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Leadership experts explain why times of crisis is a good time for training

There is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis that followed has created extraordinary challenges for organizational leaders! Many are finding it difficult to balance the competing demands of increased expectations with limited resources.

While conventional organizational leadership wisdom might say “conserve capital in times of crisis” we want to challenge that mantra as it relates to investing in your team’s learning and development.

Now is the time to send your best people for key trainings. Doing so will upgrade their skills, expand their perspectives and empower self-confidence in their leadership capacity. Before we dive into the four reasons, please note that we’re offering bonus content on this topic with a white paper. Here are four reasons to pursue learning and development this fall:

Stickiness of Learning

One of the challenges of any type of adult learning is instilling “stickiness” into the training, meaning the ability of participants to integrate what they’ve learned over the long term. When times are calm, the stressors in organizations are held at bay, and learners may not have opportunity to apply new skills.

However, times of crisis offer ample opportunity to put new skills and capabilities to work. The fact that your team is under stress provides an extraordinary opportunity for teams to immediately and continuously apply what they’ve learned, which ensures the stickiness needed to also succeed in calmer times in the future.

Accelerating Change

COVID-19 is rapidly accelerating trends in workplace and consumer habits that were already emerging. Change that might have occurred over the next decade is now happening in just weeks or months. Adjusting for this reality requires better and more proactive leadership.

Franco Marini, adjunct faculty at Daniels and owner and director of The NeuroTransology Institute, describes this accelerating change like this, “We were operating as if we were in the stands watching the game. Now we are on the field, experiencing the game as it unfolds.”

Great leaders have to do both, perform well on the field, but also get into the stands to see the big picture and make game plans for the months and years ahead.

New Capacities

David Worley

David Worley

New skills are required to adapt to this rapidly accelerated change. The world is not returning to a pre-COVID state. Advanced technical and leadership skills are in greater demand now that the world is operating more virtually, with fewer resources and with greater volatility. This requires higher capacity team members able to merge technical business skills with nuanced emotional intelligence.

Time and Attention

Many people are restricted in their current jobs due to the inability to travel, particular work that has been temporarily suspended, or due to limited client interface opportunities. As we begin to emerge from the shutdown and embrace the new realities of workplace culture, your best people may not have the time or attention required to dive in and develop new skills.

Jennifer Recla, director of Organizational and Learning Development at Colorado Access, says, “this crisis has brought on new challenges that many of us have never faced and we are looking for the skills to be able to navigate successfully as individuals and as teams.”


In light of these four reasons we encourage you to invest now in training for yourself and your team members. Doing so will set you and your organization up for future success, coming out of the pandemic thriving, instead of plugging along. Executive Education has numerous offerings, and can help you figure out what training is best for you. For further details on the ROI of training, download our special white paper with data on the benefits of training.

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