Executive Education: How to Enrich Key Staff Knowledge

Executive Education: How to Enrich Key Staff Knowledge

Published : May 17, 2017

Competitive businesses around the world are recognizing the value of a culture committed to ongoing education, designed to create a constantly evolving and expanding brand. After all, the more executives learn, the more dynamic they can become as key leaders in your enterprise.

Unfortunately, research suggests that most CEOs have a peak of five years or less. Does it seem likely that most driven professionals work hard to reach the top, to stay there for only five years? From the organization’s perspective, after conducting an extensive process to hire talented, ambitious individuals for these pivotal roles, you’d probably like to get more than five years out of your efforts.

The problem is, the longer high-level employees stay within their positions, the more they rely on the talents of their underlings and coworkers to keep them afloat. Why? Because too many CEOs and managers plateau upon reaching leadership positions, ceasing to learn and grow professionally.

Without continued learning, executives become detached from current trends and strategies — as a result, their performance drops, hindering the performance of the entire organization.

Keeping your key staff up-to-date with the latest political, technological, and strategic developments in your industry can separate your business from the faltering crowd.

So, what kinds of programs can help executives to continue learning?

Online Education: The Rise of MOOCs

In 2015, the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) space doubled, as students discovered the versatility and convenience of online learning. Once regarded as less-valuable alternatives to in-house classes, online classes are now heralded as delivering education equal to that in a classroom.

The bonus is that MOOCs offer a level of flexibility that’s unavailable elsewhere. They allow busy executives in the corporate space to learn at a pace that suits their schedules. Popular platforms like edX and Coursera offer an almost unlimited selection of classes, where executives can constantly expand their knowledge in everything from communication skills, to business strategies and software use.

Online Research: Venture Capital Blogs

The opportunities to seek education online aren’t limited to web-based courses. Industry experts and authoritative figures in various industries share their knowledge and insights across the Internet in the form of articles, blogs, and even video podcasts. If you want to learn from the best, all you need to do is a little online research, and you can find countless experts sharing their thoughts, experiences, and lessons with the digital world.

Subscribing to blogs and newsletters from venture capitalists and startup experts (or, anyone who resonates with you) is a great way for modern executives to keep abreast of industry changes. The more news you take in from other experts in your field — and even competitors — the better you can monitor patterns and trends, to find ways to expand your own company.

Networking Solutions

When you constantly seek more learning, you encounter other people from your industry who can help to expand your knowledge, or open new opportunities for growth. Rather than seeing these people as competitors, view them as allies for your business who could emerge as important partners for the future. Whether friend, foe, or somewhere in the middle, there’s something to be learned from every professional you meet. Each time you make a new connection in your network, ask yourself what new knowledge or perspective this person could bring to your life.

While much of your networking activities can take place online, there’s still strong benefits of meeting with experts in-person and expanding your current network via face-to-face interactions. Conferences and events allow you to learn more about the trends shaping your industry, while giving you the chance to engage in two-way conversations with industry experts. These conversations may help you look at your own business challenges from a fresh perspective.

After all, as an executive in any company, it can be easy to fall into a mental “rut.” If you become too deeply ingrained or too “comfortable” in your own company culture, it may cloud your vision of new visions and opportunities — outside-the-box ideas that might help the business to grow.

If You Don’t Use It, You Lose It

The human brain is a muscle — and just like any other muscle in the body, it needs regular exercise and challenging activity in order to maintain peak condition. Of all the brains at work in your organization, those of your key executives are especially valuable; they lead and foster the company culture, and they often dictate whether your company will grow or shrink over time.

Keeping key executives in peak condition requires regular opportunities to learn, grow, network, and think in new ways. The more your executives know about new techniques and strategies, the quicker and more effectively they will be able to react to each challenge.

The unfortunate truth is that most business leaders don’t spend enough time learning and keeping up with trends in their chosen field. As their knowledge plateaus, the company can gradually become stagnant as well. When you devote strategies and resources to ongoing learning, your executives will continue to thrive, innovate, and find more efficient ways to run your organization. Refreshed ideas and a commitment to learning can filter from your CEO, throughout every team in your organization, to make for a highly competitive enterprise.

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