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A clarion call for a 10X investment your workforce.

For those who believe experience is the best teacher, consider what experience looks like today: A series of small boxes via Zoom, MS Teams, or Google Meet. It's professional encounters relegated to scheduled and agenda heavy zoom calls where attendees are simultaneously answering texts, emails, and merely trying not to miss an action item.

It's all about the to do, without the opportunity to learn.

It starts with where we are today, or more precisely where we are not, i.e. together: As remote work and the de-valuing of commercial real estate marches on, the fallout is about to show up in a lack of enhanced skills that slowly creates a crippling leadership gap.

Companies that invest at twice the normal rate of employee development out-perform the S&P by 17-34%.

The fact is, we've stopped training people. What's worse, it's both intentional and consequential. For starters, companies have deliberately and largely erased critical pauses in productivity that would normally be used to enhance skills through either in person or online proscribed training. Sure, employee churn is part of the problem, given that to maintain forward motion more dollars are funneled into talent acquisition and compensation. But the lack of professional development is also another consequence of fewer young professionals working in a shared physical space as the pandemic is the gift that keeps on giving.

Consider the value not just of a bygone formalized management training track, what about the undeniable value of sitting in an unscheduled meeting and listening to a client negotiation? Or running into someone in the hallway who shares a tip about how to handle suppliers. Or a few associates at lunch learning how to brainstorm in real time. Or being a fly on the CEO's wall at the end of the day when she shares stories rich with invaluable leadership lessons.

The training divot is being filled by multitudes of online certification classes, offered by everyone from Harvard Business School and other elite universities, to cheap online programs from new players like Alison, Udemy, edX, Udacity, and plenty more.

Yet, it's not enough to expect your associates, even with tuition reimbursement, to handle baseline development on their own or derive ideal value from generic education. Companies have to lean into to customized online training for associates with agendas that specifically help them succeed in the roles and industry where they're expecting to grow.

Right now, we offer elite and customized training in strategy, creativity, and leadership, with legendary instructors and business leaders. And while all training has value, leadership training remains the holy grail. How to at once celebrate, challenge and cope. The value of EQ > IQ. How get out of your own way. How to practice active listening. The functional lessons of managing others. And so much more.

It’s time to lean in, as the fallout from the next generation of leaders being corporately raised in the box on the screen is creeping up on us. Nobody can afford to let the train leave the station.

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