360-Degree Solution in Executive Education Space

Business Communication 19th October 2016 Swapnil Kamat

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Executive education and development is critical for any organisation, but is often overlooked. Quite easily, one can pin the blame on a ‘fixed mindset’ which assumes failure as an evidence of ‘non-intelligence’. It’s interesting to note that even some of the Fortune 500 companies are guilty of such a mindset. No wonder their counterparts with a ‘growth mindset’ excel. Why? Because they believe in the power to transform and an endless possibility to learn and grow.

To address the handicap of ‘fixed mindsets’ there’s a new wave of entrepreneurs who are revolutionizing the executive education space vis-à-vis their 360-degree approach. Incidentally, corporate biggies are no longer shying away from letting them train their executives.

So, what exactly is this 360-degree approach? What is it that these entrepreneurs do differently that results in real professional development in tandem with their organization’s vision and mission.

Conduct pre-training diagnostics

What happens before the training is extremely critical because trainers can only deliver a relevant training if they do a ‘need analysis’ or a ‘diagnosis’. This enables them to design a more ‘focused training’ instead of delivering a bland, ‘blanket training’. For instance, if they are to train a team of customer service executives, they first make mock calls to determine their competency score. They do a 360-degree assessment by collecting opinions of peers, superiors or if required even customers. To trace their personal interests the participants fill surveys, answer questionnaires, and take polls. This way the program is tailored accordingly.

An all in all inclusive approach, the key purpose is to involve the clients and trainees right from an early stage lest they think it’s just another boring, ‘must-attend training’ because the bosses say so. Such an approach results in long-term retention since employees gain trust seeing money invested in their professional well-being and development.

Conducting an experiential training session

The extent to which any workshop or training influences learning, performance levels and behaviour change depends on how the session is designed as well as delivered. Entrepreneurs today are aware that gyaan giving sessions can never create an intuitive learning environment that adults seek. It has to be relevant, interactive and two-way. This is one reason why participation of trainees is paramount for them. They create an atmosphere where participants feel heard and not just spoken to or lectured. They do so by charging up the sessions vis-à-vis group discussions, debates, team assignments, audio and visual clippings, and a few games to exercise body and mind alike.

Peers are given pep talks and asked to share experiences relevant to training modules. It is a form of active demonstration of how there’s a possibility to learn through an exchange of experience. The participants practice in a set-up where they are allowed to make mistakes and still not be judged. The approach is absolutely ‘learner-focused’.

These sessions are delivered by industry experts. Knowledge transfer happens from someone from within the industry. The participants are naturally attentive, inquisitive and trusting because they know their concerns are being addressed by an industry expert.

Create a post-training environment

Most times, it is the train-and-forget approach that results in little or no impact on trainee performance and organization’s growth. Entrepreneurs in the executive education space are however quick to recognise this roadblock. They know how important it is to create a positive post-training environment for more sustained outcomes. They understand the importance of giving employees a room to improve and assess their performance. This is done with the help of tailored, industry-specific questionnaires, surveys. The assessees also complete some assignments. Based on their accomplishments or slip-ups, they share relevant articles, inspirational real-life experiences via newsletters. Books that contribute to their professional development are recommended too. Such follow-ups keep employees engaged and interested in their own career graph for who has ever liked a performance dip?

Undeniably, these entrepreneurs give a bird’s eye view by getting into the system. They not just diagnose, but also give a prognosis which is what the 360-degree methodology is essentially all about. They are the doctors that any corporate organization can trust their employees to. Are you willing to?

This article was first published on Entrepreneur. It can be found here.

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