How Do You Tell Your Story of Value?
Tom had spearheaded the leadership development initiative for the past three years. As he put the finishing touches on the 100-page final report that undeniably showed the value it had brought to the organization, he was excited to share it with senior management.
He printed copies and had them bound for the ease of managers and executives, and even took the extra step to hand-deliver them to each stakeholder. If they were out of the office, he made sure that the report was on top of their in-box.
Guess what happened next?
The busy managers and executives saw the enormous report, sighed and thought, “Oh, here is some more training blah blah blah to read the next time I have insomnia.”
Training tradition is to send your stakeholders a thick, narrative-rich report made from a template with lots of charts and statistics typically focused on Levels 1 and 2, with perhaps some unsubstantiated claim on Level 4 Results.
Instead, a disruptive learning and performance professional:
- Gathers targeted quantitative and qualitative data throughout the lifecycle of a major initiative to provide stakeholders with the focused data that is most important to them.
- Provides periodic, brief status updates along the way, highlighting successes that should be celebrated and propagated, as well as barriers that should be overcome to improve results.
- Gathers data at all four levels, with an emphasis on Levels 3 and 4. Make sure you have enough to “connect the dots” among and between each of the four levels. It will be easier for you if you think like a trial attorney, connecting Level 2 Learning with Level 3 Behavior on the job with Level 4 Results that were accomplished.
- Requests time during an established meeting of business leaders or executives to briefly share results in a visually pleasing format.
- Includes testimonies from participants and managers that the stakeholders know and respect. Historical comparisons can be particularly powerful, such as, “Before I learned now to negotiate more effectively, I was only closing a sale about 30% of the time. Since going to training and practicing weekly with my coach, I can close the deal about 40% of the time, and I have a much better sense as to when I need to pull in my manager.”
If you combine quantitative and qualitative data in such a way that they connect the dots from Level 1 through Level 4, you will have created a story of value instead of just a report full of metrics and recommendations. You will benefit your organization by making a compelling presentation to stakeholders that will inspire them because you were actually able to show results in a form that they could understand and believe, and no time was wasted on unneeded window dressing. They will become your biggest supporters in moving from a training event orientation to a business partnership approach.
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