Executive development programs have entered a period of rapid transformation, driven by digital disruption and a widening gap between the skills that participants and their organizations demand and those provided by their executive programs. This work delves into the objective functions of the executive development space, analyzes the demand characteristics of the learners and the organizations that pay for the programs, and the ways in which business schools and other providers deliver (or not) on the promises they make regarding skill development and the continued value of learning to the organization. They show how a trio of disruptive forces (disintermediation, disaggregation and decoupling) which have figured prominently in industries disrupted by digitalization,are reshaping the structure of demand for executive development. The authors look at the future of executive development in the era of self-refining algorithms (aka machine learning) and wearable sensors and computers, and offer a compass for making the right choice for CEOs and CLOs who are guiding executive program design. Ultimately, they offer a guide for to optimize the learning production function for both skill acquisition and skill transfer – the two charges that the new skills economy has laid out for any educational enterprise.
About the authors
Mihnea C. Moldoveanu is Vice Dean of Learning, Innovation and Executive Development, Professor of Economic Analysis, Marcel Desautels Professor of Integrative Thinking, and Founding Director of the Desautels Centre for Integrative Thinking and the Mind Brain Behavior Institute at the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto. He is the author of six books, including Inside Man: The Discipline of Modeling Human Ways of Being (SUP, 2011) and The Design of Insight: How to Solve Any Business Problem(SUP, 2015). He is also Founder and past CEO of Redline Communications, Inc. (TSX:RDL), one of the world's leading broadband communications equipment manufacturers.
Das Narayandas is Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, Senior Associate Dean for HBS Publishing, and Senior Associate Dean for External Relations. He has co-authored two books and his numerous articles for Harvard Business Review, Journal of Marketing, Journal of Service Research, and Sloan Management Review.
"What's the best way to develop your best people? Moldoveanu and Narayandas answer this essential leadership question, at a moment in time when our competitiveness—if not our survival—depends on our leaders' ability to learn. After reading this rigorous, engaging book, my key takeaway is 'don't just trust your instincts."
—Frances Frei, UPS Professor of Service Management, Harvard Business School
"This book is as timely, especially after COVID-19, as it is precise in describing a pressing problem: the training and up-skilling of executives. The unprecedented changes that company executives will face in this new era, combined with the extraordinary developments in new digital affordances for training delivery, make this book essential for anyone who manages people."
—Sanjay Sarma, Professor and Vice President for Open Learning, MIT
"This important book provides academics and practitioners the vocabulary for understanding what new skill building systems and strategies are required to equip executives to compete in the digital age. Thoughtful and thorough, The Future of Executive Development will be your guide to the disruption of corporate learning, with respect to both means and ends."
—Martin Reeves, Managing Director and Senior Partner, Boston Consulting Group
"The Future of Executive Development gives us a clear and exciting roadmap to address one of the great management challenges of our time: reinventing the way leaders learn, so they can stay ahead of the curve."
—Matthew Breitfelder, Global Head of Human Capital, Apollo Global Management