Upskill, Reskill and New Skill: Why continuous learning is the way forward

Lifelong learning is a critical capability of modern work for new-age leaders. As businesses wade through, uncertainty is clearly one of the most challenging times of recent history, there is greater emphasis on appointing leaders who don’t just manage but lead organizations through crises, make complex and tough business decisions and lead their teams with empathy and fairness. 

Work from home might be here to stay or we may eventually return to our offices, but the leadership skills needed in this new, post-COVID reality might be significantly different than what we depended on previously.

One character trait that most great leaders have in common, is their belief in continuous learning. It is a lifelong process and leaders of tomorrow elevate their skills and adapt based on their intuition and the need of the hour. 

New paradigms 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shocked the economy and widened the skills gap. According to World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society Platform, this calls for new investments and mechanisms for reskilling and upskilling for both deeply human skills as well as digital skills. 

WEF’s initiative Closing the Skills Gap project aims to bring the government, civil society, business and education/training sectors together to resolve the skill issues. WEF”s Future of Jobs report shows that by 2022 54% of all employees will need a great deal of upskilling and reskilling.

Skilling, Upskilling and Reskilling to stay ahead of the curve

With emerging technologies, the explosion of Big Data and analytics and the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the rules of the game have changed. Organizations now have new tools, technologies and requirements that can reveal unforeseen insights. 

But there is a notable skill gap in a majority of the workforce.  Unfortunately, old style notions of training are far too slow and perhaps not as relevant in the current scenario. How can senior professionals ensure they identify the right skills,  technologies, make the transition and continue their learning journeys in the right trajectories? 

Executive Leadership Programs

Executive management or leadership programs are specifically designed for experienced working professionals with an online only or hybrid format to suit the hectic schedule. 

Programs such as Cornell’s Executive Program in Management (EPM) offer strategic and tactical skills in some of the most in-demand skills to succeed as a business leader in today’s competitive ecosystem. 

New Skills for the New Wave

Some of the most in-demand skills for the leaders of tomorrow are no longer restricted to conventional management modules. Themes like Intelligent Platforms and IoT, Design Thinking, Innovation, Systems Thinking, Critical Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, Leading High-Performance Teams through Crisis, Negotiation Strategies, Communication and Story-telling, Virtual Executive Presence, Ethical Practice and civic mindedness are some of the most sought-after.

It no longer suffices to be an expert in your own field of work, leaders must also demonstrate critical thinking skills combining technical prowess with cognitive and soft skills as they become more senior in their organization. 

Cornell’s EPM offers a unique course curriculum with modules that are categorized as “Think”, “Feel” and “Do” based on how new-age leaders tackle their responsibilities. 

Breadth and Depth of expertise

Upskillng and reskilling can bridge the skills gap, but leaders must also embrace the T-shaped learning model. That is they need to broaden their horizons in understanding the entire business enterprise as well as go deep into specific niches. 

 

Cornell’s T-shaped pedagogy emphasises both breadth and depth of expertise. Participants can get a broader understanding of the major themes of enterprise business with 16 live, online sessions and then choose to go deeper choosing from 600+ electives to get a deeper understanding of specific lines of business.

Learning map


To grow team relationships, leaders must demonstrate enhanced skills in strategic thinking to understand teams’ challenges as well as communicate the insights gleaned in an effective manner. This is a two-step process that leads to finding new opportunities for clients and creates value. As leaders grow in their organizations, the complexity of these interactions increases along with the responsibility they assume in the organization. 

Cornell facilitates these insights and interactions so that participants can learn, apply their newly learned skills and find out what’s working for their organization and their own context.

Conclusion

Acquiring new skills or sharpening existing ones is not a one-time endeavor. In the time of rapid technological change, each member of the organization whether at the frontlines or the CXOs, needs to continually augment his/her skills. Albert Einstein reportedly said, Once you stop learning, you start dying.  Recent advances in neuroscience show that the brain is far more elastic than we imagine and everyone can benefit from continuous learning. 

Don’t stop  your learning journey. Find out how Cornell’s EPM can benefit you personally and professionally.

3 Subscribe