We spoke to Lee Arthur, the head of ExecSense and the New York Institute of Finance, about how executive learning is changing today. A native of the United Kingdom, Lee is now based in New York and travels the world, meeting with companies large and small. An edited version of the conversation appears below.

What traits do great leaders share?

They understand that their personal communication in business is the deciding factor in the success of any company or project. “Chinese whispers” is a game of trying to make sure a message passes through layers of people and comes out correct the other side. It rarely does. Leaders need to understand they are playing this game every day and develop a communication strategy to make sure they win.

How can today’s professionals turn into great leaders?

You have to have a genuine passion for what you do and a real wish to enable your team to grow and thrive. So if you enjoy coaching others, that’s a good sign.

You have to be confident enough to let your team take credit. Your peers notice that and will make them see you as a leader.

When you meet with training professionals today, what concerns do they have?

The most important concern I hear is about fit. Training professionals want to ensure a program is pitched at a level that fits the audience’s skill level.

How do you advise people on how to think about a learning budget?

We want companies to focus on outcomes, as in what they want to see at the end of a year or quarter. If companies invest in improving results through skill-training, nearly every investment will deliver a return. Starting with the desired outcomes helps ensure the business case is sound and budget is aligned with expected return on investment.

How are the ways that people access information and learn changing?

Think Netflix. Any device, any lesson you choose, when and how you want to learn it. This is the future of learning. Corporate training delivery will move closer to consumer-quality digital experiences where mobile apps and user-experience are key success requirements.

You travel widely for your job. What trends do you see emerging outside of the United States that people here in New York might be surprised about?

The amount of time Chinese students invest in learning is staggering. Their ability to master complicated subject matter, along with their work ethic, makes me feel like I’m not working hard enough!

African markets are still very focused on face-to-face learning. E-learning is only now become an option due to increased internet connectivity.

How can a small company, perhaps someone who is not a dedicated learning professional, compete and grow their own talent?

It’s much easier today. The best learning in the world is available to everyone, everywhere if you take the time to seek it out. At ExecSense we have over 400 experts who have “walked the walk” and now give lessons on our platform. Sharing lessons can increase competencies across a company and enable a small-company leader execute with the skill of larger competitors.

ExecSense is a leader in digital education. Do you think there are any areas that are still better with face to face instruction?

Yes. Most things are better in-person, but the convenience and cost and choice and time saving of digital swing the choice to online learning in more and more cases.

2016 Execsense Copyright