Online leadership course provides fit

February 16, 2009
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After leaving Siemens Logistics & Assembly, now Dematic Corp., Prashant Ranade decided to pursue a few ideas that had been with him throughout his professional career. One of those ideas took the form of Learning Leadership, an online leadership development program aimed at all levels of business management, owners and CEOs.

“I was president and CEO of Siemens, and when the Grand Rapids-based group was spun off, I decided to pursue a few different products I wanted to develop — (Learning Leadership) being one of them,” said Ranade, now president and CEO of Indus Ventures LLC.

“Over the years, things that I’ve learned, seminars that I’ve attended, people that I’ve learned from, along with my partner — together we pooled our knowledge and experience to create this program.”

Ranade’s partner in the Learning Leadership program is Hemant Karandiker, founder of India’s Exponient Consulting who has held several C-level positions for companies such as Philips, Global Weighing and Tata Electric. Along with collaborating with Ranade on the program, he also represents Learning Leadership overseas.

The idea for the program was born when the two were college roommates.

“Both of us wanted to develop a leadership development program,” said Ranade. “Hemant had an outline of how the delivery would be in terms of technology; both of us had thought about content, various modules we needed — so we pooled those ideas together over a period of time and the output was Learning Leadership.”

Ken Bogard, a former student of Ranade at Grand Valley State University, looks after the business development of Learning Leadership.

The information is delivered through online modules that allow users to work at their own pace. Ranade noted that one feature of the program is that each module adapts to the specific user’s business issues.

“Each sub-module has two parts. The first part is in just one page online, or at maximum a page and a half; we share the concepts relevant to that area. For example, it could be interpersonal relationships; it could be conflict resolution; it could be project management. All these areas, we capture the main points related to that in a page and a half. That gives an overview of the concepts, the ideas, the thought process that exist behind that sub-module,” said Ranade.

“Then we go to what is called ‘workout.’ That workout forces the leader to think about the ideas and concepts that the leader is exposed to which are relevant to their setting. Then we draw out the questions, the challenges, and based on that … come up with an action plan.”

It’s almost like giving a template to the CEO or owner of a business to mold a specific leadership development plan for that company. While each module runs at the user’s pace, Ranade said it typically takes between 15 to 30 minutes for each workout, and a program can be completed in about two to three weeks.

One of the programs offered is Emotional Leadership, which aids in understanding one’s own feelings and those of employees. Ranade said this understanding can be used to achieve higher levels of performance and satisfaction.

The Regenerative Leadership program is offered in core and advanced levels as well as one for entrepreneurs and business owners. The core program works on basic skills, such as assessing and developing employees, improving the work process and more. The advanced program delves more deeply into those skills and adds others. The program for entrepreneurs and business owners, Ranade said, helps in the areas of strategic, financial and leadership, and other unique challenges entrepreneurs and business owners face.

“The law of gravity is universal, that doesn’t change, but how you apply it to different problems varies,” Ranade said about the flexibility of the program. “Other than just letting the students know how I solved a specific problem, you expose the leaders who are enrolled in the program, get them to think about their situation, and then with their thinking and process input, come up with an action plan and come up with the best way to address their situation and resolve their problems.”

There is also an online forum incorporated into the program so that users can talk to each other and share what they have found. Cost for the program ranges from $1,000 to $5,600. The Web site is www.learning-leadership.com

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