Today's Challenge: Measuring Leadership

For almost a year, I’ve been devoting one post a week to answer a question from a reader. Today, the question is about a challenge virtually every organization faces - How do you measure leadership development?

This is a question I’ve been thinking about for many, many years. My conclusion is that a scorecard containing several key metrics makes the most sense.
Here are a few of the type of analytics you may want to consider as you create your leadership scorecard.
Training Activity – Although it is true training is no guarantee behavior will change, behavior change often involves training. If you have a point of view on leadership, how many of your team has been trained on your perspective? Have you trained the men and women in your organization to actually lead?  In the early days of leadership development in your organization, training participation rates probably needs to be on your scorecard.
Leader Readiness – This is an idea we’ve seen at other successful organizations. The concept is simple – when you do your leadership talent review, one of the questions should be: Is this person ready for additional leadership opportunities? If not, when do we think he/she will be ready? How many “Ready Now” leaders you have may be a great scorecard metric.
Leadership Index – The first time I saw this idea in action was probably 25 years ago at FEDEX. Each year, they conduct an engagement survey of all their employees. Embedded in the survey are several questions about the employee's supervisor. Once all the surveys are submitted, this sub-set of questions is extracted and tabulated. The result is the Leadership Index. They measure it, manage it and improve it over time.
The 9 BOX – This is nothing more than a way to categorize and visualize performance on two axes. The way we’ve used this in recent years is to evaluate leaders on their leadership competency and their performance – each on a simple scale: high, medium or low. Once you’ve done this, you can visually plot the performance of all your leaders on a single visual. As it relates to your scorecard, you may set a goal to get xx% into the top right box, or get XX% out of the bottom left box by a certain date. You could even set goals to move leaders on one axis or the other.
Key Business Metrics – Peter Drucker said leaders have followers and produce results. One indicator of your success with leadership development is the results your leaders are generating. Granted, many factors impact performance. However, over time and with a large enough sample, you can measure the impact of your leadership training efforts as compared to those who’ve not participated. We’ve done this with many of our leadership initiatives with positive results.
Regardless of what you decide to measure, create a leadership scorecard. Measurement is essential if you’d like to create a leadership culture. Don’t waste too much time looking for a single metric. A small family of metrics will serve you well. And, as the needs of the organization change, be willing to change your scorecard accordingly.[GLS_Shield]



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