Companies spend heavily on executive education but often get a meager return on their investment. That’s because business schools and other traditional educators aren’t adept at teaching the soft skills vital for success today, people don’t always stay with the organizations that have paid for their training, and learners often can’t apply classroom lessons to their jobs. The way forward, say business professors Mihnea Moldoveanu and Das Narayandas, lies in the “personal learning cloud”—the fast-growing array of online courses, interactive platforms, and digital tools from both legacy providers and upstarts. The PLC is transforming leadership development by making it easy and affordable to get personalized, socialized, contextualized, and trackable learning experiences.
The need for leadership development has never been more urgent. Companies of all sorts realize that to survive in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environment, they need leadership skills and organizational capabilities different from those that helped them succeed in the past. There is also a growing recognition that leadership development should not be restricted to the few who are in or close to the C-suite. With the proliferation of collaborative problem-solving platforms and digital “adhocracies” that emphasize individual initiative, employees across the board are increasingly expected to make consequential decisions that align with corporate strategy and culture. It’s important, therefore, that they be equipped with the relevant technical, relational, and communication skills.