Accountable for Results

Once we’ve been intentional about defining leadership development, our work should be done! Right?

Before you fall completely out of your chair, laughing at that ridiculous statement, I’ll challenge you to show anything of significance that’s truly that simple… If we want to achieve significant results, especially the tangible results that make a measurable impact on our organization’s bottom line, we’ll have to be sure to see it through - not just issue a statement and call it done…

For close to 15 years, I worked for a Human Resource Manager who was always very vocal about what he expected from me anytime I attended any type of class or conference. I was required to report back to him, and often the entire management team, showing I had learned and what steps I would be implementing in the process I led. I was also responsible for seeing this through and for showing a tangible return on the investment that had been made for me to attend the training in question.

This same manager was also very vocal in his belief that the safety and human resource functions of the organization were not revenue centers; those functions were typically in place for cost avoidance - like minimizing turnover, reducing the cost of injuries, etc. That said, he had an expectation for any action plan we implemented to make a direct impact on productivity and profitability for the entire business we supported. The plans we initiated were expected to help improve the processes that our customers were paying for, not simply add burdensome procedures that may help prevent an issue somewhere down the road while requiring significantly more effort and expense every single day. (We’ll leave those things to the government…)

Meeting his expectations was often an incredibly tall order! It really forced me to think about how any action step I suggested would not only reduce the potential exposure we may be facing but also how that same action could assist in streamlining a process and make a measurable impact on profitability. While becoming effective at doing this took years, his expectation has served me well in every role I’ve held since!

After we’ve worked through the process of defining leadership development, then providing our team members with the tools they truly need to lead their teams effectively, it’s absolutely critical that we hold them accountable for applying what they’ve learned! This isn’t some touchy-feely idea that we’ll never really be able to see results from, this needs to be something that’s tracked and measured. Just like with any given technical training, we should be able to see different behaviors being exhibited immediately based on the new skills they’ve learned… Also like applying a new technical skill, our team members should have complete clarity as to how their new approach will yield different (and better) results. Without clearly knowing what they’re trying to achieve, they aren’t likely to know if the action they’ve taken has mattered…

In any organization, capital expenditures are expected to have a payoff/payback within a certain amount of time. An investment into developing the leadership skills of our team members should be no different, but we need to hold them accountable for identifying how they can apply what they’re learning, what changes they expect to see from the action steps they take, and to show tangible results. Whether it’s in person, virtual, or with our digital courses, Cindy and I have built this approach into every single lesson we provide through our Emerging Leader Development and Recruitment, Retention, & Culture courses and our entire Leading At The Next Level program (where we recently started offering a 14 Day Trial for just $1).

Please understand though, even with this kind of expectation in place, it’s still going to require very intentional effort. As we move forward, we’ll take a look at a few of the reasons why leadership training fails.

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