A Pathway to Positive Disruption
“The need to question traditional executive education pathways and upgrade learning and development strategies so they better reflect leadership of the future is absolutely critical for business.”
It’s good to take a reality check; to stop, step back and ask yourself whether what you are doing reflects changes happening around you, or whether you are simply reinforcing the system by doing more of the same. For example, are we choosing leaders that, although excellent, are too similar in profile? Perhaps they conform to our expectations of what constitutes a good leader, but do they have the right skills to face the challenges of operating a business in a world that will soon be very different from what we see today?
Yet if we explore new methods of executive education, we can positively disrupt the system in a way that encourages us to embrace different leadership styles. To do so, first we have to re-learn how to learn. The digital world in particular gives us tremendous opportunities to create new ways to share and produce knowledge and, as a knowledge hub, TED provides an excellent platform to both share and acquire these new ideas, which is why AXA Group got involved.
It’s important to engage in such new ideas as the role of professionals in learning and development will in the future not only be about producing courses and training, but shift to providing services such as knowledge, advice and curation. It will also mean using a number of education sources, rather than relying solely on traditional structures that are designed to create a leadership style that hasn’t changed for 30 years. I’m not suggesting that traditional executive education systems are poor quality or not needed, but to quote Einstein, we can’t continue to do the same thing over and over again and hope for different results.
Instead, we need to move away from traditional tick box learning methods that focus on simply accumulating more knowledge and move towards putting knowledge into context by collaborating with others on a more practical level. So while we should not be throwing our education system out of the window, there is probably some adjustments to be made around the margins.
So it’s more likely that executive education of tomorrow will comprise a classical MBA core, with a TED style format as well as making full use of open knowledge structures to provide a more informal way of learning. Equally important, there has to be a real social learning element through the use of social media to encourage a community of learning. Have learn ups instead of meet ups – why not? To promote this more informal learning experience is, for me, a positive way of disrupting how we educate tomorrow’s leaders.
Anne-Juliette Hermant is the Global Head of Learning and Development for AXA Group. She began her career as a Lecturer of French Literature at the University Paris-3. Ever since, she has been focusing on Learning and Development in various companies as well as in the French Public administration. AXA was a sponsor of the TEDx Aix conference.