Learning from Skillsoft Perspectives 2020

The world is at a standstill, with lives and livelihoods at stake. While everyone is worried about health, family, and economic security; leaders are working hard to learn resilience, sustain the business, motivate employees, and ensure everyone’s good mental and physical health amid the ongoing crisis.  

Though the adverse impact of COVID-19 is yet to be fully realized, it has been shaping the business world. We are writing new chapters in virtual business, flexible work styles, focus on employee well-being, and deepening customers’ trust than ever before. 

And so, The Skillsoft and SumTotal annual conference, Skillsoft Perspectives, followed the sun to make it a 24-hour digital event, jam-packed with ideas that can help businesses thrive and succeed. 

Here are some of the insights that can boost HR and learning leaders to stay courageous and resilient, in their path to adapt to the new normal. 

Unified Leadership and Inclusion – Mary Davis and her Team 

Mary Davis and her team from Special Olympics made the participants realize that people they are working with are not disabled but super-abled. 

"…. What I learned was that these athletes were not disabled, they were super–abled. The Olympics is where heroes are made. The Paralympics is where heroes come." 

-—Joey Reiman


Her thoughts on inclusion and unified leadership threw light on how today’s leaders can learn from the way athletes are overcoming challenges at Special Olympics. Tapping into the potential of this new perspective of leadership and inclusion, leaders can motivate their workforces and boost confidence to face an uncertain future.

Making Happiness Possible in Crisis - Shawn Achor 

Shawn highlighted how organizations can tap into the potential of the positive psychological approach during a crisis to create happy workforces. He made his keynote immersive by kicking it off with the five most critical questions which have been posed to him during his research. Here's a brief of it - 

  1. How do we mentally process the crisis for the most adaptive response?  

Rational optimism accompanied by hope, gratitude for the present, meaningful work, and deep social connections can help us mentally process the crisis for the most adaptive response. 

       2.   How do we pursue happiness and success amid difficult times?    

Pursuing happiness can happen by being interconnected, which, according to Shawn's research, can lower stress, and create positive energy, where everyone is lit up by the people around them to face the crisis. 

       3.  How can individuals create positive change amid the difficult times?    

Practicing gratitude exercises like recollecting three new things we are grateful for amid crisis and maintaining a journal of positive experiences. Fifteen minutes of fun, mindful cardio activity, meditation, and random acts of kindness can create a positive vibe amid crisis. 

        4. How do we ripple positive changes to other people?    

According to Shawn, cultivating a constant culture of gratitude and praise can impact not just us but also others around us, causing a ripple effect of spreading optimism. 

        5.  What do we learn from the crisis?  

Shawn answers this by posing another question from a well-known doctor who asked his team about one thing that would remain the same after the crisis as it was during the crisis. The crisis has taught us many new meaningful things, like maintaining deep social connections, and giving more attention to our mental and physical health. If we continue, we can make a significant impact both in our lives and of others too. 


He emphasized the power of optimism, social connections, and how developing new meaningful habits create happy brains amidst crisis and stress. He believes that meaning triggers optimism, happiness precedes success, and stress fuels growth. 

Maximizing Women's Role in Building the Future – Ally Watson 

Ally Watson, CEO of Code Like a Girl, recounted her story and the vision that led to a growing company, successful in driving women towards working in tech. 

Her motto, “To Empower and Enable Women and Girls to be Equal Creators in Building the Future,” reflects her impact on women, so they never question their existence and importance in a dominant male industry but thrive together and share the responsibilities to face tomorrow. 

Watson's vision creates a hopeful picture for every girl and woman to aspire a career in the technology world, assuring them that there are organizations that support the cause of women's equality with career opportunities and tools to grow and succeed.

Reset Your Work, Workplace, and Leadership - Josh Bersin  

Josh Bersin’s call to organizations and HR leaders is to evaluate  

  • how prepared they are to align their work processes to the new normal,   

  • the effectiveness of a communication process that supports work and ensures productivity, and  

  • review steps to ensure the safety of your workforce. 

He also shared that organizations need to adapt to the way the Military responds to crisis, which involves 

  • top-down response systems,   

  • maintaining good relations between humans and technology and data,  

  • skilling,  

  • embracing innovation and creativity, and   

  • creating and sustain a sense of shared awareness and information. 

Bersin highlighted that L&D leaders should prepare for a transition from the traditional linear learning models to the self-directed world of Netflix-like learning, where learners browse around and find whatever they want to learn. He calls this a ‘capability academy’. 

Organizations can achieve this transition using Percipio, Skillsoft's intelligent learning experience platform. Percipio can offer your employees limitless learning opportunities accompanied by a consumer-like experience to engage and inspire. Percipio is 

  • Purposeful in helping workforces realize and fulfill their dream of career advancement. 

  • Intelligent in making personal learning recommendations and accelerating personal learning discovery. 

  • Boundless in its content curation capability. 

  • Immersive with learning packed in digital playbooks and enjoyable gamification. 

  • Collaborative through its integration with platforms like Zoom and Cisco WebEx and other communities, discussion boards, and blogs. 

Your managers and platform administrators can track the progress made and view learning consumption through meaningful data visualizations that help to measure the impact of learning over each individual employee, the entire workforce, and the business. 

Percipio is a platform that can  

  • engage and inspire learners while they learn, 

  • monitor and track learning during and after learning, and  

  • optimize every single user interaction to make future learning motivating and experiential. 

Learning from Nature for a Positive Behavioral Change - Jez Rose 

In London's session, Jes Roze enlightens about his journey of building the world's first Carbon Neutral honey-bee farm. Being a behavior insight Advisor and turning out to be a honeybee farmer, he shares his thought-provoking insights on how nature can be a great teacher. 

He calls everyone's attention towards how seeking a positive behavioral change can shape our character as professionals and leaders. Some of his takeaways are - 

  • Keep Flying though its hard 

  • Find your purpose to make a difference 

  • See the moments which involves taking time out of our busy schedules to observe and learn from the beautiful and meaningful moments of nature around us 

  • The need to overcome the decline of Respect for ourselves, for others and respect for differences 

  • People always remember how we make them feel 

Concluding his keynote with Lao Tzu's quote, "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished", he adds that patience, trust, and a belief in the future to create something extraordinary can lead all of us towards the magic of creating a positive behavioral change. 


Get Better Mindset- Heidi Grant 

Heidi Grant, Social psychologist, speaker, and author explores into two kinds of mindsets - The Fixed Mindset and The Get Better Mindset and how the latter can help us manage and overcome challenges better. 

Some of the advantages of a Get Better Mindset are - 

  • It helps look at a problem as a challenge than as a threat 

  • It involves an attitude of improving our skills rather than proving our skills during uncertainties 

  • It helps us compare our own selves in the past to the present, helping us realize our growth 

  • It contributes organizations to become agile and innovative 

Her key advice to the leadership is to identify their own existing mindset, then shift towards a Get Better Mindset, and practice it while giving employee feedback, or dealing with talent development or rewarding employees, so it can lead to greater agility, better performance, more creativity, innovation, and well-being. 

 Make Courage and The Will to Adapt, Your Investors

Courage and the will to adapt can become investors during hard times. With technology supporting our existence from every end, let us explore new horizons and drive value from its wealth of opportunities for business continuity. 


"When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters -- one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity. 

                                                                                                                                                                                       -   John F. Kennedy