In 2013, Deloitte revealed that U.S. businesses spent a whopping $15.5 billion on leadership development. Despite sinking this much money into leadership training, research shows that most organizations do not feel confident that pipeline talent can meet the corporation's future needs. How do you measure leadership training effectiveness? What can your organization do to address and close the leadership skills gap? Is your organization measuring training impact?
Many leadership development training managers believe that the impact of their leadership training cannot really be measured, but this isn’t necessarily true. Your leadership training should be measured to evaluate the return on your training investments.
One reliable way to measure training impact is to look at KirkPatrick Model Level 3: Behavior.
Has the leadership training resulted in behavior change? Did your leaders change they way that they approach tasks? Are they applying their new knowledge and skills acquired in their training?
If not, then training managers need to reevaluate their training goals and assess why their learners are not achieving the desired behavior changes.
Study Behavior Change
By analyzing behavioral changes after training, you learn valuable information about what parts of the training were impactful and which were not.
Quizzes and surveys can help you evaluate whether your leaders gleaned important lessons from the trainings, or whether more skills reinforcement is needed. Another pitfall to effective skills development is that, many times, skills reinforced in training are not necessarily truly relevant to professional leadership development.
It is critical to make sure your leadership training achieves your training goals, accomplishes your business objectives, and increases business impact. Otherwise, the skills gap will still persist.
KirkPatrick levels are just one way to measure effectiveness. If your organization does not use the KirkPatrick model, that's fine. As long as you are looking at your training results and business impact, your organization will be able to measure leadership training effectiveness.
Let's take a moment to define effectiveness vs. efficiency. There is a critical difference between effectiveness ("do the right thing") and efficiency ("do things right").
What are you really looking for when seeking effectiveness? While efficiency has a place, it doesn't necessarily produce the desired impact. When you want to measure leadership training effectiveness, you really need to measure 3 elements: application, timing, and impact.
How are your leaders using their new skills and when are these new skills being used? Based on these first two measurements, you can determine whether or not the training created impact within the organization.
To measure training impact, you must be clear about what results you want to see after training. Be specific. Often times training goals are broad and organizations fail to set clear benchmarks, such as measurable training results and reinforcement objectives.
Notice the emphasis is on the ability to do something, not actually doing it. Have your leaders moved from knowledge to application? Once you have outlined results driven goals, you determine your measurable reinforcement objectives.
One strategy to try is the 3x4 approach. Think about these 3 measurements of time - weeks, months and quarters. What do you wish to achieve in 4 weeks, 4 months, and 4 quarters?
Build these measurable training goals and learning objectives into your training programs and make them clear to leaders. When leaders know what they'll be evaluated on and why it matters, they're more likely to grasp and implement training goals and reinforcement objectives.
When you focus your leadership training around the 7 principles of training reinforcement, you will find that your leadership training is much more effective. Download Part 1 of the Mindmarker Total Concept: From the Olympics to the 7 Principles of Reinforcement to learn more.