By William Seidman Almost every executive at some time asks the question: “What are my people going to get from this leadership program?” and uses the answer to determine its fate. If a management team is spending several months in a program, the results should be obvious: new attitude and behaviors, far greater profits due to improved performance, and a measurable return on investment (ROI). Unfortunately, the results of most leadership programs are hard to measure. Affirmative Leadership measures performance both before and after the program, using the widely accepted model created by Donald Kirkpatrick. The Kirkpatrick model measures Reaction (How the learner felt about the training or program), Learning (A measurement of learning before and after the training), Behavior (Applied new learning on the job; displayed new behaviors) and Results (Direct correlation of new behaviors on business results). Results are notoriously hard to define and measure. For example, retail stores use sales per square foot, customer conversions, dollar sales per transaction, to name just a few, to measure results. But each of these can be as influenced by pricing changes or new marketing programs as by store management. Things such as quality of leadership or ability to motivate a team are even harder to measure. Organizations must decide what types of measurement are best suited to their program and environment, and Affirmative Leadership helps them with this. We also use three additional techniques to assess behavioral change. First is confirmation from the coach that the learner has mastered the key ideas and is ready to advance. Next, the Affirmative Leadership program sends a survey to a learner’s peers, direct reports (if a manager), manager and coach before and after the program asking the respondent to grade the learner on his new behaviors. The third technique for measuring a demonstration of capability—formal certification—uses a third party such as a trainer from another region to grade students through observation or interviews. Most companies use a combination of levels and techniques. No matter how you slice it, though, we typically see students attaining levels very close to top performers’ by the end of the program, because they have learned to think and behave the way the top performers do.  ]]>

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