In today's highly competitive and lean business environment, organisations need leaders at every level to be great at what they do. Leaders must be able to make good decisions without all the information. They need to respond to competitive shifts and capitalise on new opportunities swiftly. And they are expected to coach and mentor their team members so that they become strong leaders as well, says Harvard Business Publishing's Ray Carvey.
Even those companies committed to leadership development find it challenging to build leadership capability in these tough economic times, when budgets are tight and leaders are increasingly widely distributed.
Progressive companies are moving to virtual development and are finding it works well for both scale and quality - often significantly better than they expected. Today's technologies deliver a wide range of capabilities with increased reliability to ensure engaging virtual programmes for leaders, at any location. By using technology-based collaboration platforms and tools, along with social media and other learning platforms, learning professionals can create compelling online experiences and real-time virtual classes that spark excitement and learning for today's leaders.
Some organisations have been hesitant to adopt virtual methods for soft skills like leadership development, often because of a perception that virtual programmes are less effective or inferior. Yet busy leaders stand to benefit tremendously from these advantages of virtual learning.
During the past several years, Harvard Business Publishing has worked with hundreds of organisations around the world to design and deploy virtual leader development programmes. Based on this experience, here are three reasons why your organisation should go virtual with its leadership development.
1. You can reach more leaders, faster
The traditional work model - where all employees work from 9am to 5pm under one roof - has become the exception. Global expansion, the growth of telecommuting and the "always on" nature of business are driving demand for development programmes that leaders can access anywhere, anytime.
Virtual development allows organisations with distributed workforces to deliver the same programs to multiple groups of leaders. This accelerates the development of key capabilities that leaders need to drive strategic initiatives across a large, distributed organisatio