The loftier the building, the deeper must the foundation be laid.
—Thomas à Kempis
Happily, the days of learning leaders measuring simply to justify one’s budget seem to be fading, and are being replaced by a desire to gain actionable intelligence that can be used for continuously improving the organization’s learning and development initiatives. This shift from prove to improve is a significant one for learning leaders. It signifies that, rather than being reactionary at budget time, they are intentionally measuring to proactively ensure that they are delivering value to the business. It represents a shift from defensive (having to prove) to strategic (continuously seeking ways to contribute to the organization’s success).
Most learning organizations have a formal learning strategy; however, most do not have an explicit measurement strategy. In fact, some experts believe that less than 5 percent of learning organizations have a true strategy for measurement.1 Increasingly, learning leaders are acknowledging the importance of measurement, but are often confounded by where to start and what to measure. The heart is there, but the specifics for its development and execution often aren’t.
When thinking about designing and implementing a measurement strategy, the image of the messy room of a four-year-old comes to mind. Yes, there is an analogy here. If you ask that four-year-old to tidy up his (or her) room, he may stare at the toys, ...