Ask not what your managers can do; ask what you use for management skills metrics!
Any idea what corporations pay for management training every year? Do you have the feeling that they will pay anything for a 3-ring binder? How many businesses have more than one training strategy? How many remember the last training program? The answers are not good for the business.
Management is as much an art as it is a skill, and, for management training to succeed, much more is needed than a three day seminar with a flashy presentation and handsome binder. Management skills development is a work-in-progress, an organic evolution that requires energy, assessment, and re-engineering. And, like any other business process, it requires its own metrics. Without clear and management skills metrics, no one can be expected to succeed or determine the value of the expenditure.
Time: Assure that time management is a feature of the training program. There needs to be a clear start, a fulsome middle, and a positive finish, or
you can not measure cost effectiveness.
People: Name the experience required, the skill set you want communicated, and the best people to do this. The outsider brings an element of
unbiased authority, but measure whether that surpasses the in-house expert. Consider teaming the trainers to get the best of both.
Scores: Completing the skills training is not enough. Any employee can reluctantly, although with considerable display of ennui, make it through a
seminar. But, there is no return on this investment. Expect the participants to demonstrate the skill set, and score their performance. However, it is
only fair that the rubric for the score is spelled out and communicated to all.
Strategies to get there:
Pre-prepare: Communicate early, well, and thoroughly. Maximize the corporation's resources - print, visual, and digital - to announce and spread the
word. Secure the demonstrable buy-in of executive management across the board. Free the time necessary, and schedule it for maximum
commitment. Publish the purpose, personnel, and expectation. Present the program as its own operating entity with mission, goals, and strategic
Pick the people: Do not allow an outside training source to work without oversight. Make sure its people respect yours, and add your people to the mix
. Pick the people early - as much as a year ahead - and test their skills. Do not let an outside outfit make a presentation that you have not seen and
embraced. Listen to your employee input, and insist that you see the input implementation before it goes on.
Chart the course: Identify the responsible parties. Develop a chain of accountability. Agree on measurable results in hours, money, or other outcomes.
Communicate the improvement you expect, the rewards for high scores, the opportunities to improve average scores, and the sanctions for poor
scores. And, communicate this very clearly.
Publicly-traded or privately-held, these are the things you want to communicate to stakeholders. Otherwise, you chase the irony of training to no purpose, with unknown outcomes, at considerable cost and loss.