As a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic we have all been forced to reassess the way we operate in our daily lives – both personally and professionally. During this time we have seen businesses make the switch to remote working and transition face to face learning and development programs to an online format. Whilst this has presented challenges as we adapt to new ways of communicating with one another, there have been many benefits, one of them being the way we deliver online leadership and development training. In this article we consider some of the key actions that need to be taken to establish the right virtual learning environment for leadership training.
Before selecting the method of delivery, it is always best to consider what outcomes you are looking to achieve with your leadership training program.
- Why is this leadership training important?
- What is your goal?
- Who will be involved?
- What are the areas of leadership development that you want to focus on?
- Who will be involved in the leadership training?
Once you have determined your reasons for taking on leadership development training, it then becomes possible to explore how that training may be delivered to your team. It then becomes a question of what is the right technology for the task at hand.
Now that we have our “why” there are a seemingly endless number of ways in which we might begin to explore the idea of technology driven leadership training. What is important to think about here is how we might best make use of the technology available to us. Remember that the technology format is not the solution to our leadership problems, but rather, a tool to assist us in achieving our learning objectives.
Technology Driven Learning
The effectiveness of integrating technology into leadership development programs is far reaching. Leadership development experts at The Leadership Sphere were able to move their highly sort after face to face Dare to Lead™ Program to a virtual format within weeks of COVID-19 lockdowns in Australia. Several virtual programs later it has shown that great value can be gained from running leadership development programs in a virtual format using technology platforms such as Zoom and simple functions such as breakout rooms and online collaboration tools to make traditional face to face workshops come alive online. This has shown the benefits of web hosted programs and how participants are able to quickly adapt to new formats without compromising learning. When we spoke with Phillip Ralph and the team at The Leadership Sphere we soon found out that technology considerations for leadership development programs was more than just setting up a simple zoom meeting format. Careful consideration was taken with adopting new program formats, having additional facilitator support for online breakout meetings, and establishing clear communication tools outside of the online workshops to allow pre-reading and other practical tasks to be completed between sessions. Recorded information and other online resources help participants who may have missed a session or needed a little extra help with the content. This all adds up to a fully integrated virtual leadership development program that enables the same (or in some cases more) learning than traditional face to face workshop.
Leveraging Our Virtual World
One might say that over the past decade we have seen many traditional face to face training programs move online and the restrictions brought about by COVID-19 has accelerated that even further. Though there will always be times where conducting sessions in person will be preferable; it may not always be possible, not just because of a global pandemic, but for other reasons such as training budgets, physical locations of teams and other limitations. In these instances having the capability to participate online will ensure that companies and their employees are able to remain at the forefront of their industries. As e-learning continues to rise so to do the options for technology platforms to support it. Knowing what technologies are available can be advantageous even if you don’t adopt the use of all (or even many) of them. Like most things it is about knowing what to use and equally what not to use. Technology may be changing the way we get things done, but it is also allowing us the capability to grow in our professional development. Examples such as the Dare to Lead™ Program delivered by The Leadership Sphere pose benefits to virtual delivery in that a 2-day face to face workshop can now be delivered over a two-month period with short sharp check ins and the time to embed habits and undertake personal reflection through the process. The impacts have been overwhelming with many leaders reporting that they have removed some of the big rocks that were holding them back in their personal and professional lives and that were eradicated because they formed habits over the program and were given space to reflect on what was working and not working for them.
Advancements in technology are continual and can seem intimidating upon first encounter. But it is without such advancements that our learning and development ceases to progress. After all, where would we be if no one had thought to invent the wheel? As do many businesses, The Leadership Sphere implements the use of a variety of technological tools to ensure that we are operating at the most effective capacity. A blended approach to leadership development was always important, however, it seems that in 2020 and beyond it will now become a necessity.
For more information about The Leadership Sphere and how we can support your leaders with leadership development, executive coaching and high performance team programs please visit our website at https://theleadershipsphere.com.au/ or call us on 1300 100 857.