Business Leader and properly understand what the corporate strategy is for the foreseeable future and identify the most critical attributes that senior managers should master in order to achieve the goals set out in the corporate plan. 

For instance, if you are looking at an expansion to regional markets, do your managers possess sufficient knowledge in M&A? Do they need to understand the Macroeconomics trends and latest technologies in those markets? Do they have the skills to manage cross-cultural teams? Hence, always starting from a business issue would give you a better picture on how to align your L&D programs with your company’s corporate strategy. 

This will also help you allocate your resources in an efficient manner, which would subsequently lead you to desired ROIs from Executive education.

3. Choose an appropriate training provider 

To put it in simple terms, it is not about glamour but gain. We suggest you to identify the training provider who would best suit your requirements and deliver higher value for money. Global leaders in executive education are usually miles ahead of their local counter parts, since they have developed an extended network of international experts from leading global business schools and corporate entities. This would benefit you immensely with regard to attaining international business acumen on various aspects. In today’s context, playing fields are up for grabs, hence it is important to develop your people with global insights. In order to achieve that, you would need facilitators who could share contemporary global best practices.

To generate greater value in learning interventions, any service provider would need to have a clear understanding on organisational culture, leaders’ mindset and the people as a whole. The training providers cannot achieve this understanding through a transactional relationship. Both, the selected training provider and the organisation would have to work on a long term understanding which would result in a transformational change in L&D programs. 

4. Interpretation is key

Although the HR leaders are usually responsible for the coordination and designing of most of the L&D programs, it is crucial to understand the business context and interpret the objectives clearly and precisely to the trainer/s. Continuous discussions and clarifications between both parties are important for ‘smooth sailing’. Numerous costly L&D programs have failed as a result of not giving sufficient importance to this aspect. 

5. Gather the right target audience 

An L&D program without the right participants will fail miserably, even if you’ve got the best learning structure, trainer and pedagogy. Gathering the right target audience is as imperative as identifying the most appropriate training provider. An organisation should ensure that the participants possess relevant exposure and knowledge level for the training sessions. Trainers find difficulties in constructing an effective training experience with the wrong audience, which would lead to an adverse outcome for both parties. 

Also it is important to understand the roles with in your organisation which has most impact when delivering your value propositions to the customers i.e.: If you are a pizza delivery company focused on super-fast delivery, your pizza quality and delivery time, great customer orientation among your riders are crucial for your business success. So you might have to train these key positions continuously.

Similarly there could be functions that always up for grabs by the competition you would need to think how much you are going spend on L&D for those positions and same time the business impact. In this context you might want to consider a transactional approach for the L&D programs where you focus on process improvements rather that mindset change.

6. Customised sessions generate more value

Typically most of the organisations focus on both customised and open programs to develop their people. But a research done by Harvard Business School highlights that the customised programs which are business issue focused, generate better ROI than open enrolment programs. It goes on to say that the decision makers would gain extended benefits out of customised training workshops, where the training provider would be able to shed light on the existing business issues and climate of the participants’ organisation.

7. Focus more on the value, rather than the investment

It is an open secret that the majority of the organisations has tight budgets and financial constraints. While embarking on a world class L&D program may not be the most economical mode of investment, it is also important to focus more on the overall value proposition, take home strategies, global insights and state of the art learning experience which your senior executives deserve 

Despite the recent hype created around executive education, it would be sensible to pursue L&D programs with globally renowned training providers, by understanding the suitability and value creation, rather than merely embarking on it and exhausting the training budget


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