Over the years I have coached and supported hundreds of businesses in turnaround situations; mergers and acquisitions; high growth strategies and transformational results programmes to help companies make the leap from good to great.
Recently there has been much talk of business failure and nowhere near enough about business success. So to put the record straight there are two essential ingredients to ensuring a successful business:
1. Leadership – businesses led by forward thinking entrepreneurs who inspire and motivate their people to deliver exceptional service to their customers and are constantly looking at ways to improve the business and the customer experience. These leaders also have a habit of making more right decisions than wrong ones, but one thing stands them out from the crowd…. They MAKE decisions and take action. In addition, leaders (whether they like it or not) set the tone in their business. So if a business owner is shy and retiring and doesn’t communicate, this will be a key trait of the whole organisation.
2. Marketing and sales - Successful companies have great marketing and sales systems which deliver breakthrough results. In particular they manage the ‘top of the funnel’ very well by using robust marketing systems by companies like iContact. Email marketing with iContact helps them to stay in touch with their customers, raise brand awareness and achieve sales when their customers are ready to buy.
Successful entrepreneurs remember that their customers don’t often buy when you are ready to sell. You must always be ready to sell, because customers buy only when they are ready to buy. It is vital therefore for successful businesses to manage every section of the sales funnel. This begins with strategies such as email marketing by iContact; robust tracking and data collation; building interest, excitement and commitment; closing brilliantly and following up all the time.
Selling is like fishing – you may have your first bite but it can sometimes be hard work landing the fish.
Also in this leadership qualification series:
Degrees have often been the most sought-after leadership courses related to leadership. The commanding ability to produce leadership research and ideology to an international standard further strengthens universities position in this area. This applies for not only universities in the UK but also in the states.
Introduction: Traditional Leadership Degrees
Currently, almost all universities with an established business school will offer programmes that specifically strive to develop leadership within their students. Examples of these traditional courses at Lancaster University’s prestigious Management School include:
- MA Management Learning & Leadership
- Executive MBA
- Diploma in Public Service Leadership
- Lancaster Advanced Leadership Programme
As you can see, leadership is prominently represented at traditional Universities in the UK and internationally. However, a new breed of leadership degrees have emerged. These are Online Leadership Degrees.
What are Online Leadership Degrees?
Online leadership degrees offer similar academic learning to traditional ‘brick-based’ university degrees, but also offer far more in the way of flexibility and value for money. There are however also drawbacks, and we’ll look at these later too.
Some online leadership degrees are 100% web based, and therefore the University can actually be based in a totally different country to the student! Some leadership degrees online are actually just part-take time degrees whereby distance learning forms the bulk (but not the total) amount of degree work.
Advantages and Benefits of Online Leadership Degrees
1. Cost. Leadership Degrees Online are substantially cheaper than offline ones.
2. Convenience. These courses allow you to pick your hours, pick your working days and often even tailor your module choices!
Disadvantages and Drawbacks of Online Leadership Degrees
1. Impersonal. Distance learning can be a lonely process, and often you can feel like there is no sense of community spirit surrounding the course, and no ‘buddies’ to keep you in the loop on whats going on. Some universities however have online hub spaces for students to interact, which in part solves this isolation-by-distance.
2. Lack of personal tuition. When the topics dealt with become technical and complicated, it is often useful to be able to ask even silly questions to just clarify points in your mind. Often this functionality is missing in online leadership degrees, which can lead to mistakes in your work or uncorrected flaws in your thinking which can persist and cause difficulties for quite some time.
However in some online degrees – telephone and even web-chat support is sometimes provided which can mitigate this factor.
Directory of Online Leadership Degrees
In this section I will attempt to create a directory of online leadership degrees available. This list will not be in any particular order, and I do not specifically recommend any course. This is purely for reference only. All of these universities are officially accredited in the US.
Price: $8,625 (15 Credit hours, $575 per credit hour).
Price: $31,680 (64 Credit hours, $475 per credit hour).
Price: $33,000 (120 Credit Hours, $275 per credit hour).
Obviously this list is not comprehensive, but will certainly give you an idea of what the top online universities in the USA are offering with regards to online leadership courses.
Conclusion: A Worthwhile Choice?
Are online degrees the highest quality form of leadership training? Probably not. Due to the lack of one-on-one leadership coaching, I believe that these leadership courses probably fall down when it comes to developing the leadership skills of others compared to say, a leadership development programme run in physical leadership classes or perhaps within the participants business itself.
That isn’t to say that online leadership degrees are a waste of time however. On the contrary, an online leadership course such as this will certainly enlighten you to the various leadership styles, leadership models and leadership theories out there. Your knowledge will be much fuller after partaking in an online bachelors degree. I just simply believe that a practical element is necessary to help translate this knowledge into good leadership skills.