July 1, 2021 | Activate Learning | 4 min read

Just as the digital economy has transformed business, leadership too is fast evolving. Today, organizations expect — and need — individuals at every level to be leaders. And the stakes are high; there are significant costs associated with poor leadership. Yet, a majority of companies are lacking the leadership they feel they require. In a 2019 survey, 80% of respondents rated leadership as a high priority, but only 41% believe their companies are ready to fulfill their leadership requirements. (Source: Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, 2019)

On the other hand, when an organization builds and nurtures great leadership, again at every level, the potential upside is hard to ignore. The workforce can be more engaged and more productive; reputations can improve; customers can become loyal advocates; and there is often a direct correlation to the bottom line. In fact, organizations with the strongest digital leadership capabilities outperform those with the weakest capabilities by 50 percent. (Source: The Conference Board, Global Leadership Forecast, 2018)

But, today’s challenges — and opportunities — require a new generation of leaders who are agile, resilient, and digitally fluent. It isn’t enough to ensure that leaders have knowledge about what needs to be done. They must also have confidence in their ability to effect change. Building that ability is key, and one-to-one coaching is one of the most effective ways to do that.

Coaching has always been a powerful and enabling tool, but too often it’s reserved for the select few, for the senior leaders and C-suite rather than first-time managers or emerging leaders.

With Skillsoft’s acquisition of Pluma, we’re changing that. We are democratizing leadership development.

Introducing Skillsoft Pluma

Skillsoft is a global leader in corporate digital learning serving approximately 70% of the Fortune 1000, and more than 45 million learners in over 160 countries. Pluma is a customizable digital platform that offers executive-quality one-on-one and group coaching. Together through Skillsoft Pluma, we can make leadership development far more accessible because organizations need strong leaders to drive business forward and deliver outcomes.

And it’s a win-win for our customers.

Skillsoft Pluma will accelerate professional growth and impact for high potential leaders, whether they have decades of leadership experience or are just beginning to shine. It provides personalized, introspective coaching from distinguished and highly qualified executive coaches. These coaches are available to meet with leaders (and aspiring leaders) in real-time, use assessments to identify skill gaps, and design action plans that drive back to specific learning content in the Skillsoft Leadership Development Program (SLDP), powered by MIT Sloan Management Review.

This high-touch option is a significant complement to the industry-leading, blended learning Skillsoft is known for. And it provides customers with a proven solution to build stronger, more effective, and future-fit leaders.

Why is this solution so timely?

Data from recent studies demonstrate a genuine need for this powerful new offering:

  • Only about 2 in 5 organizations are developing leaders in a way that benefits the business. (Source: Brandon Hall Group, Reinventing and Democratizing Leadership Development, 2018)
  • 72% of organizations attribute the absence of coaching as a reason for leaders lacking critical leadership competencies. (Source: Brandon Hall Group, Improving Leadership Development in the Post-COVID Era, 2020)

Meanwhile, there’s a measurable difference between digital-ready leaders and those who are not. Highly capable digital-ready leaders are more likely (89% versus 58%) to take on stretch assignments to build new skills, and are more likely to provide input to grow the business (67% versus 34%). (Source: Global Leadership Forecast, 2018)

None of this is surprising. The digital economy has already transformed the way we work. Organizations are flatter and individuals take on new, often self-directed, responsibilities at every level. It’s no wonder many companies are experiencing a leadership gap and all the negative outcomes associated with it.

The dilemma is twofold. New leaders lack the experience they need, while many established leaders require a new set of skills to be truly effective in a fast-changing business environment. Both groups can benefit enormously from the combination of skill gaps assessment, learning and coaching. And when individual leaders benefit, their organization does too.

The best leaders will be those who have both knowledge and ability to demonstrate leadership, who are comfortable thinking digital-first, and who can pivot quickly, leading their teams and organizations into the future … whatever that future looks like.

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