Today’s professional landscape is defined by an evolution of tech and business fields that outpace the coinciding evolution of school curricula. I’ve seen three key business trends that have resulted from technological innovation throughout recent years—the art of relationship building has forever changed; the idea of creating, maintaining, and protecting a personal and professional brand is more complex; and technology has changed the way teams are built and managed.
If these trends are addressed within college courses, it would serve the next generation of leaders well. That said, I propose the following courses be integrated into college curricula through a case study approach to give our future leaders real life learning experiences.
Relationship Building and Communication via Online Platforms
Communication is important, but ethical, authentic communication is paramount. While social networking gives business leaders the freedom to interact with anyone, it demands a high level of accountability, strategy, and responsibility. It’s critical that future leaders are educated on the way to build and nurture meaningful, long-term professional relationships online. They must understand the multitude of communication approaches within the social media spectrum to earn and maintain trust among networks of thousands of individuals watching, learning, and communicating with them.
Reputation Management in an Online World
Young adults may not realize that their future reputation is built today. I have built a strong business reputation through social platforms and have generated business leads through Facebook, illustrating that, if harnessed correctly, technology and social media can be a key element to success. Your personal brand is on display all the time. The line between personal and professional reputation is blurred, and I have seen some people flourish and others tarnish their reputations due to their social media actions. Be conscious, deliberate, and strategic in all that is communicated. A tweet, post, or click of a mouse can permanently affect your reputation.
Technology at the Core of Business Leadership
Technology must be understood as an enabler to lead, develop, and mobilize a team of the future. With technologies ranging from social media to cloud computing, the structure and productivity level of teams have changed. Teams can now be global or remote and achieve more than ever. Therefore, the role of a leader has changed in terms of finding, deploying, and motivating talent. The idea of strategic planning has also evolved. We used to work against five-year business plans, but now plans are more agile and shorter because technology has made us much more adaptable.