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.
In the past, it was hard for the traditional players in leadership development to provide an ROI on the various individual components of their bundled programs. But the PLC is making it possible to measure skills acquisition and skills transfer at the participant, team, and organizational levels—on a per-program, per-session, per-interaction basis. That will create a new micro-optimization paradigm in leadership education—one that makes learning and doing less distinct.
The payoff will be significant, for if a new concept, model, or method is to make a difference to an organization, it must be used by its executives, not just understood intellectually.