Key Takeaways for Better Executive Leadership Training from CLO Symposium Plus+

By Caroline Avey - November 01, 2017

I recently attended the CLO Symposium Plus in Huntington Beach California, where forward-thinking authors and learning leaders took the stage to discuss the state of learning. As an attendee, I was struck by the recurring theme of how leadership development is crucial in times of change and was inspired to take in as many perspectives as I could to better address change in our executive leadership training programs at The Regis Company.

Here are a few excerpts from the plethora of great knowledge that was CLO Symposium Plus:

Fostering Rebels is a concept of Francesca Gino, author of Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed and why We Can Stick to the Plan. Gino describes how organizations become stale through conformity and suggest the antidote is the power of having rebels in an organization. Gino says that; “social pressures and rewards show us that it’s often easier, and more comfortable, to keep our heads down and go with the flow. But obeying the status quo comes with a heavy price, to ourselves and to our organizations.” Gino has found that organizations can improve feelings of commitment, satisfaction, engagement, and authenticity in employees by encouraging what she calls ‘rebel talent. I found this concept fascinating and wonder in a world of flat leadership, virtual relationships and conformity, how rebels would fare in most organizations? Could we, as learning and development consultant and professionals, serve our clients better by being more aware of rebels and fostering this behavior in our training and professional development programs?

Embracing Disruption is a success indicator identified by Louise Kyhl-Triolo, Head of Airbus Leadership University North America.Kyhl-Triolo encourages leaders to “think big,” “create safe environments to take risks” and to promote “doing and thinking differently.”  Again I found the concept of “disruption” interesting as I typically see topics for managing change in leadership development training programs addressed as though change is something that “must be managed”.  Kyhl-Triolo suggests otherwise - that a leader who embraces disruption fosters an environment of growth instead of stagnation. Take a look at your corporate leadership training program and ask yourself where your organization stands when it comes to embracing disruption or managing change.

 Creating Time for Deep Work is a novel concept that challenges our highly scheduled world.  Author Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University,s the author of Deep Work.  His work centers around the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It's a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. The idea is to change work habits by carving out time to be completely focused on a task.  Personally, I am known for being a highly productive night owl. The truth - I'm not so much a night owl, but at seven in the evening I ignore any incoming email, put my phone in the other room and focus on critical or creative thinking tasks. Or in Newport’s parlance, I am in Deep Work. What guidance are we providing our leaders when it comes to time management? Do our executive leadership development curriculums foster or emulate development of critical thinking by applying Deep Work concepts?

Leading VUCA 2.0  At The Regis Company, we are very familiar with the idea of  VUCA as a hot topic for our clients, which according to a Forbes February 17, 2017, article, VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) was coined by the United States military in the 1990s to describe the ever more convoluted and complex geo-political landscape. VUCA 2.0 is a strategy that Michael Nehoray, VP Global Learning & Organizational Development at Mattel, is embedding in his leadership programs and then the culture of the organization. VUCA 2.0 is coined by Forbes to be (Vision, Understanding, Courage and Adaptability) and challenges leaders to find their organization’s “true North”.  Nehoray calls this being a purpose-driven organization and is passionate about developing leaders to find and stay focused on a strategic direction. In this time of VUCA, how many organizations tailor executive leadership training so developing leaders apply VUCA 2.0?

So in summary, as someone who is often asked to provide input on executive leadership training programs, the CLO Conference Plus- Fall 2017 gives me pause to reconsider these new ideas for leading in such a changing environment.

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