How companies are training tomorrow’s IT leaders

Where will the next generation of IT leaders come from? Some large companies, including Boeing and Vanguard, are taking leadership development into their own hands.

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Companies face demographic change as Baby Boomers continue their steady departure from the workplace. At the same time, recruiting and retaining employees to work in large companies is becoming more difficult as freelance and entrepreneurial ventures become more popular, especially among Millennials. These challenges make attracting and developing talent critical for organizations that seek to keep pace.

In his book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” Michael Lewis describes how financial firms competed and schemed for an investment advantage measured in fractions of a second. Achieving fast returns on investments may be the name of the game in high-frequency trading, but companies that invest in people need to start from a different premise: They are making a long-term investment. Growing a new generation of leaders that have a company-wide perspective takes years.

Leadership development programs in large organizations often include traditional classroom education. Apple, General Electric, McDonald’s and the U.S. military’s Defense Acquisition University operate some of the world’s best-known organizational universities. These institutions offer something unique to students: networking and exposure with leaders. Further, these programs help staff to better understand the company’s culture.

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