21st Century Leadership Skills Require Collaborative Learning


Are 21st Century conference organizers trying to create success using outdated 20th Century skills?

According to a 2012 Skillsoft survey, too many professionals today are trying to lead with last century’s abilities. Then they wonder why their business, or in this case their conference, is not thriving.

Skillsoft’s findings illustrate that 21st Century leaders must be more collaborative, creative, flexible and innovative than their 20th Century predecessors.

Encouraging Outdated Skills

More than 1,100 individuals participated in Skillsoft’s 21st Century Leadership Survey. The aim was to understand what workers today believe were the most effective organizational leadership attributes and capabilities that created success in the past, versus those that will create sustainable success and innovation in the future.

The survey revealed that responders fully understand the attributes and skills needed for success in the future. However, responders also acknowledged that their companies were celebrating and encouraging last century’s skills.

In short, the responders felt that their organizations are behind the curve and not encouraging 21st Century skills needed for success.

The Talent Storm

The perfect storm is looming.

Mass baby-boomer retirements, growing skills shortages and scarcity of talent are a triple threat that is converging upon us. At least that’s what the experts and media say.

As talent retires, organizations face a drain of intellectual capital and know how.

Not only are organizations stuck in promoting 20th century skills, some fear the loss of organizational capital and knowledge.

Yet few organizations have put a program in place to capture institutional knowledge from their retiring talent. Much less a program that will develop 21st century leaders.

Even further, 75% of respondents to a 2013 Brandon Hall Leadership Development Benchmarking study say their leadership development programs are not effective.

And two separate Brandon Hall Group Surveys, Business Focus ’13 and the 2013 Team Development Survey, found that organizations ranked Leadership Development as their second most important issue toward which they would be devoting significant time, energy and resources.

Ensuring A Pipeline Of Leaders

Organizations today are faced with trying to capture institutional knowledge from their retiring talent as well as providing opportunities for their staff to develop 21st Century Leadership skills.

The most successful companies understand that learning is essential to organizational success. They are committed to the ongoing development of their workforce.

The successful companies have also realized that a one-size-fits-all classroom approach to developing learning does not work.

Instead, some successful companies are adopting a one-size-fits-one collaborative learning approach. Learning becomes a team effort with everyone learning on their own pace as well as collaboratively sharing it with others.

Employees share and create content through learning communities. They enhance their own personal knowledge as well as the company’s institutional knowledge base.

By viewing the learning function as a collaborative process, rather than an outdated stagnated expert-centric information delivery model, an organization can develop its workforce while retaining institutional knowledge.

Collaborative Learning Key To Success

As the Skillsoft Survey identified, collaboration is one of the 21st Century Skills needed for success to day.

Collaborative learning is when small groups of people work together to search for shared-meaning, understanding or solutions. It occurs when two or more people attempt to learn something together.

During collaborative learning, individuals capitalize on one another’s resources and experiences. They ask each other questions, evaluate ideas and monitor each other’s work. These include face to face and computer discussions.

The ability to deliver collaborative learning programs is crucial to transforming today’s talent into 21st Century Leaders. And it’s critical to retaining institutional knowledge.

What are some of the types of collaborative learning programs that organizations can offer? What are some of the traits of successful collaborative learning models?

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