Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2012 - (Page 45)

CLosING ArGumeNts | tiM sosBe measure for measure what gets measured gets done T here’s a good chance you’ve heard that quote above before; it’s a pretty common saying in the training industry. It’s been widely attributed to Peter Drucker, but like “discretion is the better part of valor,” no one can say for certain where the saying started. There’s a bigger question here, though, and it’s been a theme in this issue of Training Industry Quarterly. The question, of course, is should we measure? We certainly have the technology and the formulas available to measure a lot of the contributions training brings to the business, but the topic is still widely debated in the industry and around corporate headquarters. Some will cite quotes like that anonymous gem: If you don’t measure it, you can’t track it or talk about it. There’s logic there. Some will say that measurement is a trap, that there are too many variables standing in the way of true scientific data, and you can easily end up missing the beauty of the forest while focusing on one tree. There’s some logic there too. So in the face of the “to measure or not to measure” discussion, how do you decide? Pardon the obvious suggestion, but to help you decide, you can measure the issue. As with any other tough decision, consider the possibilities, balance those against the problems, and see where the scale stops. Let me get the ball rolling for you. Here are a few reasons why you should measure the impact of your training efforts: • If you don’t, someone else might. Forget the Board and CEO, the CFO is likely to want to gauge the value of his/her investment in your division. Do you want to be the leader who’s pretty sure we’re getting some results somewhere? • You need to know. For budget, for planning, for staffing, for course creation. If you don’t know what’s working, how do you know when you’re done? If you don’t know what’s needed, how do you get started? If you don’t know what’s wrong, do you want to keep going? • Success breeds success. There’s another half of the anonymous quote: “What gets measured gets done; what gets recognized gets done even better.” When you measure, you know. When you know, you can commend. Anyone want to measure the value of employee morale? To fully consider the issue, here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t measure: • TMI, too much information. Remember the old quote about not being able to define “pornography,” but knowing it when you see it? It’s kind of like that. Sometimes success and impact are felt more than seen, and numbers can kill a good mood quickly. Not sure? Find an art student and have him/her explain the beauty of the Mona Lisa to you … it’ll pull the pleasure right out of that picture. • Eyes wide shut. Innovation is a pretty popular mantra these days, and everybody is trying to not only think outside the box, but to forget the box ever existed. It’s a grand sentiment, but measurement, by definition, puts you in a box. It’s hard to create creativity when you’re focused on parameters and coloring inside the lines. • Careful what you wish for. Ever been in that situation where you do someone a favor and it soon becomes your job? Measurement can creep in like that, and you again find yourself focusing on the one dot and ignoring the bigger picture. Once you start measuring, who knows when you can get off that train? Now all that said, it’s likely that the truth is somewhere in the middle. “I’m a little bit wrong, you’re a little bit right,” as the Monkees sang. The question really isn’t “Should we measure,” but “What should we measure.” Measurement, like any other tool, should be used properly, used cautiously and used only when the situation requires it. Knowing when it’s required and when it’s not, of course, is your job. I’d love to have you share your thoughts on the measurement issue; let’s build a bigger pro/con list together. But in the meantime, let’s end with a quote that did indeed come from Peter Drucker: “There is nothing as useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Tim Sosbe is editorial director of Training Industry Quarterly and general manager of webinars. Email Tim. 45 Training Industry Quarterly, Spring 2012 / A Training Industry, Inc. ezine /

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2012

From Where I Sit: Training in Alignment
Table of Contents
Ad Index
Guest Editor: Leveraging Goal-Setting & Feedback
Learning at the Speed of Business
The Dark Side of Digital
Closing the Generation Gap Between Leaders
Tomorrow's Learning: Blended & Just-In-Time
Assessing Learning and Performance
The Science of Engagement
Engaging Senior Leaders in the Learning and Development Process
Six Critical Measurement Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
The Difference Makers: Identifying and Hiring the Right People
Casebook: DTCC Learning: Developing a Training Digital Nervous System
Leadership Competencies: Delivering Results
Tweet Suite
Company News
Closing Arguments: Measure For Measure

Training Industry Quarterly - Spring 2012