I once had a conversation with a manager from a global organisation about learning and development for new managers. He pulled out a manual that looked a million dollars and whacked it on the table. This was his organisation’s managerial training program – developed by Harvard! He wondered, however, whether his managers ever used it’s contents beyond the duration of ‘the course’ or if it had any impact on how they operated there after. I think the subtext of his contemplation was he doubted it did. In any case, he had no real tangible way of evaluating its impact.
Along similar lines, I recently spoke with an executive of a government department about the evaluation of his department’s leadership development programs (into which the department invested heavily). He said that while it was very hard to evaluate the benefit of such programs, intuitively they knew it was a good thing. “Intuitively a good thing”. Gee, no wonder some HR departments struggle to get funds with such a hard hitting business case!
So how can Employee Connectedness (EC) help mount a business case for leadership development and measure its effectiveness? In our experience, a good leader is one who can create and increase EC. We just have to make EC the central framework for measuring and informing leadership effectiveness. From there we can translate EC increases into bottom line savings and employee outcome improvements (e.g. motivation, intention to stay).
Four Steps to combining Leadership Development + Employee Connectedness
- Measure and quantify the relationship between EC and your organisation’s desired employee and business outcomes
- Put in place a pragmatic strategy to develop the skills, attitudes and abilities of leaders to increase EC (see diagram above) over at least a 12-month period
- Measure EC levels again
- Quantify EC improvements
It’s our belief that there should be a direct link between what gets measured through organisational diagnostics and the content of leadership development initiatives. Our EC framework can play both these roles.
The value of 1. off the shelf leadership programs; 2. the ‘cookie cutter’ approach to leadership development that has increased with the advent of generic government funded training; and 3. programs that are more about ‘the program’ than outcomes for individuals and their people practices, have to questioned.
I wonder how many organisations are contemplating the question of organisational value and impact when it comes to leadership development?