Learning Re-Imagined

Skillsoft Blog

Building leadership in SMB and non-profits

By Jordan Jurkowitz,
Inside Sales New Business Development, Skillsoft

Strong
leadership is absolutely essential for any organization to survive and thrive
regardless of size and scale. It can make the strong stronger and offset
competitive disadvantages such as lack of funds and resources. Likewise, its
absence can cause even the biggest organizations to crumble.

The
world of sports provides many examples of how important leadership can be. Looking
back on the fall baseball season, the Boston Red Sox began with high hopes.
They had a roster full of former all-stars and one of the highest payrolls in sports.
They also had a new manager. But as the season unfolded, things didn’t quite
mesh. Why? It became evident that there was very little trust between the
manager and the players. Infighting ensued and the team fell to the bottom of
the standings.

Meanwhile,
the Baltimore Orioles, a team whose payroll and overall talent pool pales in
comparison to the Red Sox, have far exceeded the expectations most had for them
this year. Why? The team has thrived under the guidance
of a manager who has been renowned throughout his career for his ability to
maximize the talent and production of his teams.

My
role as an Inside-Sales New-Business-Development Associate puts me in a unique
position to recognize trends in different industries because I generally talk
to prospective clients during the early stages of their projects. 

The
most important questions I ask usually start with why: Why is this training important? Why are you considering elearning? Why
will this help you accomplish your goals?

Over
the last several months, I’ve noticed a spike in the number of non-profit
professionals who have expressed an interest in elearning, especially in the
areas of business skills and leadership development. Why is this training important?

While
no two organizations are exactly alike, a frequent refrain in the non-profit
world is the need for employees to wear multiple hats within an organization.
Non-profits operate with limited resources, so it is not uncommon for them to
seek to fill leadership roles from within.

If
a social worker displays a knack for leading, they may find themselves with a
new role, regardless of whether or not their prior education and experience
makes them a good fit. This lack of formal training creates an acute need for
employees to learn important skills in a professional and efficient manner,
without the prohibitive costs of going back to school.  

Why are you
considering elearning?


Some
prospective clients have mentioned that a lot of leadership positions at
non-profits have been filled by baby boomers. As that generation has gradually
begun to retire, the average age of employees has dropped. Tight budgets put a
further squeeze on the number of available positions.

Many
new-hires are recent college graduates, and they are being asked to take on
more responsibility than ever before. These employees come from the information
age and have grown up in an educational environment with unmatched integration
of technology and learning. As a result, computer-based training is now a
better fit for the learning styles of the average worker. There is now a
greater need for easy-to-access training that touches on multiple disciplines
and skill-sets.

Why will this help
you accomplish your goals?

Much
like the Orioles found innovative ways to compete with teams that have much
deeper pools of resources, so must non-profits. In baseball, small-market teams
can bridge the gap by increasing their investments in player scouting and
talent development, and by being more deliberate in the people they hire to fill
key leadership positions.

Non-profits
must be equally as strategic in how they allocate their resources. Strong
leaders are vital because of the multitude of ways they have a direct impact on
the organization. Leaders must not only manage to the bottom line, they also
must do so in a way that comports with the core mission of the organization and
adheres to the directives of board members and stakeholders.

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