Helpful hint: delivering ROI on leadership development

For those who work in HR and, more to the point, leadership development, it is often difficult to quantify the ROI on leadership development. Leading management consulting firm, the Hay Group, recently identified 6 conditions to ensure leadership development initiatives deliver measurable benefits, alongwith 4 common pitfalls. It seems they could be useful for also measuring the impact of change across an organisation.

For leadership development to deliver measurable benefits you need to:

1. Clearly define your desired outcomes. Be explicit about the link to business results. And never lose sight of this original objective
2. Set a baseline of key metrics and measure them again after the programme – nothing motivates leaders to change more than knowing they’ll be measured again to track improvements
3. Get genuine senior leader involvement – sponsorship is not enough
4. Develop several levels of the hierarchy at once – if people get back to the office and find their manager is still using the same old leadership behaviours, what they learned in development programmes will be lost
5. Use a single approach, framework and language for everyone
6. Align and integrate the programme with other people processes and internal communications – people need to hear the same messages from all directions before they’ll start to take them seriously

And leadership programmes fail to deliver ROI when they:

1. Change approach too often: better to use the same tools, models and methods for three consecutive years
2. Don’t correctly and clearly identify the right target audience (and take a sheep dip approach to development)
3. Lack line ownership and are seen as an HR process
4. Are inconsistent with parallel initiatives, for example, corporate re-branding projects