Development and Data

March 19, 2014 by Wally Bock

When Ed Koch was Mayor of New York City in the 1970s, he was known for stopping New Yorkers on the street and asking, “How am I doing?” That’s a good question to ask about your talent development efforts. Julie Winkle Giulioni suggests how to do that in her post, “Measuring Career Development Success.” Here’s a key quote.

“It is possible to evaluate the effectiveness of career development efforts through the use of lagging and leading indicators.  Lagging indicators are things that change after career development improvements take place while leading indicators are those factors that change before career development follows that trend.”

One goal is always to make sure that managers get the information they need in a timely manner. Another goal is to make sure they get as little irrelevant information as possible. Julie outlines two kinds of measurement.

Lagging indicators answer the question, “How did we do?” It’s important to get them right because they define success.

Leading indicators tell you how you’re doing. They answer Mayor Koch’s question. If you’re doing well on them you know you’re on the right track.

Leading and lagging indicators are important, but there’s something else to pay attention to. Define your Key Performance Indicators.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure the activities that drive success. If you pick the right activities and do them well, things will come out right in the end. Here’s some KPI advice from Stephen Lynch’s book, Business Execution for Results.

“Define KPIs that you can measure every day or every week. We’ve found that if your measurement cycle is longer than a week, you don’t catch problems early enough. You get better performance with shorter measurement cycles. Shorter cycles let you spot trends earlier.”

The road to success is measured with KPIs, Leading Indicators, and Lagging Indicators. Pick the right things to measure. Report on them promptly. Use them to guide action.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Talent Management

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