The subject of data brings me to the topic that I know makes many of you cringe. It’s ok. You aren’t alone, and you don’t need a mathematics background to overcome your hesitations. First, here are the most common reasons I’ve heard from L&D leaders about why they avoid measurement and evaluation.
- - It hasn’t been expected of us in the past, and we haven’t done it before. We don’t know how it would benefit us.
- - We don’t have analytical capabilities in our department, and we don’t want to show that as a vulnerability or weakness.
- - It’s huge, complicated, and we have no idea where to start. We’re intimidated and overwhelmed. There’s so much to it and we already have so many other things on our plates.
- - It’s too expensive to do well. Our budget is already tight.
- - We know our programs aren’t aligned to business results, and we don’t want to highlight that disconnect.
- - We just don’t see why anyone bothers.
These concerns are all valid ones. Some of them actually highlight deficiencies in existing L&D measurement models. Here’s a quick answer: you need to put a measurement process in place that helps you get results, be more strategic, and use your resources more effectively. Put another way, you need a measurement process that works for your unique organization!
Analytical capabilities are a critical part of being a strategic leader. Analytics enable you to make decisions based on credible, reliable data. While you may have a good gut feeling when it comes to decision making, that’s not something you can defend in a meeting with the CFO. It’s ok to follow your gut, but always have the numbers to back it up. Other leaders will take you seriously when they see that your decisions are fact-based and designed to move the company in the right direction. Leveraging data when making decisions is a key component of strategic leadership, and it also empowers your organization by providing other leaders with data.
It takes readiness to jump into your data, especially if you already know what you’ll find there.