Management training like everything, literally everything, has moved online. From retail to work, education to entertainment, there is not a single facet of our world untouched by the mark of technological influence.
So it comes as no surprise that traditional, in-class management trainings have quickly started to seem a little… well, old-school.
Especially when the medium of online learning continues to offer benefits like multimedia support, better customisation and learner autonomy. Then of course, there are all the stories of how companies worldwide are making huge savings in time, effort and money simply by making the big switch. With all that said, here’s our question: why should your organisation be left behind?
And if what you need are the sage words of an experienced management training expert who swears by online learning, we’ve got you covered! Read on to find out how to bring your managemen trianings into a new, online age – with inputs from Robert Hart.
Meet Robert Hart
We’re thrilled to have had a chance to interview our guest expert for today!
Robert Hart comes armed with not just years, but decades of experience. He’s built an international career not only by himself being in prestigious leadership positions but also by extensively training people in leadership positions across countries and industries.
After a successful stint as Vice President of Citibank for over a decade, Robert has since spent over 30 years sharing his hard-earned insights on leadership in the form of his management training, coaching and consulting work.
In 2010, Robert launched the comprehensive leadership program ‘Better Leadership Now’. The program offers a weeks-long process for leaders to create new, observable, strategically relevant leadership skills based on leadership research and behavioural science and techniques.
Suffice it to say, when it comes to management training, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with experience as extensive as Robert’s. What can we say? We got lucky!
What’s the Secret to Effective Management Training?
In 2016, the Harvard Business School published an industry-defining paper titled “The Great Training Robbery”. In it, the authors make a compelling argument about how organisations worldwide regularly lose hundreds of billions of dollars every year in management trainings that ultimately, fail them in the long term.
“For the most part, the learning doesn’t lead to better organizational performance, because people soon revert to their old ways of doing things”, the paper claims.
Management trainings come in a variety of shapes and forms, far too many of which are derivative, formulaic and devoid of any actionable insights. For trainings to have a profound, long-lasting impact, and turn into a worthwhile return on investment for organisations, there is a need for something more… substantial.
At Claned, we’re firm believers in the power of pedagogical research and principles – of digging below the surface of traditional learning. That is where we believe real, impactful learning comes from.
Robert has similar thoughts with respect to his own approaches to leadership training and management consulting. A big believer in the power of thorough leadership research, Robert’s management training programs are built on digging deep below the surface.
“My approach is to try to understand if senior managers are really having the impact they think they’re having with their leadership”, says Robert.
“One way I do this is to get them thinking about strategy. There is often a lot of conversation about having ‘five-year goals’ but when questioned on specifics, the room goes silent. And in most cases, when the leaders don’t know the goals, the people in other organisation departments most certainly don’t, either”.
Robert recognises that at the heart of impactful management trainings, there must be a clear, collaborative organisational goal. There must be a collective understanding of purpose and common values.
“How can you hope to align activities or priorities if there is no consensus about a shared vision? How do you make progress when there is no shared objective that everyone is working toward and has the ability to express it?”, he says. “Because often, I think that if the leaders can’t express these goals to me, they’re certainly not expressing them to their people”.
In situations like this, Robert’s important role is to, in his words, “fish around” for the factors that make all the difference.
How do the leaders see themselves? Where do they think they’re making an impact? And are they actually making an impact in the way they think they are?
He then expresses his views and expertise and suggests research-backed activities that leaders could take on to develop or adjust their leadership perspectives to actually have the impact that they want to have.
“They often need honest feedback on what their strengths truly are. What are they good at, what are they not good at, and what end goals do they want to achieve. We then help them develop new habits that can turn into new leadership behaviours and help them have more impact in places where they want to have more impact”, Robert explains.
Why Online Learning Works – And Where It’s Headed
Apart from their deep insights, another incredible thing about Robert’s management training programs is that they take place entirely virtually – via video calls and messaging.
Robert has spent decades offering management training in traditional, in-person formats. But today, he’s an enthusiastic supporter and adopter of online learning. “I find that online trainings are very, very powerful”, Robert says. And he offers two compelling reasons to support this belief – learner access and autonomy.
