Data-Driven Sourcing of Advice
When human resource buyers in various industries are searching for ways to resolve the conflicts in their lives, level up their leadership skills, and just manage their teams better, they’re using Google search to do it.
Those buyers are reading blog content and insights and from industry newsletters and blog posts, watching entertaining videos on YouTube, and talking to their friends and neighbors about the areas they’d like to get their teams to “level-up” in, through the intentional application of soft skills, instead of just venting about the problem.
Those buyers aren’t searching for a trainer, a mediator, a lawyer, or even a conflict coach. They aren’t asking their friends for a referral, nor are they attending workshops and training to get information, get insights, or get a new perspective.
And, as frustrating as it may be for the accomplished trainer, platform builder, SaaS designer, or LMS provider, many buyers who could have leveraged the services of a trainer, a consultant, or a platform, typically select those solutions for their organizational leadership development problems as a last resort, rather than as a “top of the mind” choice.
What Gets Measured Gets Done: How do you know if your leadership initiative was a success? Understanding the behaviors that are measured, and how to quantify soft skills, can be a challenge. Unfortunately, without measurement tools in place, there's no way to know the business impact of your leadership investment. If you want to see the success of a leader, don't look at her. Look at what her team is doing. If folks are leaving the organization, or trying to find ways to work for someone else within it, there's a leadership disconnect. Consider monitoring the career progression of program participants, and using evaluations to identify the implementation of new skills. Another useful metric: employee turnover. A successful leader is always building or retaining a powerful team. A successful leader creates more leaders. Looking at the leader's team, observe who is getting promoted, moving into new divisions, and successfully taking on new responsibility. The best leaders help others to achieve things they didn't think possible. Who's creating new possibilities, within your organization? Soft skills like communication, persuasion and commitment can be measured - if you know where to look.
So, what is the LMS platform designer, facilitator, content designer, to do?
Data-Driven Solution Design
The solution to this problem is not to crank out more well-trained facilitators and trainers, design and write more content, or make videos flashier or more exciting.
The solution to this is not to develop another mandated, 40-hour certification process for leaders, to create and develop more accreditation agencies designed to approve continuing education credits or to make further inroads into the entertainment portion of slickly produced videos with little applicable content to the learner.
The solution to the problem of the disconnect between buyers, learners, and providers of training and development content--and even between human resource buyers and their own organizational cultures--is to build new, data-driven products, that meet the unique, personalized needs of consumers of leadership development content.
Many of these buyers are searching, tweeting, reading, and examining soft skills information, approaches, and ideas, in places other than where all the leadership consultants, facilitators, and platform content designers typically hang out online.
The solution is to design data-driven, data-infused, and data-informed leadership development products, services, and platforms for buyers where they are, rather than where the leadership profession would like them to be.
“While most leadership development training programs emphasize content, it's really context that matters most. The McKinsey study cites a "one size fits all" mentality of most training programs. Assuming that a particular curriculum or leadership viewpoint fits for every company - regardless of size, culture, or current leadership structure - is often the first mistake. Overwhelm is the real challenge here: in an effort to prove their value, leadership development consultants often try to offer a Chinese menu of leadership insights, based on their work (instead of the context that looks at the work of the company).”
Data-driven context is king.
Data-Driven Context for Solutions that Work
The data-driven leadership development platform, and the leadership development product, marketed to the right human resource buyer audience, based on their preferences and their searches, with data gathered from their requests, concerns, questions, and issues, supported by content that informs, entertains, and advocates for their concerns, could be the greatest product the field of leadership development ever creates.
There are a few people working on this right now at Stanford, in Washington, DC, in Arizona, and in Silicon Valley—but not nearly enough to meet the needs of buyers looking for more solutions to the pressing leadership and culture problems they have right now.