Why should HR Professionals champion Executive Learning?

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“The growing realisation that better leadership and innovation are keys to driving business growth has put corporate learning high on the boardroom agenda. Effective corporate learning, leadership development, and innovation demand access to authoritative new ideas and thought-leadership.

“Business school research centres are hotbeds of game-changing new thinking which until now has largely remained buried in academia. For the good of leadership development and a thriving work force, this new business school thinking should now be deeply infused into companies and their existing leadership development initiatives, as a rich source of ideas which can expand their knowledge and kick-start internal conversations about organisational change.

“Unfortunately, until now, long-winded academic publishing procedures have kept much of the exciting business-applicable business school research hidden and well out of the reach of practising managers.  IEDP, through its new Ideas for Leaders service, is bridging the gap between the world of academic research and the real business world.

“Ideas for Leaders, for the first time, brings the best new academic thinking from the world’s leading business schools, including Ashridge, Chicago Booth, Columbia, Cranfield, IESE, IMD, INSEAD, London Business School, MIT, Stanford, and Wharton, directly to senior leaders in a concise, accessible and searchable format; where it can have a profound impact on productivity and growth in the real business world.

“For HR professionals to support this new, innovative approach to executive learning is key. Change and motivation within a company is so often driven by the HR department. Not only should they be always look for new ways for the organisation to benefit from business learning, but practising what is preached, by igniting change on their own team, will help to instill new learning methods within the wider company.

“Many of the issues that HR teams need to be address are ‘people’ issues. People in general, and the coming ‘millennial’ generation of leaders in particular, are eager to make a difference and companies can benefit enormously by harnessing this spirit. The challenge for business is how to do this. If people are a company’s greatest asset – the engine of its productivity – it makes sense that time is spent in ‘servicing’ that engine, as an engineer would for his machinery.

“An indication of the organisational changes the business community needs to undertake to bring people on-side can be seen in Deloitte’s recent annual Millennial Survey of over 7,000 ‘millennials’ from 28 countries across Western Europe, North America, Latin America, BRICS and Asia-Pacific. The survey looked at the potential impact of new technologies and innovation; and how businesses help people to bring out new ideas and develop their leadership skills.

“The findings point to significant challenges facing business leaders if they are to meet the expectations of the millennial generation. Over 25 per cent said they are seeking a chance to show their leadership skills, and 75 per cent believed their organisations were not doing enough to develop future leaders.

“So what should HR teams be doing to address these people issues and to develop their future leaders? And how can business school thought-leadership help them?

“People are ‘social animals’, hugely affected by the environment and interactions they experience, and the best leaders/managers are able to create environments where people are productive and efficient – and sustainable [tyrannical leaders can create productive environments but they are not sustainable]. These environments are the results of how people interact; how they work together. However, typically, we spend more time talking about our favourite sports teams’ ability to ‘work together’ than we ever spend contemplating how our own work teams do.

“How many organisations give their employees, particularly those with leadership responsibilities time and space to reflect on and articulate their work activities/interactions, and their leadership practice? i.e. time ‘to service their people machinery’. Business school development programmes enable this by taking leaders away from their daily fire-fighting routines and immersing them in structured environments where they can reflect and articulate on their work challenges.  However, such programmes are time – and cost – intensive and cannot be reasonably scaled across whole organisations.

“Furthermore it is very difficult for managers to do this reflecting and articulating in the workplace – they will often require ‘permission’ to spend time reflecting, and discussing the issues that are relevant to their specific while at work.  The purpose of the Ideas for Leaders service is essentially to offer that ‘permission’ – it is specifically designed to give managers information to stimulate their thinking on their work interactions – and has been purchased for them by the HR team of the organisation to do so.

“While the Ideas for Leaders content has been specifically structured to enable executives to easily find content relevant to their challenges, the wider service ensures the Ideas for Leaders team are on hand when required to provide customised prompts and signpost through the content; to create facilitated discussion groups, with webinars and videos/animations; and to bring in expert faculty/thinkers to build the discussion internally – and in a relaxed environment – to progress thinking and understanding on leadership and key leadership issues. In fact to service the main engine of productivity – and ensure working together is more productive and sustainable.”

Peter Chadwick, CEO at IEDP Ideas for Leaders

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