Using Analytics To Prioritize Leadership Development Initiatives (Training Industry)

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, organizations around the world have responded by significantly changing their business models. Drs. Stephen Jeong, Stephen Young, and Cheryl Flink, researchers and evaluators at the Center for Creative Leadership, recommend that now is the time for companies to invest deeply in leadership development. He says that organizations can use advanced analytics to prove the direct impact that leaders have on a company’s bottom line.

While organizations are increasingly using advanced analytics in every other aspect of their business, many have not yet applied analytics to leadership development. There are several reasons:

  1. HR leaders do not clearly understand how leaders impact organizational goals;
  2. It’s hard to find data that measures the quality of leadership;
  3. Most organizations do not see a direct connection between leadership and increased profitability or success; and,
  4. It’s difficult to prove that leadership quality is connected to and responsible for those successful outcomes.

However, these researchers recommend that organizations use the following four steps to overcome these obstacles:

  1. Clarify organizational objectives. An organization needs first to identify exactly what end result it desires. Next, the organization must figure out how to measure its progress towards the goal. Then, the organization must show how investing in leaders improves these results.
  1. Gather relevant data. The organization should create a measurement system that proves the relationship between success and leadership. Creating a predictive model shows which factors cause the company to succeed or struggle in certain areas. This model should include data either about leaders, organizational capacity, or employee experience. The model can be shown to employees through graphs, heat maps, or other visuals. This data will help the organization identify which leaders and factors drive or hinder its business.
  1. Use analytics to predict which investments matter most. Accurate and statistically driven analytic models will aid organizations to understand its drivers of business outcomes and how much to invest in order to get the best results. The goal is to show how investments in leadership development create a tangible return on investment (ROI).
  1. Convey insights and act. The purpose of creating a model is to generate positive change in an organization. Employees must understand what the data represents in order to understand how they can change their actions. Graphs and heatmaps are tools that can make the data easier to understand. It is important to communicate with employees how these changes will help them succeed. To ensure long-lasting change, organizations should create a reward system where employees can earn bonuses, promotions, or some other achievement if they successfully make changes.

The authors cite one Fortune 500 retailer as proof that combining analytics with leadership development is a good investment. This company created an analytics model and clearly identified which four parts of job performance were most important to success. Next, the retailer focused more clearly on which skills its employees needed to improve, helping the organization to operate better. In our changing world, leadership development is increasingly important in helping organizations pivot and adapt.

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About DeBoer Fellowship

The DeBoer Fellowship develops change leaders across all sectors of Myanmar society. Through a multi-year training class and additional public programs, the DeBoer Fellowship serves Myanmar by helping to grow competent, compassionate, and ethical leaders. For more information about DeBoer Fellowship or to apply for the Fellowship, please visit:

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