Measuring the Success of Leadership Development

So how DO you measure the success of a leadership development program? This is actually a tricky one, and there are several great books written outlining very specific, measurable ways to do so. The suggestions described in these books are valid, and may lead you to understanding the ROI of implemented programs. However, the formulas and time needed for compiling and computing the data might be worthy of an FTE, which your organization may or may not have available.

In addition, there are so many intangible benefits to a leadership development program that it may be difficult to actually measure success in a ROI model. Bottom line in this: You should develop leaders in a way that aligns with your corporate strategy and mission. I can hear you saying, “no kidding,” since this is common knowledge. The issue here is that common knowledge does not necessarily always become “common” practice.

If you were to survey most CEO’s, they would tell you how important “developing leaders” is to the organization. Yet, in our very fast-paced work world this “development” is often implemented with less of an emphasis on development and more about attending a class or two with no real development or behavior change, adjustment, or modification taking place. 

When considering a leadership development program, there are obvious questions… Are the leaders meeting or exceeding goals? Do any of the leaders have a higher rate of turnover than other leaders? Are we above or below average turnover rates?  

Then there are quickly understandable measures that will provide immediate benefits, such as, what are the primary characteristics of the leaders in “great” companies? Do the leaders in this company understand, practice, and display those characteristics? If not, why not? Can those characteristics be developed in the current leaders? Are our current leaders open to changing? 

Assuming you already have a leadership development program, you might have a different set of questions in mind. For starters, does my current leadership development model teach the characteristics of leaders that lead “great” organizations? Is my current leadership development model applicable to the current needs of this and future generations?

Of all the questions one may have, there is one that is most imperative: Why is this important? The workplace is becoming more and more competitive each day. Simply offering a paycheck and benefits will not help you retain employees for this and future generations.

A 2016 Gallup poll reports that the costs due to turnover are $30.5 BILLION each year. They found that 56% of Millennials are expected to leave their job in three years or less. This clearly puts profits at risk and decreases the talent pool for future leaders.    

The need for leadership and leadership development has never been greater. We can no longer just realize how important it is to offer leadership development to our current and future leaders, we must take action. 

Millennials are very interested in moving into leadership positions with the “right” organizations. Are you one of those organizations?

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