“First, it allows access to individuals who previously had no opportunity for trainings like this simply because they weren’t in the right place at the right time. We now have a huge area of our population that has really been underserved by this type of management training and who now have access to it. That’s a big thing”, he explains.
The second reason, as Robert explains, is that learners now have greater control over their learning process than ever before. “It offers them the ability to pace themselves, allowing them to really tie the learning into what they are trying to achieve. And of course, it allows them to make mistakes in a safe environment, which research shows is extremely important to effective learning and retention”.
But what Robert finds most fascinating about online learning is that in today’s world it has become not only convenient but also essential. In the landscape of employment and organisational change, there has never been a higher demand for online learning – and it will only continue to grow in the next decade.
Robert refers to research from McKinsey, which estimates that by the year 2030, there’ll be a 50% increase in the need for technological skills in the workplace. Moreover, the research states that about 30% of the jobs that exist today will not exist in the same form by 2030.
“As skill demands change, there will be a huge need for upskilling, especially for technological skills. So what online management training does is open up these kinds of doors for more people to have effective learning techniques and behavioural science – all built into online learning programs that can quickly ramp up their technological skills. I think that’s just a very powerful driver for the future of online learning”, says Robert.’
What Online Management Trainings Really Need
Here’s what we know. One, effective management trainings need real, substantial insights to really make a difference.
And two, online trainings are essentially the future of all professional learning – that is, if organisations have any hope of keeping up with the increasingly fast pace of technological development.
But here’s what we need to know: how can leaders and organisations get there? What do they need to keep an eye out for to find online training solutions that works for them?
Robert has a few thoughts on the matter that also align closely with Claned’s own ideas on online learning! Here’s what he shared with us:
Versatile and Focused
Robert’s approach to management training is to make it as versatile as possible. Any individual, hailing from any industry, should be able to take away something valuable from his training approach. And yet, at the same time, the program should never lose focus on the factors that really matter.
“My main priority is to have the training plugged into the business. I never get into a project with the intention of “we want to have people learn this”. Instead, the goal is to go in with “What do you want your organizational results to be? And how can we impact those results for you? Or how can we better prepare you for the future?”, Robert explains.
At Claned we too believe that in order for online learning to be effective, it needs to be versatile enough to fit an organisation’s goals. But at the same time, it should also focus on the one essential question in any learning: what is the knowledge leading up to?
In Robert’s words: “It’s all about helping people perform better. It’s not building a better machine. It’s helping people build a better machine, maybe. But in the end, that’s our road toward organizational improvement and effectiveness”.
Big Data in Online Management Training
Robert is also a big believer in big data’s potential to transform the way management trainings, and in fact, any kind of learning is done.
“I think it would be good for everyone to be thinking about learning and its relationship to data and analytics”, Robert says. “It’d help greatly if we can start harnessing big data with respect to learners. Let’s start looking for correlations between whatever learner data we have and the type of performance or skills we’re looking for in a particular organization”
Robert believes that much like retailers and other industries that maximise the opportunities in data, the world of training and learning could also start seeing correlations that are invisible to us today.
As Robert explains: “I hope that in the area of learning in general but online learning in particular, that getting training programs incorporated with the data and the analytics could give us much better insight into the best ways that we can help people develop most effectively”.
This is just another reason why we’re so glad to be having this conversation with Robert.
For us at Claned, learning data and analytics have always been the underrated but essential players in online learning. Which is why learning programs at Claned are accompanied by extensive learning data analytics reports to give companies a deep, detailed look at their learning initiatives and learners.
And of course, because data can be tricky to wrap your head around, we offer actionable suggestions to go with the reports, too! The difference these nuggets of information can make is game-changing.
Robert’s and our thoughts are delightfully aligned as he says, “There are a ton of correlating factors between learners and learning program success that we are completely blind to right now. And it shouldn’t be — the technology allows it not to be anymore.”
Ready to upgrade your management training programs and go online?
We can help!
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.