Senior management at any organization needs training just as much as every other employee. They are guiding a whole company through change, economic fluctuations, competition, etc., and the company’s success hinges on their abilities in various areas. But by focusing on everything else, executives end up pushing training to the backburner.
Challenges of Training Executives
Training executives does come with some challenges. There are a few environmental or workplace barriers to training executives.
- Time. Executives have a lot on their plate. They may feel like they don’t have the time to invest in training because of their busy schedules.
- Budget. Whether their training doesn’t fit in the budget or they feel the budget is better spent on individual contributors, the cost of training can often stifle efforts.
Executives may also try to avoid or refuse further training for more personal reasons.
- No options. They may feel like they’ve attended all the training that is available to them or that training doesn’t exist for executives.
- Peak performance. They may think that since they’ve reached the highest level of an organization, more training isn’t needed.
So, it may be difficult to get c-suite members to invest in their growth. It’ll be important to explain to them why they need training.
Why Establish Executive Training Programs
There is one keyword that executives face nearly every day and will have to manage and handle well: change. Those that are resilient in the face of unforeseen circumstances often have an open mind to the way employees, even executives, are trained.
Change in Competition
While companies do still compete with the price and quality of their goods and services, their relationship with clients, and the talent that they acquire, many are now focused on operating differently. Companies are now focusing on how to operate in more agile ways, where they innovate and adapt to changes.
With that has come the digital age. Modern technology makes it easier to create, gather, and process information. This has saved leaders time and enhanced decision-making. To beat out the competition, leaders will need to be at the top of their game, as things can change in an instant.
Change in Work
The world is changing quickly and was even before the global pandemic caused an abrupt shift in work. This more digital approach is sure to continue in the future, meaning that executives will need to adapt to leading dispersed workforces and support efforts to upskill or reskill staff. They’ll also need to focus on innovation and creativity to solve new problems.
Change in Learning
Research has shown that when training is personalized, put into micro-video formats, and included in the flow of work, employees respond well to it. Executives must encourage their organizations to change how they deliver training and what content is covered in training, and then follow the regimen to learn and develop critical skills.
To hear some best practices for training executives, check out this podcast episode with Erin Correa from Correa & Associates.
Let’s look at tips to get started on training leaders.
Tips on Training Executives
It can seem daunting to try to mention training to c-suite members, but there are ways to approach this task to help it go smoothly.
First, be sure that company culture is established before training. Make sure that the vision, mission, and values align with the established training.
Next, identify training needs. Look at which skills the executives need (or want) to develop and focus on those.
Be sure to define measurable objectives. Knowing what success will look like can help you achieve buy-in from your executives.
Make sure that the training being delivered is practical and time sensitive. Time is a valuable commodity, so providing short, informative trainings will help get buy-in for further skill development.
Now let’s look at some of the skills executives need to do their jobs effectively!
Relevant Skills for Executive Training
It’s vital to establish training needs for executives before setting out to train them. There are certain skills that they can continue to develop that will help them in c-suite level challenges that could occur.
1. Developing Relationships
Whether it is with stakeholders, clients, team members, political figures, or the media, being able to build strong relationships is important for executives. These relationships are ever-changing, just as the market is. This video from our library shows the importance of developing good relationships with your subordinates.
As a leader, it’s important to have a presence when in meetings. It’s important to present well without seeming scripted or formulaic. This could include working on etiquette and confidence.
3. Public Speaking
Speaking in front of large groups, on camera, or to the media can be nerve-wracking. Working on delivery and composure can help your executives keep cool in tough situations. Executives will also need to work on developing different public speaking styles. How they talk to the media should be different than how to speak to board members or staff during a presentation.
4. Change Management
As talked about previously, this is an important skill for all leaders to have. Change is inevitable and unavoidable, so leaders need to know how to manage it. From global significance to mergers to organizational shifts, leaders must know how to facilitate any changes that occur.
While most executives likely couldn’t have reached their level without good communication skills, it’s important to keep these skills top of mind. Meetings now likely go from more one-on-one types to group meetings, and those take a different set of skills to maneuver – communication styles and conflict management for instance. Check out this video from our library on how to communicate well with customers. prepare cope with change when it occurs.
Executives must act in legal and ethical ways that are in the best interest of the company.
At BizLibrary we have microlearning videos that cover all of these skills and more, and this bite-sized content can fit into the flow of work and meet the demanding schedules of executives. Click here to browse a sample of our leadership and management training topics.