“Learning leaders like to spend a lot of time on how many butts are in seats, how the learners feel about learning and what the ROI of the program is,” she said. “While I think that’s a fine indicator for learning, these don’t always translate to business numbers. For example, our ROI for leadership development is somewhere in the 700 percent range. That sort of number doesn’t make sense to the rest of the business world. When I mention 700 percent ROI to the C-suite, the conversation derails immediately. Business metrics are the ultimate measure of success; sometimes the metrics CLOs focus on are too learning specific.”
Eileen Walsh, audit partner in charge of KPMG Business School, agrees with Fetch. She said to have a seat at the table, learning leaders need to thoroughly understand and be able to articulate the company’s business and strategy. They must be intimately familiar with the company’s market position and industry, its challenges and opportunities, and skills and competencies professionals need to operate effectively within that industry and marketplace.
“Your credibility with the rest of leadership relies on your ability to effectively interpret data and use it to provide training that helps your professionals perform at the highest level,” she said. “Effectiveness is driven by people. Hiring, developing, supporting and retaining the best people is essential to providing quality service.”
Learning leaders must enhance their influence skills so they can act as strategic leaders and create value for the organization.