Is Virtual Leadership Training Better Than the Real Thing?

By Catherine
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By Catherine Bolgar

Businessman working on computer in the office.

Not only can virtual training teach soft skills like leadership, such an approach might be better suited to today’s and tomorrow’s work environments.

“Virtual training is increasing dramatically for a lot of good reasons,” says Rick Lepsinger, president of OnPoint Consulting, a New York provider of virtual instructor-led training and e-learning. “A lot more organizations are geographically distributed. Virtual training reduces travel costs—you don’t have to pay a consultant to come to you, or for folks to go to a central location, with a day of travel each way plus the day of training. It’s much more efficient. It’s more scalable. The technology is better and better.”

Above all, it increasingly reflects real life.

Why learn to coach face to face when in the real world you have to coach virtually? It’s better to learn and practice the skill in the same way you would actually have to use it,” Lepsinger said.

Attendees dial in by phone or voice-over-Internet protocol. Live video connections allow face-to-face interactions. Collaborative software programs let participants all see the same slides at the same time, hold chats or whiteboard discussions, or answer polling questions.

“Some technology allows you to put people into small groups where they have a conversation and then come back to the big group. We often use these breakout groups for self-assessment and case studies,” Mr. Lepsinger says.

Businesspeople Sitting In A Conference Room Looking At Computer ScreenSome programs combine virtual instructor-led training and e-learning. The latter tends to be self-directed, without an instructor, and the students work alone at their own pace. “E-learning is good for concepts or skills you can learn by reading or written exercises,” he says, such as time management, building trust or critical thinking.

Virtual instructor-led training is appropriate when the skill benefits from interaction with humans or from actually practicing something, as opposed to thinking about how you would do it. Leadership skills such as coaching, managing conflict, inspiring and motivating, and building great teams all are better taught with an instructor, including a virtual one, he says.

Although cultures differ around the world, “ideas about leadership are pretty much the same,” Mr. Lepsinger says, “like giving feedback. In the U.S. or Scandinavia, they may be more direct; in Japan, they may be more subtle.” Regardless of the local culture, employees need to know how they’re doing. “We teach how to give feedback in a balanced way, how to focus on behavior,” he says. “The specifics of how you present it to someone might be different in different countries.”

The main adjustment for international audiences is to speak slowly for participants who aren’t native English speakers. Many international companies use English as a common language, but some individuals feel more comfortable writing in a chat room or on a white board rather than speaking, Mr. Lepsinger says.

Some leadership training focuses on communication skills, including projecting and interpreting nonverbal signals. That also is changing with remote work environments.

Video conferences in the workplace can still involve body language, such as facial expressions, but much of our communication is by instant message, email or phone calls, says C. Matt Graham, assistant professor of management-information systems at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine.

Millennials, who are mostly in their 20s, grew up in a digital environment. “They do most of their communication digitally,” he says. “It’s a way of communicating that earlier generations would find out of the norm.”

working on laptop, close up of hands of business manAt the same time, at work, “we no longer, in virtual environments, care about your presence. We just want you to get the job done,” Dr. Graham says. That, combined with millennials’ motivations that in general are different from previous generations, means the very definition of leadership is changing.

“We’ve moved past the idea of a leader being a guy in a suit,” he says. “Millennials share and see power in the collective.”

They also are more comfortable with some of the new technology, such as virtual assistants, that companies increasingly use. In new research, Dr. Graham found that virtual teams that used a virtual assistant programmed with answers to a series of questions developed a better product than the virtual teams without a virtual assistant.

“You can have an actual conversation with a virtual assistant,” Dr. Graham says. “It’s a different set of dynamics. It will have an impact on managers’ roles in teams.”

 

Catherine Bolgar is a former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Europe, now working as a freelance writer and editor with WSJ. Custom Studios in EMEA. For more from Catherine Bolgar, along with other industry experts, join the Future Realities discussion on LinkedIn.

Photos courtesy of iStock

 

 

 

Bell Helicopter Removed The Clutter And Noise With ENOVIA

By Matthew
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Read what Bell Helicopter has to say about their ENOVIA experience and with it, how they took on their PLM challenges and succeeded by:

  • Reducing non-value add tasks
  • Improved on reusing existing data
  • Improved enterprise-wide collaboration

ENOVIA has provided us the ability to manage the configuration of our products as well as the changes

Access, read and download the Bell Helicopter case study inside our ENOVIA Community on 3DSwYm at this blog post

HERE

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This case study of Bell Helicopter is based on an August 2016 survey of ENOVIA customers by TechValidate, a 3rd-party research service.

‘My Design’ webinar: how a typical furniture company turns ideas into reality?

By Lauriane
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Do you want to develop innovative and successful products?

Do you need to improve efficiencies and make the right decisions while reducing development time and costs? 

Dassault Systèmes has developed “My Design”, an integrated solution that expands your growth and helps increase your margin, making sure you develop a successful product that your consumers will love.

Click here to discover how a typical furniture company has rapidly developed a new office chair, with an integrated approach, from ideation to market launch. Imagine that all internal and external players can easily collaborate together.

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Marketing and Innovation

What if marketing and innovative departments could keep abreast of market needs by managing the free flow of ideas and providing multimedia dashboards?

With a few clicks, the Marketing Manager can easily consult design trends and blogs and monitor project status, all in real-time. Together with her colleagues, she can perform a detailed review of key trends, challenges and consumer expectations. With this visual information, managers can assign maturity levels bumping them up from proposal status, to concept through to validation.

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Creative Design

What if industrial designers and stylists used powerful and intuitive tools that allowed them to focus on innovation?

With CATIA, industrial designers can create freeform 3D sketches. It’s fast and easy to use allowing the user to explore more design scenarios in a short amount of time. He can transform ideas into a 3D reality while exploring detail design variations directly on 3D objects. Sketching combined with the intuitive act of painting demonstrates the power of realistic 3D modeling. Using subdivision-surface technology, the industrial designer can very quickly sculpt in 3D, while keeping surface curvature continuity under control.

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Decision Review

What if you could improve efficiencies and make the right decisions while reducing development time?

It’s time for important decisions to be made during a design-review session with the product manager, the CEO and the marketing manager. To ‘sell’ his ideas, the industrial designer is now using CATIA to present and promote projects with a high-end visualization and rendering solution.

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Concept Development

What if you could reduce development costs by enabling industrial designers and mechanical engineers to work in the same integrated environment?

Mechanical engineers can quickly design Sheet Metal parts by taking capitalized know-how and manufacturing constraints into account early in the design process. The engineer can intuitively manage the forming process directly in 3D and automatically generate flattened views from the 3D design part.

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Simulation and Validation

What if decision makers could harness accurate information to define the best consumer experience and make the right choices?

Integrating simulation in the design workflow improves quality and reduces the cost linked to physical testing. Now that the product is completely defined, all actors and decision makers can easily experience the final product in context and digital assets are ready to be re-used for marketing purposes.

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Conclusion

“My Design” is an integrated solution based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform for Consumer Goods companies. It allows the free flow of ideas through social innovation and provides multimedia dashboards to keep abreast of market needs. With “My Design”, your company can develop innovative products faster and cheaper and deliver products consumers love.

Discover more

Watch ‘My Design’ Webinar: how to turn ideas into reality

Discover My Design Industry Solution Experience

Watch the video and Listen to Tomasz Bardzik, CTO of Nowy Styl Group

Find more about Dassault Systèmes’ in the Consumer Goods & Retail industry



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