An exclusive Interview published in Jan 2018, we had interaction with Muniinder K. Anand, Managing Director -India & South Asia at Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). Muniinder is a prominent business leader who brings nineteen years of experience across Business consulting, HR consulting and Industry, having rich and diversified exposure in all areas of Human Resources including Rewards and Performance, HR Transformation, Talent Management, Leadership Development and Operations. He is certified in Leadership Styles Inventory (LSI), Caliper Profile and Strategic Selling Skills – Miller Heiman. Prior to joining CCL, Muniinder was a Director with KPMG India and led the HR consulting business in the North. The diverse projects led by Muniinder in his advisory capacity included rewards, performance management, talent management, function set-up, policy design, process design and transformation among other areas within the public and private sector delivered across geographies. In his older stints, Muniinder led Mercer India’s information solutions business, set-up the Shared Services Operations for Schneider, set-up Centers of Excellence (COE) and headed business technology services portfolio for Hewitt Associates for the Asia Pacific market among many other transformation engagements across Asia Pacific, Middle East, USA and European regions.
Q-Technology has transformed Learning & Development increasingly, how do you see role of Technology in L&D?
Technology has revolutionized corporate learning and leadership development. The number of organizations that use learning management systems is higher than ever before, and thanks to massive open online courses, small private online courses, microlearning, nanolearning, and other new media learning platforms, digital learning is at an all-time high.
Q-What is Six Digital Strategies for L&D? Request you to elaborate for us.
The Six Digital Strategies for L&D are approaches that talent leaders can leverage to make digital learning initiatives more effective within their organization. These are:
- Less is more: At CCL, we believe that learning initiatives need to focus on the unique needs of learners in the context of their organization’s culture. The right amount of learning, served at the right time, and in the right portions keeps a leader growing. It is important to know the experience level of a leader, and understand his or her role in the organization. Early on, one must determine the time a leader might be able to devote to training and development as well as determine specific learning objectives based on organizational objectives, and then select digital assets that align with them.
- Support from the Top: A learning initiative, like any other initiative important to an organization, needs employee buy-in and the support of upper management. If an initiative isn’t supported by senior leaders, employees will not make it a priority. One must take time to educate the senior leadership team about the initiative and get the team’s support to ensure that a foundation for success is strategically laid out early in the process.
- Learner-Centered Design: Talent leaders must do more than just provide resources for development. They also have to encourage and guide leaders through their developmental journey, making sure those participating in a digital learning initiative understand the inherent value of the program in their daily work lives. Talent leaders should understand the organizational climate in which the leaders work and leverage technology to fit into their routines, rather than adding a disruption. This is critical for the success of any initiative. For example, promoting and focusing on one leadership topic a month, or one topic a quarter, and rolling that out in a very deliberate way has a high likelihood of being impactful.
- Embrace a “Leaders as Teachers” Approach: Digital learning doesn’t have to be completely self-paced. Leadership concepts should be practiced and reinforced in the workplace. Embracing leaders as teachers is a powerful way to scale a digital learning initiative through all levels of the organization. For this to be implemented, talent leaders will need to give employees the tools they need to become good teachers.
- Learning Partnerships: Leadership development is all about “human skills”—skills that require the ability to adapt ideas and guidelines to the environment. These skills require discernment, judgment, and presence of mind, as well as the willingness and motivation to commit to the practice that is required to learn anything new. Learning new skills isn’t easy. Learners need the support of key partners to stay motivated and engaged to ensure that learning is sustained past the classroom. Two kinds of partnerships can provide the necessary support needed for in-depth learning: accountability partners and learning partners.
- What gets measured gets done: It is important to evaluate both the Learning initiative, as well as the engagement of the learner, in order to get the optimum return on investment. For instance, “The return on investment for conducting CCL’s Situation-Behaviour- Impact Feedback (SBI) training at VRM is being reinforced as we ensure that learning is transferred from the classroom to on-the-job behaviour change. For the past 18 months, cohort (team lead, manager, senior manager, director, etc.) written and verbal SBI refresher training sessions and one-on-one coaching sessions have been held to ensure the methodology is used as part of ongoing employee feedback and as part of annual performance review documentation and discussions.”
Q-How to improve the impact of digital learning?
The six strategies described above, if implemented well, can significantly improve the impact of digital learning initiatives in any organization. With the proper planning, leadership-focused digital learning initiatives can offer a scalable way to deepen development training and drive training throughout the organization. Thoughtfully assessing the development needs of the organization and taking time to get senior management’s support provides a firm foundation on which the initiative can be built. Connecting learners with each other and mentors ensures that learning is sustained. Effective evaluation confirms that development is progressing and that there is a measurable return on the investment.
Q-What are the biggest challenges in L&D? And how do you deal with these challenges?
- Leaders are facing new challenges in their roles and are concerned about being successful and being seen as successful. Just as often, leaders will not admit this publicly. As a result, most leaders are very task-focused, with little or no time set aside for development. However, finding time to develop new skills would actually help leaders become more effective. Ensuring a learning-centered design to your development initiatives does just that.
- Making learning easy and simple is important. Consistently organize all your training content, classroom and online, into the same organizational structure so it is easy for your participants to find the content that is mapped to the skills they need to develop.
- Finally, using the right learning management systems and analytics to evaluate learning initiatives and engagement of learners is imperative.
The key element in all of this is you—your company, your culture, the audience you serve, and your specific challenge. Taking the time to understand these factors is critical to creating a learning initiative that makes sense for you and the leaders you serve.
Q-What should be the Leadership Resolutions for a Successful 2018?
You can’t predict everything that will happen in 2018, but it’s a safe bet that change and uncertainty will continue to be major themes. It’s also a safe assume that leadership — your leadership — will be critical for a successful year. Resolution for 2018 to include :
Stay healthy. We know you hear this a lot around the New Year, and you probably think about it more, too. Your personal performance — and therefore your effectiveness as a leader — are heavily influenced by your health. Healthier people have more energy, can think more clearly, focus for longer periods, and are less likely to get sick
Succeed at digital learning. Being a leader doesn’t mean you have all the answers. Leaders must continue to acquire new skills, new areas of knowledge, and new leadership tools.
With limited time and resources, some of that learning will take place via digital learning. So how can you make the most of your time?
Stop wasting time in meetings. We’ve all complained about time spent in a meeting that just wasn’t worth it. So how can you make sure that the meetings you set are productive?
Make better group decisions. We’ve all heard — and many of us have said — that several minds are better than one. But actually making good decisions as a group is challenging.
Lead your team through change. Change is the one thing we can be certain of. For leaders, it’s also a virtual certainty you’ll need to lead your team through change.
Even when leaders and organizations know what the change is, they may still hesitate, fail to act, or act slowly.
Leading the Organisation
Help frontline managers master their roles. In most organizations, frontline managers are critical.
Create an environment where women can excel. Research shows that gender diversity benefits the bottom line. So how can your organization attract and retain more women? The first step is to understand what ambitious, talented women want from employers.
Nurture innovation instead of squashing it. Innovation is important, but few companies are really good at it. Why? In part because leading innovation is different from leading ongoing business operations.
Thank You Muniinder!