The research also sends a clear message about how best to develop these knowledge and skill sets – traditional approaches are not enough, learning facilitators need to use a broad range of learning approaches to develop the global leaders of tomorrow.
Because the issues are complex, senior executives believe the most effective learning and skills development comes through practical experience, whether the learning is on-the-job, project based, experiential or through action learning approaches. Senior executives also value learning from mentors and peers through learning networks. These learning experiences can be enhanced by structured reflection through coaching or appreciative inquiry.
Although learning approaches like conventional e-learning and lecture-style learning are less rated by executives, these are likely to still have a role where more straightforward knowledge transfer and basic awareness raising is required as part of a broader, blended learning experience. But learning programmes that rely heavily on a lecture-based format are not fit for purpose.
The research identifies examples where a number of leading companies have already taken steps to develop these kinds of knowledge and skills among their senior executives. Case examples include Unilever, IBM, Novo Nordisk, BG Group, ABN Amro and InterfaceFLOR.