Following the release of a wealth of research that took place throughout the past decade and indicated that the average company is simply not putting enough stock into leadership development and management skills training, many businesses have upped the ante on their learning programs. However, when strategies are not well-informed or structured properly, companies run the risk of simply spinning their wheels rather than truly progressing. 

When an investment in leadership training does not pan out properly, problems will likely crop up in making a business case for further budgetary allocations directed at professional development, thus beginning a slippery slope that does not lead to skills progression. As such, decision-makers must ensure that they are taking every step necessary to solidify the future of their management staff members – and the training assets that are used to fuel advancement – over time, and this begins with effective measurement. 

Metrics for the win
Harvard Business Review recently reported that the average company is likely due for an evaluation of its leadership development programs, affirming that far too many organizations are beginning to use cookie-cutter approaches to these processes. Remember, only the most tailored, customized and objective-aligned leadership development programs will come with optimal outcomes, as each business will have distinct needs and values that impact the eventual completion of these projects. 

According to the news provider, one of the first steps to take is to develop some form of a metrics program that at once evaluates and tracks individual performances while not losing sight of the big picture. With respect to how exhaustive these measurement systems ought to be, the source stated that 360-degree, comprehensive metrics will be necessary to accurately gauge not only managers' skills and weaknesses, but also which components of the relevant training programs are succeeding and which are failing. 

Harvard Business Review suggested drawing up more carefully defined succession plans to understand how the company reacts when a new managerial role needs to be filled, and how the firm can better approach these pressure points in real time. Finally, the news provider stated that the company should always go into leadership development strategic planning procedures with a well-informed line of objectives and demands. 

Continuous performance improvement
At the end of the day, accountability and control should not be the only reasons behind developing an exhaustive measurement system through which the successes and failures of training investments can be evaluated. Rather, business leaders should always be going into these dealings with the objective of continuously improving as an organization, beginning with management skills development and spilling over into other types of professional training. 

Markets and industries are becoming more competitive, complex and modern with the passing of each year, and firms that focus on constantly strengthening their operational capabilities and leadership skills will have a clearer, easier path toward profit growth, revenue increases and enhanced brand stature.