How Do You Measure Success?

We closed last time by touching briefly on how critical it is to be able to measure tangible results as we work to avoid many of the reasons for why leadership training fails. Leading up to that, we looked at the wide variations in what’s even referred to as leadership training and we dug into the significant difference between knowing something and applying it… 

As Cindy and I begin working with an organization, or an individual leader within that organization, we always start the process by having a very strategic conversation with the primary decision maker(s) to develop a firm understanding of the issues they’re dealing with so we can assist them by providing the most applicable material for their team members and in creating the most effective plan for how their team members can take action on that material afterward. It’s incredibly important to understand where they are before we ever try to help them move forward! A while back while talking with Carly Fiorina, she emphasized that we should always “take the time to understand exactly where we’re starting from as well as to understand the possibilities of where we could be.” She said neglecting to get a realistic, clear-eyed, complete understanding of the current state keeps many organizations from ever reaching their potential future state.

I recently shared some stats detailing average costs of voluntary turnover and the average cost of lost production due to poor communication, both of which showing why leadership development is important… Taking a clear-eyed look at how each of those are truly impacting your organization’s bottom line is a great place to start since even those “average” numbers showed significant costs. In many cases though, there may well be pain points within the team driving those numbers far higher than average, and there could be other issues that are costing the company even more.

Let me be very clear here though: getting a complete picture of the current state - the costs you’re already experiencing - will require significant transparency and it will be extremely tough. This won’t be a time where you can afford to allow feelings to get in the way; it’s not about placing blame, it’s about getting a firm grip on where you are so you can take steps to make improvements for everyone involved!

Once that hard work is under your belt, you’ll have a far better shot at defining the leadership development necessary to make a tangible difference in the costs/issues you’re already experiencing. Having this type of clear picture, Cindy and I can provide specific resources that can be applied by the leaders in the organization immediately. But just having access to those resources is far different than making sure behaviors are changing and those resources are being applied. After training has been done, the tangible value comes only from ensuring follow through. This is where we can have strategic conversations with individual leaders and their direct supervisor or manager to outline specific targets they can be working toward as they implement what they pulled from that training. Then we schedule follow up conversations on a routine basis to analyze progress, make adjustments, and identify the next best steps that need to be taken; keeping their manager in the loop throughout the process and comparing results after a period of time to what they started with.

If you’ve wondered why leadership training fails, I believe it’s because there’s rarely this level of attention given to defining leadership development, developing clear strategies for application, or measuring follow through and results. We rarely approach any other type of project without doing each of the steps I’ve outlined here. Should we ever consider handing something as important as leadership development any differently just because it’s so often considered a “soft skill”?

If you’d like to get a taste of this approach at no cost, check out the next option for catching our Navigating Leadership Roadblocks webinar. You’ll be able to get some insight on what we’ve seen be the most critical steps to an effective leadership transition and you’ll get to experience our approach to guiding someone through the process of identifying what they can apply immediately from what we cover by completing an action-based assessment. We also share a special discount offer on our Emerging Leader Development digital course with folks who participate in the webinar. We don’t typically mention it in the webinar, but we also include a bonus, one on one planning session at no cost for anyone who takes advantage of the discounted digital course… Kick the tires and you’ll see how intentional we’ve been in building a process that eliminates the reasons why leadership training fails...

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