By Chally Kacelnik
We recently conducted an analysis of the impact of our leadership programs.
- Why? It’s part of practising what we teach at LKS Quaero. It’s important to make evidence-based evaluations of your work and continually improve
- How? We used data from program time capsule surveys. These are surveys we ask participants to complete at the start and end of each program, using a consistent set of measures and a few accompanying questions. This enables them to track how they’ve grown and changed as leaders, and to identify what they’ve found particularly useful in the programming
- Who? We chose a sample size of 77 participants. We wanted to get the most accurate data set possible, so we used data from participants from similar programs (and therefore similar measurement categories), across several organisations and industries, who had undertaken their programming within approximately the previous two years
Here are how these participants assessed themselves at the start and end of their program, against measures ranging from 1 to 10 where 1 = strongly disagree and 10 = strongly agree. Let’s look at the highest and lowest scoring areas.
|Average scores /10
|Start of program
|End of program
|Highest scoring areas
|1. Safety is truly a high priority for me (8.69)
2. I treat all my team members with dignity and respect (8.38)
3. I demonstrate genuine concern and interest about the wellbeing of my team members (8.1)
4. Among my team, safety is clearly demonstrated as a high priority (8.01)
5. I am always honest with my team (7.99)
|1. Safety is truly a high priority for me (9.24)
2. I treat all my team members with dignity and respect (9.14)
3. I demonstrate genuine concern and interest about the wellbeing of my team members (9.12)
4. I am always honest with my team (9)
5. I highly value ideas and contributions from my team members (8.88)
|Lowest scoring areas
|1. I always answer the following question for all my team members: ‘what is my future?’ (4.84)
2. I help my team members to see the link between their roles and our corporate plans (5.2)
3. I make the vision for our organisation clear to my team (5.48)
4. I always manage poor behaviour effectively and in a timely manner (5.53)
5. I always provide timely and constructive feedback for all my team members to answer the following question: ‘how am I going?’ (5.55)
|1. I always answer the following question for all my team members: ‘what is my future?’ (6.9)
2. I help my team members to see the link between their roles and our corporate plans (7.48)
3. I always provide timely and constructive feedback for all my team members to answer the following question: ‘how am I going?’ (7.62)
4. I always manage poor behaviour effectively and in a timely manner (7.62)
5. I make the vision for our organisation clear to my team (7.8)
For the overall results, there is a percentage increase of 21% improvement in the average scoring between the start and end of the programs. This doesn’t include the improvements that participants will continue to make as they continue to apply their learning from the programs over time. This increase remains fairly consistent across all programs. (We’ll take a further look at the range of average increases for individual measures in the next post in this series.)
What’s the first thing you noticed about these results? For me, it was the similarity between the areas that respectively scored highest and lowest at the start and end of the programming. In fact, all the lowest scoring areas remain consistent between the start and end of the programming. The main difference for the highest scoring areas is an increased emphasis on participants valuing the ideas and contributions of team members. This indicates that they’ve learned more about how to lead a team in a genuine, involved, mutually supportive way. This is really heartening, because something we often hear from participants is that they’ve historically struggled with dipping down and taking on work that should be being done by direct reports, while not consistently seeking and facilitating team members’ contributions and ideas.
What else can we learn from these results?
- Program participants make consistent, steady progress across both areas of strength and development during the course of the program, setting them up for more sustainable progress afterwards
- The participants strengthen their commitment to valuing safety, dignity, respect, honesty, and wellbeing for themselves and their team members
- There are impressive improvements for the lowest scoring areas, and by the end of the programming participants continue to improve their ability to link strategy to day to day plans and tasks. However, the final result on questions related to this remain some of the lowest (on average) overall, and there’s more room for improvement for participants in helping their team members to link what’s required of them in their roles to the broader thrust of the organisation
By the way, when we look at the results for the individual cohorts and organisations in question, they don’t differ too greatly from these overall results. This points to a lot of common dynamics across organisations that are being addressed consistently and effectively in our leadership programs.
What this also points to for us is that there are some core systemic challenges for these organisations – and other organisations – that remain intact. One of the big challenges as we’ve seen is leaders’ capacity to forge strong links between individuals’ roles/work and the overarching direction and plans of their organisation. The immediate lesson here for LKS Quaero is getting participants’ managers much more involved in supporting their work in the programs in order to build concrete, practical momentum for making those connections. (That’s something we started working on immediately after analysing these findings.) The broader lesson is that it’s important to assess whether your organisation is drawing connections from strategy to the day to day consistently for people at every organisational level.
Tune in again for Part 2. Next time, we’re going to dive deeper into the data. We’ll see what’s changed the most, what’s changed the least, and how this matches up with the other results.